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National September 11 Memorial

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National September 11 Memorial

"9/11 Memorial" redirects here. For other uses, see 9/11 Memorial (disambiguation).

National September 11
Memorial & Museum
The Plaza and Museum Building as it appeared in early 2012
General information
Status Open (Memorial)
Under construction (Museum)
Type Memorial & Museum
Location World Trade Center site
(New York City)

40°42′42.1″N 74°0′49.0″W / 40.711694°N 74.013611°W / 40.711694; -74.013611Coordinates: 40°42′42.1″N 74°0′49.0″W / 40.711694°N 74.013611°W / 40.711694; -74.013611

Construction started March 2006
Opening Memorial
September 11, 2011 (Victims' families)
September 12, 2011 (Public)[1]
Spring 2014
Roof The footprints of the Twin Towers will be underground, the museum pavilion will be between 20 or 23 meters.
Design and construction
Architect Michael Arad of Handel Architects, Peter Walker and Partners, Davis Brody Bond Snøhetta
Structural engineer WSP Cantor Seinuk, Buro Happold (Museum)

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum (branded as 9/11 Memorial and 9/11 Memorial Museum) is the principal memorial and museum commemorating the September 11 attacks of 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people, and the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, which killed six.[2] The memorial is located at the World Trade Center site, on the former location of the Twin Towers, which were destroyed during the attacks. The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation was renamed the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center in 2007.[3] The winner of the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition was American architect Michael Arad of Handel Architects, a New York- and San Francisco-based firm. Arad worked with landscape architecture firm Peter Walker and Partners on the design which calls for a forest of trees with two square pools in the center, where the Twin Towers once stood.[4] In August 2006, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey began heavy construction on the memorial and museum.[5] The design is consistent with the original Daniel Libeskind master plan that called for the memorial to be 30 feet below street level (originally 70 feet) in a piazza. The design was the only finalist to throw out Libeskind's requirement that buildings overhang the footprints. A memorial was planned in the immediate aftermath of the attacks and destruction of the World Trade Center to remember both the victims and those involved in rescue. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center is a non-profit corporation with the mission to raise funds for, program, own and operate the memorial and museum at the World Trade Center site. On September 11, 2011, a dedication ceremony was held at the memorial, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the attacks. The memorial officially opened to the public on September 12, 2011, while the museum has yet to open. Three months after opening, the memorial had been seen by over 1 million visitors.[6] In 2012, Tuesday's Children, a non-profit family service organization that has made a commitment to individuals directly impacted by 9/11 and to those who have lost loved ones to terrorism around the globe, has partnered with the 9/11 Memorial to offer private tours to family members of 9/11 victims and First Responders.


National tour

In September 2007, the Memorial & Museum launched a four-month national awareness tour that stopped at 25 cities in 25 states where thousands participated in the tour’s activities.[7] The tour began at Finlay Park in Columbia, South Carolina and ended at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Highlights from the tour included: an exhibition of photographs, artifacts from the site and a short film featuring firsthand accounts from individuals who had experienced 9/11 directly. At the opening ceremony in South Carolina, White Knoll Middle School’s students, who raised more than half a million dollars in 2001 to buy a new truck for New York City's Fire Department, were honored. Also at the ceremony, retired New York City Police Officer Marcelo Pevida presented the City of Columbia with an American flag that had flown over Ground Zero.[8] As the main attraction of the 2007 National Tour, steel beams that would later be used in the construction of the memorial were made available to visitors who wanted to sign their names onto it.[9]


The budget for the Memorial and Museum project, funded by private and public funds, is $530 million, with an additional $80 million grant from New York State for the construction of the museum pavilion. Of the $530 million, $350 million has been raised by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum through private donations and the remainder consists of federal grants through the LMDC.

