Making the 9/11 Memorial: Survivor Tree

Making the 9/11 Memorial: Survivor Tree

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Alice Martin, who lost her husband on September 11, 2001, gets a private tour of the memorial site and learns the story of the Survivor Tree.


The Garden of Remembrance in the Boston Public Garden is now the home of a sapling cultivated from the September 11th Survivor Tree found at Ground Zero. On Monday, May 19, 2014, Mass 9/11 family members joined Mayor Martin Walsh for the dedication ceremony. Mayor Walsh unveiled a plaque that explains the significance of the tree to the City of Boston and the greater Boston community. The tree and plaque are located next to the Boston 9/11 Memorial.

The gifting of children of the Survivor Tree by the City of New York and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is a tradition in the making. Four hundred and fifty gifts to communities affected by profound tragedies are planned. In recognition of September 11th and the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013, Boston is one of the initial recipients of a child Survivor Tree. We share this honor with Prescott, Arizona, which lost 19 firefighters who died fighting a wildfire in June, 2013, and the Far Rockaway neighborhood in Queens, New York, which is still reeling from the effects of Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.

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&diams Text and pictures attest to the resilience of New Yorkers and a remarkable tree following 9/11.
A pear tree is discovered&mdashscarred, burned, and buried&mdashunder mounds of rubble after the collapse of the Twin Towers and replanted in a nursery in the Bronx, where it eventually regrows and thrives. This deeply touching book equates the tree&rsquos extraordinary renaissance with New Yorkers&rsquo reawakened strength, spirit, and hope in the aftermath of the tragedy. One particular family&mdashportrayed as an interracial couple (mom presents Black and dad, White) and their very young child&mdashstand in for all New York&rsquos and, indeed, America&rsquos citizens and are depicted in opening scenes innocently enjoying daily life. Everything changes after they watch in bewildered horror as the awful events unfold on TV. Illustrations very ably accompany the simple, solemn text, using both double-page spreads and paneled insets they highlight and interconnect the passing of time for tree and humans. The &ldquoSurvivor Tree&rdquo is reborn, ultimately returned to its original site and replanted first responders at ground zero work diligently the child grows and gains a baby sibling ordinary activities continue seasons change and a 9/11 memorial is built. At book&rsquos end, the child has grown to adulthood and become a New York City firefighter. Several somber-colored illustrations capture the disaster, but the artwork doesn&rsquot dwell on devastation, instead focusing on bright, uplifting images of hope and recovery. An author&rsquos note and information about the tree conclude the book.
Moving and poignant, a tender tribute in this 20th-anniversary commemoration of 9/11.
&mdashKirkus Reviews, starred review

&ldquoSeason after season, the tree grew./ Each spring arrived with warm whispers and healing rain.&rdquo Commemorating 9/11 two decades after its occurrence, debut author Magee&rsquos free verse narrative focuses on a city&rsquos endurance as symbolized by New York City&rsquos Survivor Tree, a Callery pear in the World Trade Center Plaza that survived the buildings&rsquo collapse. Alongside the visual story of the attacks and their aftermath, Wong&rsquos detailed digital illustrations present the wordless tale of a child, a toddler during the attacks, growing up and becoming a first responder. In a scrapbook-style layout, snapshots of the brown-skinned, biracial child&rsquos family life appear alongside full-bleed illustrations of the tree&rsquos recovery, new growth, and replanting at ground zero a decade later. The combination of picture and verse effectively delivers the message that comfort can be found in remembrance and the continuity of life. Back matter includes contextualizing information about the Survivor Tree, an author&rsquos note, and a selected bibliography.
&mdashPublishers Weekly

A young girl, who is biracial, and her family experience the tragedy of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in New York City, with the special lens of having a family member who is in the New York City Fire Department. Through juxtaposed wordless illustrated scenes and illustrations with text, readers experience the tragedy of the day, the aftermath, and the healing of the city and those who bravely came to the rescue. Also featured is a tree, a Callery pear tree that survived the destruction of the World Trade Center. The tree was excavated from the rubble and years later replanted near the South Pool at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Digital illustrations do not shy away from the destruction and tragedy of 9/11 but the focus on the helpers and the passage of time allow for hope to form the central essence of the book. Connections to the Survivor Tree in Oklahoma City (as detailed in Chris Barton&rsquos All of a Sudden and Forever) speak to the resilience of nature and humankind in the face of tragedy. Back matter includes information regarding the Survivor Tree Seedling Program. VERDICT Highly recommended for a generation of elementary students looking for a hopeful entry point to a hard moment in American history.

&mdashSchool Library Journal

This memoir-like story, told in spare, careful sentences that recall helping actions around 9/11, portrays the day and subsequent years by following the growth of a little girl and of a tree that survived the attack. The 9/11 Survivor Tree was found at Ground Zero and moved to a nursery, a move that, like some other events in the book, is shown only in the art, thoughtfully leaving adults to fill in children&rsquos questions with the level of detail a child can handle. Seasons change, the years pass, and the tree eventually returns as part of the 9/11 memorial. Paralleling that story is that of the little girl, part of an FDNY family, who lives near the World Trade Center with her Black mom and white dad. Gentle text and bright, detailed images with lots of trees and plants show the best parts of life after tragedy. An afterword gives more advanced details on 9/11 and on the 9/11 Survivor Tree Seedling Program, which shares hope with cities that have experienced tragedy. A great addition to public and school library shelves.

About the Author

Debut author Ann Magee has been a Jersey girl all her life. A former elementary-school teacher, she loves teaching reading and writing. She lives with her husband and three children--her favorite people--in New Jersey.


9/11 Survivors Reunite at Survivor Tree 10 Years Later ..

