9/11 Memorial and Museum - History and Facts | History Hit

9/11 Memorial and Museum

New York City, New York, United States

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City remembers the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

About 9/11 Memorial and Museum

The World Trade Centre was a complex of seven buildings in Manhattan in New York, which was destroyed by terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 in a devastating event known as 9/11. Today the site is known as Ground Zero and is remembered by the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

History of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum was constructed on the former site of the Twin Towers, two 110-storey buildings designed by Minoru Yamasaki in the 1960’s and also known as the North and South Towers.

At 1,368 feet tall, the North Tower, which was completed in 1972, surpassed the Empire State Building to become the tallest building in the world followed by the South Tower, although they lost this record to the Chicago Sears Tower later in 1973.

Typically, around 50,000 people worked in the Twin Towers with a further 200,000 people visiting on a daily basis. The World Trade Centre suffered a series of incidents throughout its lifetime, including a fire in the North Tower on 13 February 1975 and a terrorist attack in that tower’s underground garage on 26 February 1993 which killed six people. However, it was the events of 9/11 which are permanently ingrained in the global consciousness.

At 08:46 on 11 September 2001, terrorists crashed commercial American Airlines flight 11 into the North Twin Tower, followed shortly by crashing United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower. The impact was enormous. At 9:59, the South Tower collapsed, the North Tower following suit at 10:28. Whilst approximately 15,000 people were safely evacuated, the World Trade Centre attacks claimed almost 3,000 casualties, the worst casualty rate for a terrorist attack in US history.

The impact of the collapse of the towers saw the surrounding area heavily damaged – the clean up operation took nearly a year.

A memorial was planned in the aftermath of the attacks for the victims and those involved in rescue and recovery operations, and construction began on the memorial and museum in August 2006.

Construction of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum followed the designs of architects Michael Arad and Peter Walker, who envisioned a field of trees interrupted by two large, recessed pools in the footprints of the Twin Towers. The names of 2,983 victims of the attacks were inscribed on the parapets surrounding the memorial pools. The memorial opened to the public in 2011, and the museum opened in 2014.

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum today

The memorial and museum remember the tragic events of 9/11 and those who lost their lives. Visitors learn about the events which led up to the incident, the unspeakably harrowing hours on the morning of 9/11, and the stories that emerged from it.

Exhibitions examine the surrounding context of the event, including the construction of the World Trade Centre and the subsequent ‘War on Terror‘ and hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Ladder 3 Firetruck and the so-called Survivors’ Staircase are particularly poignant installations.

On the grounds of the memorial stands the “Survivor Tree”, a Callery pear tree which survived the September 11 attacks. It was removed from the rubble, where it was severely damaged. It was rehabilitated and returned to the site in 2010 with new, smooth limbs. The tree is intended to remember “resilience, survival and rebirth”; each year, seedlings from the tree are distributed to communities that have endured tragedy.

Getting to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum

The memorial is accessed via Greenwich Street or Dey Street. The nearest subway stations at Cortlandt St and World Trade Center, both of which are a couple of minutes walk away. Any taxi driver in the city will be able to take you here: it’s about a 30 minute ride south of Manhattan.

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