Cobblestone campaign

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum operates a "cobblestone campaign" where a contributor can sponsor a cobblestone or paver that will line the Memorial Plaza. The names of donors appear on the Memorial's website.[10] Once the Memorial is completed, a donor will be able to locate his/her cobblestone or paver by entering his/her name at a kiosk on the Memorial Plaza.[11] In 2008, the Memorial announced two holiday-associated cobblestone campaign fundraising drives – one for Father's Day and one for the December holiday season.[12][13]

Federal legislation

Sen. Daniel Inouye from Hawaii has proposed S.1537 (National September 11 Memorial and Museum Act of 2011) which would provide $20 million in Federal funds toward the Memorial's annual operating budget. The legislation was presented to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources on October 19, 2011.[14] This is approximately one third of the Memorial's total annual operating budget. In addition to providing Federal funding, S.1537 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to accept a donation by the Board of Directors of title to the National September 11 Memorial, contingent on agreement by the Board of Directors, the governors of both New York and New Jersey, the Mayor of New York, and the Secretary of the Interior. On October 19, 2011, William D. Shaddox of the National Park Service testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and raised concerns regarding the ability of the National Park Service to provide the funds required by S.1537. It was also noted that there is no precedent for the NPS to hold title to a property over which it does not also have operational and administrative control, as S.1537 would require.[15]

Planned rebuilding of the
World Trade Center
1 World Trade Center (Tower 1)
2 World Trade Center (Tower 2)
3 World Trade Center (Tower 3)
4 World Trade Center (Tower 4)
5 World Trade Center (Tower 5)
7 World Trade Center (Tower 7)
Memorial and museum
National September 11 Memorial & Museum
Transportation Hub

Memorial history


Formerly the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, Inc., the National September 11 Memorial & Museum was formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation to raise funds and manage the planning and construction of the memorial. Its board of directors had its inaugural meeting on January 4, 2005. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum reached its first phase capital fundraising goal of US$350 million in April 2008. This money, along with additional amounts raised, will be used to build the memorial and museum and to create an endowment for the museum.

Design competition

In 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation launched an international competition to design a memorial at the World Trade Center site to commemorate the lives lost in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Individuals and teams from around the world contributed design proposals. On November 19, 2003, the thirteen-member jury – which included Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and deputy mayor Patricia Harris – selected eight finalists. "Reflecting Absence", designed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, was chosen as the winning design on January 6, 2004.[16] On January 14, 2004, the final design for the World Trade Center site memorial was revealed in a press conference at Federal Hall in New York.

Mission statement

The non-profit corporation that will manage the memorial states its goals as the following:

The Memorial Mission:

  • Remember and honor the thousands of innocent men, women, and children murdered by terrorists in the horrific attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001.
  • Respect this place made sacred through tragic loss.
  • Recognize the endurance of those who survived, the courage of those who risked their lives to save others, and the compassion of all who supported us in our darkest hours.
  • May the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance.
National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center: About Us, Mission Statements


The Foundation has fundraising responsibilities because of the tasks assigned to it by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC). The Foundation is to own, operate and finance:

  • National September 11 Memorial, the formal "Reflecting Absence" memorial.
  • National September 11 Memorial Museum, a museum to tell the story of the events.

John C. Whitehead was chairman of both LMDC and the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation. He announced his resignation in May 2006. Former LMDC President Kevin Rampe will become chairman of the LMDC. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg replaced Whitehead as chairman of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Thomas S. Johnson, chairman of the foundation's executive committee announced on May 9, 2006:

The decision was made to not actively pursue new fund-raising efforts until complete clarity can be achieved with respect to the design and costs of the project. Cost concerns emerged publicly last week with the disclosure of an estimate by the construction manager, Bovis Lend Lease, that the memorial and museum would cost $672 million and that it would take a total of at least $973 million to fully develop the memorial setting with a cooling plant, roadways, sidewalks, utilities and stabilized foundation walls. An estimate earlier this year put the cost of the memorial and memorial museum at $494 million.[17]

