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Reflecting on 9/11 Anniversary

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This September 11th marks the solemn 10-year anniversary of that fateful day when terrorist acts changed this country forever.

September 11, 2001 began as a bright morning in many regions of the United States. But suddenly that was all shattered as a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. Everyone seems to remember where they were when they heard this news. As tragic events continued to unfold that day, it became more and more surreal, as if time was standing still. The days that followed seem to be etched into our consciousness, and its effects are still being felt across the globe.

This day has since been referred to as “The Day the United States once again became United,” and “The Day the World Changed.” Americans truly banded together and we seemed to become one in purpose to help rescue and comfort. Many of the first responders, our heroes, became victims as well. Heartfelt sentiments and condolences were sent from many nations around the world.

On September 11, 2011, a decade later, the world will be watching as the National September 11 Memorial Plaza opens on the site of the former World Trade Center complex. I thought it would be nice to share what I have learned about this memorial.

The memorial will be dedicated on September 11, 2011, and open to the public on September 12, 2011. It features two enormous waterfalls and reflecting pools, each about an acre in size. The names of the nearly 3,000 victims of the September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993 terrorist attacks will be inscribed on bronze panels lining the two pools. It will be a special place for remembrance and reflection. The surrounding plaza will be filled with oak trees, and one callery pear tree. This tree is known as the Survivor Tree, which was nursed back to health after surviving the 9/11 attacks.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum is being built in this plaza also, and will open a year later in September 2012. The entrance to the Memorial Museum will be a large pavilion with a glass atrium housing two enormous tridents within its glass atrium. The Twin Tower “tridents” (two beams each crowned with three prongs) are artifacts from the steel facade of the original 1 WTC, also known as the North Tower. Even though the pavilion will be inaccessible to visitors this year, these majestic tridents will be visible from the plaza at the anniversary commemoration.

The museum will provide visitors with the opportunity to learn about the men, women, and children who died. Plans call for visitors to enter the exhibition along a corridor in which portrait photographs of the nearly 3,000 victims form a “Wall of Faces,” intended to communicate the scale of human loss.

Historic rebuilding will also be taking place in the plaza of four new towers rising just beyond the northwest and southeast corners. Millions of visitors are expected during this first year, and free visitor passes are available online and by phone.

As you reflect with your loved ones on this anniversary, let’s remember to always be united as a nation, and a world, and never forget … never.

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