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9/11 memorial in NYC opens to the public

by Jorge Hernandez on September 12, 2011

The 9/11 memorial in New York City opened to the public for the first time on Monday morning, a day after the 10th anniversary of one of the most infamous events in American history. The opening of the 8-acre plaza was just one of many similar ceremonies held across the country to honor the memory of the victims of the September 11 attacks over the weekend.

Located where the Twin Towers once stood, the memorial is a solemn reminder of the 2,977 lives lost at the site. According to the Associated Press, it features two reflecting pools located where the buildings used to be, and each is ringed with the names of the victims from the 2001 attacks as well as the six killed when the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993. The site had a limited opening on Sunday, when families of the victims were able to tour its tree lined grounds.

"It will do what the terrorists tried to prevent, which is we've created a place where, regardless of political stripes, economic class, ethnicity, country of origin, people will be coming together, paying their respects at a place that's been transformed from one that was noted for such pain … to a place of stunning beauty," memorial president Joe Daniels said last week, the AP reports.

The site sits in the shadow of the rapidly-rising building meant to replace the fallen structures. The new One World Trade Center, dubbed Freedom Tower, has already passed the 1,000 foot mark on its way to reaching its ultimate height of 1,776 feet – the tallest building the U.S.

All of the sites involved in the September 11 attacks held memorials on Sunday. The site honoring the victims of Flight 93, which crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, was visited by President Barack Obama and features a marble wall with the names of the 40 victims.

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