On May 26, 2006, Gretchen Dykstra resigned as president and chief executive officer of the World Trade Center Foundation.[18] The current president and CEO of the Foundation, Joseph C. Daniels, was appointed in October 2006.[19] The memorial projects were eventually toned down, and the budget was cut to $530 million.[20] Heavy construction for the memorial began in August 2006, and despite delays, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum was still confident that the memorial would be complete by September 11, 2011.[21]


Memorial design

In January 2004, the design, Reflecting Absence, by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker was selected as the winner of the LMDC's design competition that had 5,201 entrants from 63 nations. Two pools with the largest manmade waterfalls in the United States cascading down their sides are located within the footprints of the Twin Towers. Each pool is 1-acre (4,000 m2), and together they are intended to symbolize the loss of life and the physical void left by the terrorist attacks. The sound of the water falling is supposed to drown out the sounds of the city, making the site a contemplative sanctuary. Almost 400 sweet gum and swamp white oak trees fill the remaining 6 acres (24,000 m2) of the Memorial Plaza, furthering the reflective nature of the site.[22]

In addition, cutting-edge pedestrian simulations were conducted to test the design of the memorial site. The pedestrian modeling software Legion was used to simulate how visitors would utilize the space, and the design was subsequently tweaked to prevent potential bottlenecks.[23]

Arrangement of the victims’ names

The names of 2,983 victims are inscribed on 76 bronze plates attached to the parapet walls that form the edges of the Memorial pools. As a result of this process, the names of the victims who were in the North Tower (WTC 1), passengers or crew of American Airlines Flight 11 (which hit the North Tower) and victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing are located around the perimeter of the North Pool. The names of the victims who were in the South Tower (WTC 2), passengers or crew of United Airlines Flight 175 (which hit the South Tower), victims who were in the immediate vicinity of the Twin Towers, first responders who died during rescue operations, passengers or crew of United Airlines Flight 93 (which crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania) and American Airlines Flight 77 (which hit the Pentagon), and the victims who were at the Pentagon are located around the perimeter of the South Pool.[26] It was decided that the names of companies would not be included. However, company employees and their visitors are listed together. Passengers of the four flights are listed together under their flight numbers, and first responders are listed together with their units. The process for arranging names was finalized in an agreement reached in 2006, and replaced an earlier plan to arrange the names randomly. According to Edith Lutnick (Executive Director of the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund), "your loved ones' names are surrounded by the names of those they sat with, those they worked with, those they lived with and, very possibly, those they died with."[27] The phrase "and her unborn child" follows the names of the ten expectant mothers who died on 9/11, as well as one expectant mother who died in the 1993 attack.[28]

Memorial construction

On March 13, 2006, construction workers arrived at the WTC site to commence work on the Reflecting Absence design. On that same day, relatives of the victims and other concerned citizens gathered to protest the new memorial, stating that the memorial should be built above ground. The president of the memorial foundation, however, stated that family members were consulted and formed a consensus in favor of the current design, and that work will continue as planned.[29][30] In May 2006, it was disclosed that the estimated construction costs for the Memorial had risen to over US$1 billion.[31]

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the costs of building the Sept. 11 memorial are skyrocketing and must be capped at $500 million. 'There's just not an unlimited amount of money that we can spend on a memorial,' Bloomberg said. Any figure higher than $500 million to build the memorial to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks would be "inappropriate", even if the design has to be changed, he said.'