Although Richard Eichen and Lucy Gonzalez both worked on the 90th floor of the North Tower, they were strangers before September 11, 2001. On that day, the pair evacuated the building together, escaping its collapse by seconds. Ten years later, on September 12, 2011, the two, along with other 9/11 survivors, reunited for the first time under the Survivor Tree at the 9/11 Memorial.

Eichen, a consultant at Pass Consulting Group, had started working at the World Trade Center in early September 2001 and didn’t yet have a key to the office suite. On the morning of 9/11, he was waiting near the 90th floor elevator for his colleague to arrive when he heard a loud bang and was hurled to the ground as the office erupted in flames.

Despite sustaining a severe head wound, Eichen found his way to an adjacent office where he connected with four others, including Lucy Gonzalez. They decided to evacuate as the smoke billowed and they saw large severed pieces of the building falling outside. However, Gonzalez was reluctant and wanted to wait for first responders.

“I told her, ‘Lucy, we’re not leaving anybody behind. We got to get out of here, we’re starting to burn,’ Eichen remembers. "I took her hands, and put them on my shoulders, and I held them so she wouldn’t let go.”

Photo: Lucy Gonzales and Richard Eichen at the Survivor Tree on the 9/11 Memorial plaza, September 12, 2011.

Overcome with anxiety, Gonzalez fainted near the 25th floor on their decent down the stairs. After FDNY firefighters revived her with oxygen, Eichen grabbed Gonzalez and yelled, “wounded coming through!” and descended the final flights of stairs. The building collapsed minutes after they exited.

Leaving Gonzalez with paramedics, Eichen walked to Downtown Beekman Hospital to seek treatment for his head wound. In the waiting room, he first learned of the terrorist attacks from the news. Still bloody, wearing his hospital gown and a bandage wrapped around his head, Eichen discharged himself and walked over the Brooklyn Bridge toward his parents’ home in Rockaway, Queens. After he crossed the bridge, a stranger offered him a ride and he soon was reunited with his parents.

Weeks later, he tried to locate Gonzalez. Finally able to connect through email, he confirmed that she was okay. It was not until 10 years later that the two decided to reunite and confront their memories together.

They met at the then-newly-dedicated 9/11 Memorial under the Survivor Tree at a special event for survivors. “I really believe the beauty and peace of the memorial affected everyone there,” Eichen said.

The making of a memorial: Reshaping ground zero

New York (CNN) -- When you walk in, all you see is a construction site.

Amid the hum and rumble of downtown Manhattan -- not to mention the clang of steel and the tangle of cranes -- hard-hatted workers in fluorescent orange vests yell orders, spread cement, move machines. Empty boxes litter the ground. Shop lights hang from extension cords like Christmas bulbs.

Stacks of paving stones, cinderblocks and plywood are everywhere. Scaffolding and mesh divide work areas from visitors. Chain-link fencing marks a perimeter beyond it, iron and steel rise from bedrock.

At one end of ground zero, a new skyscraper -- 1 World Trade Center, once known as Freedom Tower -- rises almost 80 stories. A September 11 museum is nearing completion it will open next year. Three more office towers are in various states of development. Eventually, a transportation hub and shopping arcade will connect the complex underground. The entire project is expected to be finished around 2015.

But among the construction, there is a finished plaza. And at the center of the plaza, there is only stillness.

Two pools -- "voids," as designer Michael Arad calls them -- plunge into the Earth. Located on the footprints of the old Twin Towers, they are giant, empty, open-topped cubes. Their walls are clad in dark granite, their lips surrounded by brass parapets engraved with nearly 3,000 names: those killed here on September 11 as well as in a 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.

It's a sight that would appear to be almost "more than any of us can bear," to borrow the words of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, except for two things: the trees and the water.

The trees -- more than 400 -- line the walkways and plaza leading to the voids. All but one are recent transplants. The lone "Survivor Tree," a callery pear, was found in the ruins and nursed back to health. The greenery provides a bucolic sense in the midst of city concrete.

And then, in the dry granite voids, the water is turned on. It falls beneath the names etched in brass and into the pools below, washing away the city noise in a cool spray. The waterfalls create a sense of peace and solace, softening the voids' stark chasms.

"I had chills for the first time when the water was turned on," said Paula Grant Berry, who lost her husband on September 11. Berry, the only victims' family member to serve on the jury that selected Arad's design, had visited the site a handful of times but said turning on the waterfalls was the needed touch.

"It was extraordinary. The wind picked up the water, and a rainbow appeared in the voids."

Arad said he wanted to capture the feelings of emptiness and loss while emphasizing the importance of public spaces -- and public bonding. He remembers how being with people in the aftermath of September 11 -- gathering in New York's squares, looking at flyers of the missing, talking with strangers -- supplied a necessary kindness in those bitter, gritty days.

"It was so instrumental in the process of allowing New Yorkers to come together to make sense of what had happened and support each other," he said. "That sense that we will persevere and at the same time be compassionate and support each other -- I think you needed these public spaces for those expressions to come out and manifest themselves. I certainly needed it."

Arad's National September 11 Memorial, "Reflecting Absence," will open Sunday, September 11, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Dignitaries, including President Obama, and family members are expected to attend. The next day, the memorial will open to the public.

It's the end of a long, messy journey, one that has parallels in other memorials. These monuments to our memories tell stories of lives and history, and those stories don't always agree.

And if every memorial tells a story, the September 11 memorial had a more complex one than most. There was the most basic story a memorial can put forth, that of the commemoration of 3,000 lives lost. But there were also layers of stories underneath: stories of randomness, stories of residents, stories of terrorism and destruction and chaos, stories that exposed the heart and pain of New York before getting down to the city's bedrock essence: hope and togetherness, perseverance and determination.

