Ten years after the attacks on the World Trade Center, after much controversy and struggle, the rebuilding of the towers is finally underway, with the significant structure, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, opening on the 10th anniversary.
To commemorate the event, a special dedication ceremony for the families of the nearly 3000 people who died at the site is scheduled for 9/11/2011. It will open to the public the following day.
The long-awaited memorial site consists of two immense waterfalls that cascade into sunken pools in the footprints of the Twin Towers. The names of the victims are etched in granite panels surrounding the pools. The design, 'Reflecting Absence' by Michael Arad, won the competition for the memorial among 5,200 entries from 63 nations.
The entry pavilion is designed by SnÃ¸hetta, a Norwegian architecture firm, which designed Alexandria Library in Egypt. Two of the original steel tridents from the Twin Towers are enclosed within the pavilion's grand glass atrium.
The plan creates a sequence of experiences that define the historical narrative of the Twin Towers, the attacks and the recovery. There is an area for contemplation and a private suite for victims' families. The museum is designed by Aedas Architectural Design.
A ramped 'ribbon' leads to the exhibitions in the archeological heart of the World Trade Center site. It echoes the ramp used by construction workers in the clean-up and incorporates remnants. Vistas provide a sense of the vast scale of the original towers and site. Oral histories of survivors are also included.
The final experience descends to the bedrock level, taking visitors to the Survivor Stairs, used by hundreds to escape on 9/11. Original column bases, concrete footings and the slurry wall are exposed for viewing, and the 'Last Column,' covered in tributes, is on display.
Observances of the 10th anniversary are planned nationwide in the US, including by the Pentagon which was also attacked on 9/11. Related television coverage has already begun to air on major networks with special programming slated for Sunday, September 11 as well as for print media publications.
The US Mint will issue two million silver medals to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks with sales supporting the operation of the memorial and museum.
Reserved tickets for the September 11 Memorial & Museum are available online: http://www.911memorial.org