In 2006, at the request of Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, builder Frank Sciame performed a month-long analysis, which considered input from victims' families, the Lower Manhattan business and residential communities, members of the memorial jury, architects and others. The analysis recommended design changes that kept the memorial and museum within the $500 million budget. In July 2008, the Survivors' Staircase was lowered to bedrock, marking the first artifact to be moved into the museum. By the end of August 2008, construction on the footings and foundations had been completed. On September 2, 2008, construction workers erected the 7,700-pound first column for the memorial, near the footprint of the north tower.[32] By then, approximately 70 percent of the construction trade contracts had been bid or were ready to award. In total, 9,100 tons of steel were installed at the site for the memorial.[33] By April 2010, the reflecting pools were fully framed in steel, and 85% of the concrete had been poured. By April 22, 2010, workers had begun installation of the granite coating for the reflecting pools. By June 2010, the north pool's granite coating had been fully completed, and workers had begun installation of the granite in the south pool. In July 2010, the first shipments of soil arrived at the memorial site. In August 2010, workers from Kelco Construction, Inc. of Commack, NY started to plant trees on the memorial plaza. The trees, all swamp white oaks, can reach 60 to 80 feet at maturity, live as long as 300 to 350 years, and are golden-leafed in the fall. The "Survivor Tree" is a callery pear that survived the devastation and was preserved for re-planting.[34] In September 2010, workers reinstalled two tridents from the former twin towers. In November 2010, workers started testing the north pool's waterfall. Construction progressed significantly through early 2011. In March 2011, the installation of glass panels on the museum pavilion's façade began, and in May 2011, workers started testing the south pool's waterfall. Most of the memorial was finished in time for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, with the museum slated for completion one year later. By September 2, 2011, more than 242 trees had been planted at the site, while 8 more were planted before the memorial opened. By then, both pools had been completed, and were tested daily to ensure that the waterfalls were working. On September 12, 2011, one day after the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the memorial officially opened to the public, operating under a set of lengthy rules and regulations approved by the Board of Directors. The period estimated to extend from September 11, 2011 to December 31, 2013 is known as the "Interim Operating Period," during which time the memorial will be surrounded by construction of the neighboring World Trade Center projects.[35]

Memorial features

Survivor Tree

According to Joe Daniels, President of the memorial, the Survivor Tree is "a key element of the memorial plaza's landscape."[36] The tree is a callery pear tree. It was recovered from the rubble at the World Trade Center site in October 2001,[36] long after recovery workers expected to find anything alive at the site.[37] At the time of its recovery it was 8 feet tall,[38] badly burned, and it had only one living branch.[36] Prior to the attacks, the tree had lived at the World Trade Center site for several decades.[39] It was originally planted in the 1970s in the area near buildings four and five, close to Church Street. In November 2001, the tree was brought by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to the Arthur Ross Nursery in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx to be cared for.[36] The nursery's manager, Robert Zappala, said the tree was covered in ash when it arrived, and it was replanted in the Bronx on November 11, 2001.[40] At the time, Richard Cabo (the tree's primary caretaker until it was replanted at the memorial) did not expect the tree to survive.[37] In the spring of 2002, the tree had new growth and its caretaker at the Bronx nursery "knew the 'Survivor Tree' would make it."[37] At the time, the nursery did not yet know it was planned to eventually move the tree back to its original site.[36] Later in the decade, although the memorial was planned to include the tree as a feature, there was a period when the location of the tree was not known by members of the project team.[40] In March 2010, while still under the care of the Bronx nursery, the tree was uprooted during a storm. It was replanted and suffered no significant damage.[39]

Over the years, the tree has been a symbol of hope and rebirth. Richard Cabo said, "It represents all of us."[37] Wayne Dubin (Bartlett Tree Experts) said, "it's an emotional symbol for a lot of people."[41] In a press release from the Port Authority on August 29, 2011, after Hurricane Irene, President Joe Daniels said, "true to its name, the Survivor Tree is standing tall at the Memorial."[42] In a statement after the March 2010 uprooting of the tree at the nursery, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, "Again, we and the tree refused to throw in the towel. We replanted the tree, and it bounced back immediately."[36] Keating Crown, a survivor of the attacks, said, "It reminds us all of the capacity of the human spirit to persevere."[37] The official book of the National September 11 Memorial, A Place of Remembrance, describes the tree as "a reminder of the thousands of survivors who persevered after the attacks."[43] In December 2010, the Survivor Tree, grown to a height of 30 feet,[37] was returned to the World Trade Center site in an event which was attended by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as other city officials,[38] including Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward. The event was also attended by several members of the community of survivors and rescue workers. Although this tree is prominently featured as part of the memorial,[44] there are also six other "survivor trees" which have been permanently planted near New York City Hall and near the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan. Of these additional survivor trees, three are also callery pears, and three are little-leaf lindens.[36]