How to make sense of them all in a display of rock, foliage and water?

Battle over a "sacred space"

Memorials have been a part of the human experience since, well, time immemorial. Graves are a form of memorial so are markers left along highways, monuments in town squares and the pyramids of Egypt. They are lit by eternal flames, swathed in teddy bears or drizzled with flowers. Recent ones, such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, are etched with lists of names.

They are a way of saying, "Remember."

Early memorials were almost exclusively built by, and dedicated to, the powerful, historians say. They were "reflective of who was in charge of controlling these national narratives: white, elite, masculine," said Alison Fields, an art history professor at the University of Oklahoma.

In more recent centuries, governments paid for public memorials, particularly to honor their war dead. The American tradition in particular is more democratic.

"Now, there are more voices claiming a spot in that narrative," Fields said, "and as a result, you have more forms of (memorials) and more debate."

September 11 had many groups wishing to mold that narrative.

In the months after the terrorist attacks, nobody could agree how -- or even whether -- to fill the hole at ground zero. Build a memorial? The site was already a memorial. Thousands died September 11, 2001, including 343 members of the fire department, 23 members of the police department and 37 officers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Sixty companies lost employees.

Four out of every 10 bodies were never recovered.

Some families wanted the site's 16 acres -- a "sacred space," in the words of many -- left empty, a belief initially shared by Giuliani. Others such as the Port Authority, which owns the land, and developer Larry Silverstein, who leases the land and owned the Twin Towers, were determined to rebuild.

Then-Gov. George Pataki pushed for creating what New York magazine's Joe Hagan called "the Rolls Royce of memorials."

In 2003, an agency created to rebuild the site chose a master plan by architect Daniel Libeskind. The plan called for a new tower as well as a memorial, and the new agency -- the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation -- announced a design competition for the memorial. Of the 5,201 entries received, Arad's was chosen as the winner.

The tumult, however, was only beginning.

The competing interests involved in the site -- Libeskind, the Port Authority, the new agency, the victims' families -- each wanted to tweak Arad's design, Hagan reported in his 2006 story. Arad, a relative unknown, fought back, alienating some parties who believed he was being stubborn.

According to Hagan's story, Arad and others bickered over a variety of technical requirements. Seemingly minor points -- the location and number of ramps, for example -- led to huge blow-ups.

"Was it tiring at times? Yes," Arad says now. "But it was necessary. . Design is always, essentially, about responding to constraints. You need boundaries to push against to have a creative response."

The budget was another challenge. A 2006 cost estimate of the memorial and museum brushed close to $1 billion. It included a variety of seemingly unconnected extras, such as new train tracks and rail station improvements. The schedule called for the memorial to open in 2009 that date was pushed back amid the disputes.

The clashes seemed intractable. As Hagan wrote at the time, "Arad's memorial teeters on the brink of collapse."

The path leading to "the Wall"

For all this, the 9/11 memorial wasn't unusual. Other memorials, including dedications to September 11, have been through similar clashes over their artistic merits and public value.

Some have been criticized for being ugly or pedestrian. A glass cube September 11 memorial in Boston has been compared to an Apple store. The "Tear of Grief" September 11 memorial in Bayonne, New Jersey -- a bulbous teardrop in the center of a jagged ellipse -- has been called a "giant tea biscuit" (and worse).

The proposed September 11 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 went down, was denounced for a crescent-shaped pathway that reminded some of the symbol for Islam. The design was revised a portion of what will become a 2,000-acre national park is scheduled to open this September 11.

Other memorials are faulted for their optics. The centerpiece of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington -- which consists of a sculpture of the civil rights leader, arms folded, emerging from rock -- was criticized for King's "confrontational" pose, its huge scale, the type of stone (Chinese granite) and the Chinese nationality of artist Lei Yixin.

But perhaps no recent memorial led to more wrath than one that has since become a model for many others: the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

It began in 1979 as unloved as the war itself. Money was initially scarce. Then came a design competition. Among the entries were a 40-foot rocking chair, a giant helmet -- and an angled, sunken wall etched with the names of the war's 58,000 dead.

The wall was the product of a 21-year-old Yale architecture student, Maya Lin.

"I had to ask myself . what is a memorial's purpose in the 20th century," Lin said in an Oscar-winning documentary about her career, "A Strong Clear Vision." "The cost of war was these individuals, and we have to remember them first."

The competition's jury recognized the design's promise right away, but memorial co-founder Jan Scruggs also saw the pitfalls.

"People are going to criticize this by saying . this is going to be a black hole in the ground," he said in the film.

Sure enough, some veterans were aghast at the design, comparing it to a "gash" and a "black scar."

Lin, too, was criticized, sometimes with racial slurs. One letter-writer complained, "How can you let a gook design the memorial?" (Lin, of Chinese descent, was born and raised in Ohio.)

"I knew I was in for a struggle," she said.

Other battles were fought over the wall's abstract design, the way the names were listed and even its location.

And yet today the Wall -- as it's come to be known -- is a landmark in what Notre Dame professor Erika Doss calls an age of "memorial mania." Perhaps it's the location on the National Mall perhaps it's the emotional pull. However you explain its attraction, the Wall drew more than 4.5 million people last year, making it the third-most-visited historic site in the country, according to the National Park Service. That's more than the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty, and not far behind the Lincoln Memorial.

People who approach the Wall have been known to break down in tears. They touch the engraved names delicately, as if the letters are inscribed with an electric charge. Many take imprints others leave flowers and mementos.

