Visiting the 9/11 Memorial in New York City

The National September 11 Memorial remembers the almost 3000 men, women, and children who died in New York City in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 25, 1993.

Poignantly the memorial is officially named “Reflecting Absence.” Popularly called the “9/11 Memorial “ it opened on the 10th Anniversary of the attacks, September 11, 2012.

The actual foundations of each of the two towers, the “footprints” where the World Trade Center towers once stood, have been turned into pools where 30-foot waterfall fountains – the largest in North America – cascade.

Around each pool the names of the victims have been etched in bronze. Interestingly, the placement of the names is not alphabetical, but instead honors the request from the victims’ families to place certain names with others based on where they were that day, and the relationships the people had with each other.

The winning design for the 9-11 Memorial, selected through an international competition that received over 5,000 submissions from 63 countries, was submitted by a team that included both an architect, Michael Arad, architect, and a landscape architect, Peter Walker.

Eventually an 8-acre field of white oak trees will surround the footprints. The trees are from nurseries near each of the three sites of the 9-11 attack – New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksviille, Pennsylvania where Flight 93 went down.

The twin towers were a part of a commercial complex that covered 15 acres, and was known as the World Trade Center. Besides the towers, the complex also contained five other high-rise office buildings, a large outdoor plaza, and a shopping mall and subway station underground.

Each tower was over 1,360 feet tall, which made them New York City’s tallest buildings. Each tower had 110 floors and provided almost 10 million square feet of office space combined. Nearly 35,000 people worked in the towers representing 430 companies from around the world. The twin towers also attracted tens of thousands of tourists and commuters each day.

When fully redeveloped the new World Trade Center will not only include the 9-11 Memorial but also a museum, commercial office buildings, retail shops, and connections to the subway.

The master plan for the new site was created by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind. His design calls for a spiral of new towers to surround the memorial.

The centerpiece will be One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower. Including its pinnacle height this new skyscraper will be 1776 feet high, a symbolic honoring of the year in which the United States declared itself an independent nation.

This height also makes the Freedom Tower the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and tentatively the 3rd tallest building in the world.

Construction will continue for some time on the various new World Trade Center buildings. The 9-11 Memorial will be open to the public during this time, but to ensure the public’s safety, as well as the security of the construction site, screening and passes are required. The passes are free.

Once the new World Trade Center complex is completely built, the public will have open access to the 9-11 Memorial, including the footprint fountains and the beautiful park of white oak trees.

Alice Perkins is a timeshare travel blogger for RedWeek.com, the largest online market place for timeshare rentals, where vacationers can find luxury accommodations for less than the cost of a typical hotel room.

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