The Museum at the September 11 Memorial

Museum design

Designed by Davis Brody Bond, LLP, the museum will be located approximately 70 feet (21 m) below ground, and will be accessed through an entry pavilion designed by Snøhetta, a Norwegian architectural firm.[45] The entry pavilion comprises a deconstructivist design, making it resemble a partially collapsed building which mirrors the attacks of 9/11. Two of the original tridents from the Twin Towers will be located in this pavilion. One of the walls of the underground museum will be an exposed side of the slurry wall, which is the retaining wall that holds back the Hudson River and that had remained un-breached during and after September 11.[46][47]Other artifacts from Ground Zero include wrecked emergency vehicles, including a fire engine bent completely out of shape from the collapse, pieces of metal from all 7 World Trade Center buildings, recordings of survivors and first responders including 911 phone calls, pictures of all victims, photographs from the wreckage, and other media tools used to detail the destruction including the crashes, collapse, fires, jumpers, and clean-up.[48]

Museum construction

The Museum is going to be an underground museum which will have some of the artifacts of 9/11/2001, and pieces of steel from the Twin Towers; like the final steel, which was the last piece of steel to leave Ground Zero in May 2002. The Museum is being built on top of the former location of the Sphere, a fountain and statue which stood between the twin towers, that was intact after the September 11 attacks. It was since moved to be displayed at Battery Park, and the memorial building will sit where the fountain once stood. The estimated completion of the museum was to be on or around September 11, 2012. As of December 2011, the construction of the museum has come to a temporary halt. According to the Associated Press, there are some financial disputes between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum foundation, deciding on who should be responsible for infrastructure costs. As of March 13, 2012, active discussions regarding to the issue are already underway and construction has resumed.[49] [50] After many false opening date expectations, a new opening date for Spring 2014 has been set. Currently construction to the actual building and site has completed, and the remaining work lies with fitting artifacts and internal decorating and finishings.


The World Trade Center site was once part of the Little Syria neighborhood, the center of Arab life in the United States beginning in the 1880s, and the cornerstone of a Lebanese Maronite church, St. Joseph's, was found under the rubble next to St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at 157 Cedar Street.[51] Local historians and preservation activists have requested that the National September 11 Museum include a reference to this history in the Museum's permanent exhibit in order to "help the thousands of tourists who visit the site to understand that Arab-Americans have played a patriotic role in the country's history." Yet, a spokesperson of the Museum, according to the New York Daily News, said that the Museum's "curators are not planning to include information about the area’s Arab American history in the museum’s permanent collection."[52]


Withdrawn proposals

Two centers were proposed and withdrawn from the World Trade Center Memorial plan in 2005:

  • The International Freedom Center – a "think tank" which was intended to draw attention to the battles for freedom through the ages. World Trade Center Memorial Foundation member Deborah Burlingame wrote in The Wall Street Journal that the center would have a mission that had nothing to do directly with the events of September 11 and could potentially criticize American policies.[53] Blogs and commentators heavily criticized the center until Governor George Pataki withdrew support for it.
  • The Drawing Center Art Gallery at the World Trade Center – Plans called for the Freedom Center to share its space with the Drawing Center in a building called the "Cultural Center." The Daily News ran a series of articles questioning whether its exhibits would be appropriate at Ground Zero based on the gallery's previous exhibits in its small SoHo quarters.

Other 9/11 memorials

Aside from the memorial constructed at Ground Zero, there are many other memorials built by various communities and municipalities throughout the United States. Many of these memorials are built around a remnant of steel from the destroyed towers. These remnants have been donated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey through a program that has distributed more than 1,000 pieces of World Trade Center steel.[54]

See also

New York City portal



External links

  • Official site
  • Photos of the memorial
  • The 9/11 memorial - Interview and footage of the WTC site

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