Nancy Switzer, wife of a Vietnam veteran and president of the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, explains its power.

"The minute you walk down that path, you find the magnitude of what war does," she said. "You remember the good times, the laughs, the tears, as well as the sadness and the tragedy of life."

"You are washed. You are cleansed"

The Wall, which made Lin a household name and a go-to designer, has influenced countless structures since. Lin herself served on the September 11 memorial jury that selected Arad's design.

Though abstract memorials cataloguing the dead were far from unknown before the Wall -- obelisks inscribed with the names of local war dead dot innumerable town squares -- Lin's use of black stone, shorn of classical filigree, and the list of victims have become a norm for designers.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial takes some leads from the Wall in its use of names and symbols.

Two tall bronze gates stand at the ends of a reflecting pool. Engraved on one is the time 9:01 on the other, 9:03 -- marking the minutes before and after a bomb destroyed the city's federal building on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people.

The pool sits where an explosives-laden Ryder truck was parked. Where the building stood, a field is filled with 168 empty bronze chairs, 19 of them smaller than the rest to represent the children killed. Five chairs to one side represent those killed outside the building. The glass base of each chair bears a victim's name.

A wall inscribed with survivors' names stands near a blown-out corner of the original building -- the only section left and a reminder of the damage done.

Dell Upton, a UCLA art history professor who has studied the history of memorials, finds parts of the memorial overdone.

"I thought all those chairs were very effective. The problem . is that there's too much other stuff stuck on to it," he said. "You can't have one simple thing you have to get everything in."

Bill Belshaw, a Dallas architect visiting the memorial recently, said he worried there'd be too much happening to take it all in.

But as he looked out over the reflecting pool and scanned his surroundings, he said, "There's a calm and emotional feel here that surprises me."

Robert Henry, a former U.S. appeals judge whose office was across the street from the federal building, says the memorial tells the story of a community that pulls together -- and a country that does not forget its people.

"You come away seeing the greatness of a federal republic at its best," said Henry, now president of Oklahoma City University.

"At the bombing, we came together.

"And you come from . the memorial with a catharsis. You are washed. You are cleansed. And you are inspired when you see what people can do when they come together as a community."

"An enormously complex project"

Eventually, such was the case in New York. Various construction elements were streamlined, and a controversial aspect of Arad's original design -- an underground approach -- will be incorporated into the museum.

An aggressive fund-raising campaign raised almost $400 million, more than half the final cost of the memorial and museum. Construction finally began in the summer of 2008 with a goal of having the memorial finished by the 10th anniversary of September 11.

The September 11 Memorial's board is symbolic of the site's many interest groups.

In addition to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the board's chairman, the 48 active members of the group include:

- "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart

- Actor and Lower Manhattan denizen Robert De Niro

- American Express Chairman and CEO Kenneth Chenault

- Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin

- Tishman Construction Chairman and CEO Daniel Tishman

For a complete list, go to the memorial website .

That three-year sprint faced its own challenges, said Joe Daniels, president and CEO of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

"Although people sometimes say, 'What's taking so long?' the reality is that 10 years after the event, the emotions are still so raw from lots of important stakeholders, most importantly the families but also the people who live and work down here," he said.

"This was an enormously complex project from the get-go," said Anthoula Katsimatides, who lost her brother John in the attacks and who now serves on the board of the memorial and museum. "You can't really blame each party for having their motives at heart. This is a memorial unlike any other in that all our loved ones lost their lives at that site."

The compromises are most literally apparent in the listing of the names. Originally, they were to be placed randomly to reflect the capriciousness of the day, but the various parties -- including family members, businesses, first responders and airline employees -- wanted their people grouped together.

The solution was to use an idea of Arad's: a system of "meaningful adjacencies" so that, for example, names sharing a connection could appear next to one another even while being linked to different groups.

Some adjacencies are both surprising and heartbreaking: One woman, Abigail Goodman, lost both her best friend and her father on September 11. The friend was on the 96th floor of the North Tower, and Goodman's father was on Flight 11, which crashed into the North Tower. The friend and father are listed near each other but also in their groups: the friend with others from his business, the father with others on the flight. Arad says planners received more than 1,200 requests for such connections.

Not everybody got everything they wanted. Early on, there was talk of a memorial specifically for rescue workers. Some family members want a fountain sculpture from the old World Trade Center -- its only surviving artwork, now located in Battery Park -- moved to the memorial plaza. Police, firefighters and other first responders are listed without their ranks some officials aren't happy about that.

The hard feelings won't go away. "I think they're trying to sanitize the whole place," one former deputy fire chief, who lost his son on September 11, told the Los Angeles Times.

But a number of people involved said the compromises generally improved the project. Katsimatides was concerned that Arad's design was too full of blacks and grays and lacked greenery. The jury also believed the design was too stark and asked Arad to improve the landscaping. Katsimatides was grateful when landscape designer Peter Walker added more trees.

"My brother was all about color. . It brought a different kind of sense of hope to the site."

The same kind of satisfaction is expressed by the construction workers -- more than 3,500 of them -- who have made the project a kind of trust.

"This is a nice place for people to come see," says Robert Bertuzzi, a cement finisher who's been on the site for several years and plans to stay until the last building is done. "I think it's an appropriate memorial."

Construction and security

Bertuzzi has plenty of work ahead: Though the museum exterior appears near completion and 1 World Trade Center is rising at the rate of about a floor a week, buildings 2, 3 and 4 are barely out of the ground -- and there's still the transportation center and shopping mall. Until the museum opens next year, visitors will have to approach the memorial through a single entrance, expected to be at the site's southwest corner, and cranes and scaffolding will be part of the view.

