Jailee, OHNY’s program coordinator, went to see the National September 11 Memorial two weeks ago early on a Saturday morning.

 

 

The visitor entrance to the Memorial is located at Albany and Greenwich Streets and timed ticketed entry must be reserved ahead of time either online or over the phone.

 

 

Be prepared to pass through security as if you were taking a flight at the airport. However, because of the time entry tickets, entrance into the Memorial is remarkably calm (compared to the rapid pace of JFK’s security screening) and plenty of staff are on hand to point you in the right direction.

 

 

In entering the Memorial, you are also entering, of course, a huge construction area as the towers of the new World Trade Center are in the process of being constructed around the Memorial. The path, therefore, winds around and around.

 

 

When you reach the Memorial, you find a serene green space designed by landscape architecture firm Peter Walker and Partners. The Memorial plaza contains over 400 trees and is one of the most sustainable green plazas ever built. It serves as the green roof for 9/11 Memorial Museum and other city facilities below.

 

 

A map shows the two reflecting pools, designed by Michael Arad, that sit in the footprints of the Twin Towers. The names of the men, women and children who lost their lives are inscribed in bronze around the perimeter of the pools. The color coding on the map explains the name arrangement.

 

 

In the design statement written by the architects, the reflection pools and waterfalls are described as “large voids” that serve as “open and visible reminders of the absence.”

 

 

Each name is inscribed into the bronze frames that outlines each pool and each section of the bronze frame is labeled, making it easy to locate a specific name (see electronic directories below).

 

 

One of the most touching sights was a small note or letter that was carefully placed into one of the inscribed names.

 

 

In two locations within the Memorial, there are electronic directories that help you to locate a name.

 

 

You type a name into the computer.

 

 

And you get a small print out with a map that shows you exactly where to find the name. This system allows visitors the ability to find the names of family, friends and loved ones very easily.

 

 

The Memorial Museum, designed by Aedas, is in the process of being constructed and is scheduled to open September 2012. See the website for a sneak peak of what the exhibitions will look like.

 

 

All of the trees in the Memorial are swamp white oaks with the exception of one. It is called the Survivor Tree because it originally stood in the old World Trade Plaza. After the attacks, the tree was nurtured back to health and now stands strong as a reminder of the strength and perseverance of the people of New York City and all others affected by 9/11.

 

The National September 11 Memorial is open and free to the public. To visit, make sure to reserve in advance. A limited amount of same day tickets are also available at the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site at 20 Vesey Street daily starting at 9am. Jailee visited the site during the day, but it is also a stunning sight to see after the sun has set.

 

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