September 11th is a difficult day for many people throughout the country, and particularly so for the friends and families of the nearly 3,000 people who died 12 years ago today. The site of the World Trade Center has become a place to remember those who lost their lives in the tragic events in 2001. The area known as “ground zero” is now home to two reflection pools and a beautiful new tower, as well as a Memorial Museum.
Located within the footprints of the Twin Towers, the two reflection pools symbolize the loss of life and the physical void that was left after the attacks. They are each 1-acre in size, and contain the largest man-made waterfalls in the United States. Along the edge of each pool is inscribed the names of the people who lost their lives in the events of 9/11.
Standing tall next to the reflection pools, One World Trade Center (or Freedom Tower, as it was originally named in 2003), is an impressive 1776 feet tall. The height of the building, besides being the tallest in the United States and 3rd tallest in the world, is symbolic of the year of the Declaration of Independence, when we became our own nation. Though the building’s interior has yet to be completed, people are able to go to ground zero, sit by the reflection pools and the museum and view this massive building from ground level.
The Memorial Museum was built with the existing foundations of the original world trade center, and is thus as much an artifact of 9/11 as the exhibitions within its walls. Though One World Trade Center towers over it, the Museum descends more than thirty feet below ground into a central memorial hall, where visitors can touch the steel and concrete of the slurry wall that held back the Hudson River during the attacks. A private room is reserved at bedrock level for victims’ families to gather and share memories with one another.
Future plans for the area include four more office towers, 550,000 square feet of retail space and a performing arts center. While visitors flock to ground zero to see the awe-inspiring memorial gardens, One World Trade Center stands as a beacon of hope for the entire country, and promises a brighter future.