"I think it adds to the specialness of the experience," he said. "This is New York City. There's massive skyscraper construction right above you, whether you're walking down Sixth Avenue or 42nd Street, and life continues here.

"At the World Trade Center site, having basically 50% of the site open and available to the public is something that will feel like a separate space. . You'll know that there's construction around you, but you'll know that you're in an accessible and open and, most important, a sacred space."

Another issue is security. With the World Trade Center having been struck twice by terrorists, the city is taking no chances: Two hundred twenty NYPD officers were recently assigned to the site, and the force is expected to eventually reach 670. The site will also feature closed-circuit cameras and airport-style visitor screening.

Daniels says such precautions are necessary in this day and age and believes the public "will appreciate the level of security."

"The level of security that all of us experience is because of what happened on 9/11," he said. "In some sense it's the one place it will be accepted more than any other place."

At first, only about 1,500 people will be able to gather on the plaza at any one time because of the ongoing construction, Daniels said. That number will increase as areas are finished. The first day, September 11, will be open to family members only from September 12 on, free visitor passes will be required. They are available through the memorial's website on a first-come, first-served basis visitors must select a specific date and time for their passes.

"The spirit of the place"

On a sunny August weekday, dozens of tourists walk by the walls protecting the construction site. They crane their heads at the rapidly rising 1 World Trade Center -- now the tallest building in Lower Manhattan -- and, where viewing is possible, watch the bustling construction workers descend to bedrock and plant shoots of steel. They mill around a sign bedecked with photo renderings of the finished site that optimistically declares, "TOMORROW: Building for the Future."

Colin Hawdon, visiting from Newcastle, England, said it's hard to mesh the current activity with the old images of emptiness and ruin. Like many, he came here out of a sense of curiosity and tribute, and he's a little surprised to find a noisy, lively building site.

"At the moment, it's hard to see anything apart from the construction," he said.

For Marcus Robinson, that's the point.

Each day, the Irish-born artist journeys down to the site and shoots photos and videos for his 5-year-old project, "Rebuilding." From there, he makes regular trips to the new 7 World Trade Center building across the street. On the mostly empty 48th floor -- an undeveloped expanse of concrete columns and floor-to-ceiling windows -- he and a handful of other artists maintain makeshift studios chronicling their work.

His paintings -- some of them huge, wall-sized canvases -- feature orange-vested men and heavy blue-gray renderings of steel. In Robinson's world, construction workers are heroic figures, building the world anew out of iron and fire.

His work, he says, is "more like an allegorical tale, like a parable about something amazing about the human spirit, and allowing the site to become this beautiful and extraordinary metaphor for everything great about the human spirit."

Indeed, from his 48th-floor aerie, you can see the history of that spirit made solid.

Through one set of windows, the mighty bridges, the engineering wonders of their time -- the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg -- span the East River to connect the island of Manhattan with Brooklyn. In the foreground, the "Cathedral of Commerce," the 1913 Woolworth Building, once the world's tallest, rises proudly over the 1914 Municipal Building, a 40-story Beaux-Arts landmark.

To the north in the distance: the Chrysler and Empire State buildings, which battled for the top spot in the early '30s and still loom over the clot of towers of Midtown.

And to the south, the glass-embraced slab of 1 World Trade Center, expected to top out with antenna at 1,776 feet, rises out of the site of a former champion: the Twin Towers.

Robinson sees beyond it all. He sees the city from the beginning, long before the native tribes were here, or the Dutch or the British or the immigrants, longshoremen, shopkeepers or financiers.

"What I've been very moved by was the exposure of the bare bedrock," he said. "It's as if this ancient billion-year-old soul of this city, the spirit of the place, has somehow dictated (its) shape."

Memorials, art historian Upton notes, aren't always forever. It's not unusual for them to become part of the landscape, ignored by passers-by, a platform for pigeons.

"The question I always ask," he said, "is, will people be interested in this monument in, say, 50 or 75 years, when nobody is living who knows any of the people on the wall?"

Arad maintains that the September 11 memorial is woven into the fabric of New York. The names are important, but also the promise of a reflective gathering place.

"What we've built here is the architectural equivalent of a moment of silence," he said. "We've created this opening, this eight-acre clearing in the middle of the city. . It's about separating yourself from day-to-day life when you stand up there, at the edge of the void."

That may prove to be the true bedrock of the September 11 memorial's story.

What happens when door breaching goes explosively wrong

Posted On April 29, 2020 15:48:23

Master Sergeant George Hand US Army (ret) was a member of the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, The Delta Force. He is a now a master photographer, cartoonist and storyteller.

We slung mutual glances from our lineup outside the door we were trying to explosively breach. Door charges weren’t supposed to go bang they were supposed to go “BOOM!

“GO, GO, GO!” came the call as we rushed to the still-closed breach point. Moses Bentley was the man who built and fired the charge. He crashed through the still-closed door like Thing from the Fantastic Four. We piled in behind him and quickly cleared and dominated the interior of our target building.

A post-assault inspection of the door charge revealed that the explosive had gone “low-order” that is, only a small portion of the charge and detonated, leaving the remainder still stuck to the door. “Don’t touch it…” Moses cautioned to us, “…it’s likely still sensitized from the initiator. Let’s leave it alone for about 30 minutes before I recover it.”

Moses (running) and the author training in Hereford, England, with the British 22 Special Air Service Regiment (22 SAS).

The setting was a condemned and abandoned residential neighborhood in New Orleans, “The Big Easy,” Louisiana. Our operations bros had found this hood and prepped it for a couple of days of absolutely realistic assault training with live breaches. We cut doors, blew through walls, blasted through chainlink fences… even through a shingle roof, which was more just something fun to do rather than a legit thing of tactical value, as breaching a shingle gable roof puts you in… an attic — doh!

Back at our breaching table, Moses (Mos) took the flexible sheet explosive he had collected from the door and packed it into a lumped pile. He added a little “P” for “plenty” and voila, the “Bentley Blaster,” as he entitled it, was born: “I’ll slap this Bentley Blaster between the doorknob and the deadbolt and punch all that sh*t through the jamb right in, right out, nobody gets hurt!” Mos bragged.

“Right in, right out, nobody gets hurt,” was the meta-assault plan composed largely of anti-matter and existed in a parallel universe. The plan applied to all actions on every assault objective after the real-world assault plan was formulated. We recited it to together just before we went in on every objective.

It was a B-Team thing. Our A-Team began their assaults with the Team Leader turning to his men announcing in an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice, “I am the cleanah!” to which his men replied in kind and in unison, “And we are the cleaning crew!” Just a thing.

The Ryder rental truck with our assault teams crept through an alleyway, coming to a halt behind a cluster of houses. Inside, B-Team waited as the cleaner and the cleaning crew lowered themselves to the ground and padded their way to their target house. Team Leader Daddy-Mac turned to us and began: “Ok, what’s the plan?” to which we chanted, “Right in, right out, nobody gets hurt,” and we moved to our objective.

The team stacked just behind the corner from the front door. Mos and I emerged and moved to the breach point. Mos worked on the door where I covered him with my assault rifle in case anyone opened the door.

Mos fired the five second delay fuse to the initiator, turned 90 degrees to his left, and moved off quickly with me following. It struck me odd that he had turned his back to the charge. The SOP we followed dictated that we always backed away from our breach points.

Mos pushed into the stack with me next to him and, still with my AR trained on the corner we had turned. Our Troop Commander stood 20 feet away in an administrative observation posture. He had seen, at the very last second, something none of us realized, something which horrified him.

When Mos did his 90-degree turn, his pistol holster had caught and stripped the powerful Bentley Blaster door charge off of the door and it hung there on his person where he crouched in the stack.

To be continued in part II…

Just kidding! In a very split second, the Commander knew that if he had called out a warning to Mos, that Mos would most assuredly have tried to strip it off… and he surely would have lost his hand. Mos would certainly fare better to endure it where it was — whatever “fare better” meant in this case, anyway.

BOOM” not “bang” went the charge this time. I found myself suddenly facing the opposite direction, spitting something warm and salty out of my mouth. Turning about, I saw that Mos had been violently cartwheeled with his head angered into the ground. His body was in the most impossible position his legs were in the air against the wall… you couldn’t have manually placed him in that configurations no matter how hard you tried, and he was out cold.

Daddy-Mac was the first to respond calling Mos’ name, pulling him down from his morbid stance. I turned to our officer and hollered from him to pull the med kit from the pouch on my back. He pulled it then stood there, frozen, with the med kit in his hands and a horrified look on his face. Disgusted, I grabbed the med kit from him and turned to the scene.

Markey-Marcos was the newest man out our team. He looked at me with a nervous grin and shook his head, over and over, exclaiming: “Whew… whew… whew!” I was annoyed again and slapped him on the back, “Snap out of it bro that’s the way it’s going to get in this business — get used to it!” I chided in some pretentious, hardened-vet sort of way.

Markey-Marcos turned his back to pick up his AR, which had been blown out of his hands by the Bentley Blaster. He was the rear man in the stack, so he had his back to Mos to provide security to our rear. I saw immediately that both legs of his assault trousers were completely shredded and Marcos was bleeding from dozens of tiny puncture wounds.

Shocked, I immediately put my arm around his shoulders and, with a much more humane tone, I told him, “Here, take it easy Marcos… let’s have a seat it will be alright.” Our troop medic was already on the scene, cutting clothing and bandaging trauma and burns to Mos, mostly to his legs.

Doc (left) and an Operations Cell NCO work on Moses right were he “blew up” the wall behind them is blackened by the explosion.

Daddy-Mac: “Damn bro, you were out cold!

Mos: “No I wasn’t I was awake the whole time.

Homes, I’m telling you I saw you and you were completely knocked out!

Bullsh*t, I was never knocked out I was conscious for the whole thing.”

Daddy-Mac turned to our medic, disgusted but relieved, “Doc, he appears to be fine back to his usual contrary pissy self.

Marky-Marcos was patched up and returned to us with no training time lost. Mos was hurt pretty bad but refused to be sent back home to Fort Bragg. He insisted on staying in our hotel promising he would be back the next day. That didn’t happen. Mos didn’t walk for several days. When he finally could, he only came to hang out for training with no participation.

Moses debriefs with senior representatives from the Master Breecher’s office before being driven back to the hotel to take it easy. To the right is the door where the Bentley Blaster charge had been stripped off and attached to Mos’ pistol holster.

Back at Bragg, Mos continued to heal, a process that took several weeks. He routinely reported to the clinic to have yards of Curlex bandage pulled from cavities in his legs and have fresh Curlex packed back in, and extraordinarily painful process, one that the rest of us wouldn’t have missed for the world.

Back at Ft. Bragg Moses Bentley stand behind his assault uniform as it was pulled off of him on the scene. Speculation revealed that his pistol and holster likely spared him from losing his left leg.

I’m put squarely in mind of the words of one of our training cadre from a trauma management class during our training phase:

The Tree That Survived 9/11

From beneath ruins, 9/11 rescue workers found an extensively damaged yet still alive Callery pear tree. Its roots and limbs were snapped, trunk blackened by smoldering rubble, yet it was still barely alive.

This tree, a survivor of 9/11 was found in October of 2001 and brought shortly thereafter to the Parks Department's Arthur Ross Nursery in the Bronx to be replanted. The Callery pear tree was nursed back to health from eight feet tall to 30 feet tall. The tree was returned in 2010 to the National September 11 Memorial and became known as the "Survivor Tree."

The Survivor Tree is just one symbol of resilience, rebirth, and survival in the face of immense destruction and hate. The tree, which was planted in the 1970's was charred and mangled, yet bounced back in full healthy form to bloom again every spring.

While walking through the memorial there is a simple sign to identify the tree, a steel railing, and some protective wires. The Callery pear tree is planted with 225 other swamp white oak trees. The pear tree blooms early in the year, around mid-March, creating a stark contrast between the white flowers of the pear tree and the leafless oaks.

The Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) produces thousands of five-petal white flowers in early spring before leafing out for the summer. Callery pears are known to be incredibly resistant to disease and blight, an apt tree to stand in the 9/11 Memorial.

The Survivor Tree's seedlings have since been planted a dozen times around the country and world in memorial to natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

Survivor Tree Seedlings
Year Location
2013 Boston Mass in honor of the marathon bombing on April 15, 2013
2013 Prescott, Arizona in honor of 19 firefighters who lost their lives on Granite Mountain
2013 Queens, NY in honor of damage from Superstorm Sandy
2014 Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas in honor of 16 victims and survivors of the November 5, 2009, shootings.
2014 Gulfport, Miss in honor of victims of Hurricane Katrina
2014 Oso, Washington in honor of 43 people killed by the March 22, 2014, mudslide
2015 Madrid, Spain in honor of the 2004 terror bombings on the Madrid commuter train
2015 Joplin, Missouri in honor of those killed and injured from the May 22, 2011, tornado
2015 Newtown, Connecticut in honor of the 20 school children and 6 adults who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School
2016 Paris, France in honor of those killed and injured from the November 13, 2015, and July 14, 2016, attacks
2016 Orlando, Florida in honor of those killed and injured during the Pulse nightclub attack on June 12, 2016
2016 San Bernardino, California in honor of those killed and injured on December 2, 2015

"New, smooth limbs extended from the gnarled stumps, creating a visible demarcation between the tree’s past and present," states the 9/11 Museum. "Today, the tree stands as a living reminder of resilience, survival, and rebirth."

Most Popular Remembrance Trees

When deciding on a special remembrance tree, there are many to choose from.

One of the most popular remembrance trees is the oak tree. The oak is a symbol of strength and longevity. It can live for centuries and is considered the king of trees! The oak shows off its lively red and burgundy leaves in the Fall and is a beautiful site to see. In addition, its acorns attract birds, squirrels and other wildlife.

Another popular remembrance tree option is a maple. It is a resilient tree that can grow and thrive in a variety of climates and soil conditions. In addition, it shows brilliant beautiful orange, red and yellow colors in the Fall and is a fast growing tree that can be enjoyed year-round by family and friends.

The dogwood is yet another popular tree to plant in remembrance. It comes in different varieties that show off their magnificent pink, white and red blooms! It’s a beautiful tree and a wonderful addition to any landscape.

The weeping willow is also a great tree and one commonly planted as a remembrance tree. It has a beautiful dramatic appearance that can’t be matched. With its ground sweeping branches and slender and long leaves, the weeping willow Is a sight to see! Similar to the maple, the willow can adapt and thrive in a variety of soil conditions and climates.

Bonsai trees are another popular option for a remembrance tree. Depending on the type of bonsai chosen, they can live for hundreds of years, can be kept indoors or on a patio, and are beautiful trees that can be easy to care for. Many families are also choosing to grow a remembrance tree of a loved one with a bonsai tree planted in The Living Urn Indoors, an indoor urn or patio urn where you can combine your loved one’s ashes in the urn with a bonsai tree.

9/11 Memorial and the Survivor Tree

Survivor Tree

We just returned from a trip to NYC to watch some friends run in the NYC marathon. First, I cannot say enough about the people of NYC and how amazing they were on that crazy day. I never felt at risk, there were many police officers, swat teams, security checkpoints and it made me feel safe. What a great experience. Thank you to all who worked to make it an outstanding event.

After our marathoners were running there 26.2 miles, we had a little time to visit the 9/11 Memorial. Early on I remember reading about different ideas for the memorial and it took a few years before it was actually built. Looking into the abyss of where the buildings stood and seeing the water slowly returning to below captured the feeling of helplessness we all felt that tragic day.

What I was not aware of was the story of the survivor tree. The 9/11 memorial employees showed us pictures of this amazing tree in ruins. It was just the trunk with a few dead looking limbs. While so much was destroyed this little Callery pear tree held strong. The ribbons surrounding the tree were in tribute to the people that were killed in the October 30, 2017 truck attack. The employees went on to tell us how they have seedlings from this survivor tree to send to other sites of terrorist attacks. Wouldn’t it be an amazing thing if we no longer needed those little seedlings.

A trip to NYC is never complete without a trip to Central Park. If I lived in NYC I think you would find me hanging out at Central Park most of the time. The father of Landscape Architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, is probably my all time hero for creating beauty and making it look like Central Park was carved out and saved, rather then created by man.


Planning Edit

  • Remember and honor the thousands of innocent men, women, and children murdered by terrorists in the horrific attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001.
  • Respect this place made sacred through tragic loss.
  • Recognize the endurance of those who survived, the courage of those who risked their lives to save others, and the compassion of all who supported us in our darkest hours.
  • May the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance.

Formerly the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum was formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation to raise funds and manage the memorial's planning and construction. Its board of directors met for the first time on January 4, 2005, and it reached its first-phase capital-fundraising goal ($350 million) in April 2008. This money and additional funds raised will be used to build the memorial and museum and endow the museum.

In 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation launched the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition, an international competition to design a memorial at the World Trade Center site to commemorate the lives lost on 9/11. Individuals and teams from around the world submitted design proposals. [9] On November 19, 2003, the thirteen-member jury selected eight finalists. [9] Reflecting Absence, designed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, was chosen as the winning design on January 6, 2004. [10] It consists of a field of trees interrupted by two large, recessed pools, the footprints of the Twin Towers. The deciduous trees (swamp white oaks) [11] are arranged in rows and form informal clusters, clearings and groves. The park is at street level, above the Memorial Museum. [12] The names of the victims of the attacks (including those from the Pentagon, American Airlines Flight 77, United Airlines Flight 93, and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) are inscribed on the parapets surrounding the waterfalls [13] in an arrangement of "meaningful adjacencies". [14] On January 14, 2004, the final design for the World Trade Center site memorial was unveiled at a press conference in Federal Hall National Memorial. [9]

As mandated by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation owns, operates and finances the Reflecting Absence Memorial and the Museum. John C. Whitehead, chair of the LMDC and the foundation, announced his resignation in May 2006 and was replaced at the LMDC by former president Kevin Rampe. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg replaced Whitehead as chair of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Foundation executive committee chair Thomas S. Johnson said on May 9, 2006:

The decision was made to not actively pursue new fund-raising efforts until complete clarity can be achieved with respect to the design and costs of the project. Cost concerns emerged publicly last week with the disclosure of an estimate by the construction manager, Lend Lease Group, that the memorial and museum would cost $672 million and that it would take a total of at least $973 million to fully develop the memorial setting with a cooling plant, roadways, sidewalks, utilities and stabilized foundation walls. An estimate earlier this year put the cost of the memorial and memorial museum at $494 million. [15]

On May 26, 2006, Gretchen Dykstra resigned as president and chief executive officer of the World Trade Center Foundation. [16] Joseph C. Daniels was appointed as president and CEO in October 2006. [17] The memorial projects were toned down, and the budget was cut to $530 million. [18] Construction of the memorial began in August 2006 [ citation needed ] and, despite delays, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum was confident that it would be completed by September 11, 2011. [19]

National tour Edit

In September 2007, the Memorial & Museum began a four-month national-awareness tour of 25 cities in 25 states, and thousands participated in tour activities. [20] The tour began at Finlay Park in Columbia, South Carolina, ending at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Highlights included an exhibition of photographs, artifacts from the site and a film with firsthand accounts from individuals who had directly experienced the attacks. At the opening ceremony in South Carolina, the students of White Knoll Middle School (who raised over $500,000 in 2001 for a new truck for the New York City Fire Department) were honored and retired New York City police officer Marcelo Pevida presented the city with an American flag which had flown over Ground Zero. [21] The main attractions of the 2007 national tour were steel beams, later used in the construction of the memorial, for visitors to sign. [22]

Fundraising Edit

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum conducts a "cobblestone campaign", in which a contributor may sponsor a cobblestone which will line the Memorial plaza. Donors are recognized on the Memorial's website. [23] Donors are able to locate their cobblestone by entering their name at a kiosk on the Memorial plaza. [24] In 2008 the Memorial conducted two holiday cobblestone campaigns: the first for Father's Day, and the second for the December holiday season. [25] [26]

On September 9, 2011, Secretary Shaun Donovan of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development said that the department had given $329 million to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum through HUD's Community Development Block Grant program. [27] According to CNN, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey dropped its claim that the 9/11 Memorial & Museum owed it $300 million in construction costs in return for "financial oversight of the museum and memorial". [28]

Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii sponsored S.1537, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum Act of 2011, which would provide $20 million in federal funds annually toward the Memorial's operating budget (about one-third of its total budget). The legislation was presented to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on October 19, 2011. [29] In return for federal funding S.1537 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to accept the donation by the memorial's board of directors of title to the National September 11 Memorial, contingent on agreement by the board, the governors of New York and New Jersey, the Mayor of New York and the Secretary of the Interior. On October 19, 2011, William D. Shaddox of the National Park Service voiced concerns to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources about the agency's ability to provide the funds required by S.1537, testifying that NPS ownership of a property over which it would not have operational and administrative control (as stipulated by S.1537) was unprecedented. [30]

Construction Edit

On March 13, 2006, construction workers arrived at the WTC site to begin work on the Reflecting Absence design. Some relatives of the victims and other concerned citizens gathered to protest the new memorial that day, saying that it should be built above ground. The president of the memorial foundation said that family members were consulted and formed a consensus in favor of the design, and work would continue as planned. [31] [32] In May, estimated construction costs for the Memorial were reported to have risen to over $1 billion. [33] Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, "There's just not an unlimited amount of money that we can spend on a memorial. Any figure higher than $500 million would be inappropriate." [34]

In 2006, at the request of Bloomberg and Governor George Pataki, builder Frank Sciame performed a month-long analysis which included input from victims' families, the lower Manhattan business and residential communities, architects and members of the memorial-competition jury. The analysis recommended design changes which kept the memorial and museum within a $500 million budget. [35] [36]

In July 2008, the Survivors' Staircase was lowered to bedrock, making it the first artifact to be moved into the museum. By the end of August, the footings and foundations were completed. On September 2 construction workers raised the 7,700-pound (3,500 kg) first column for the memorial, near the footprint of the North Tower. [37] By then, about 70 percent of the construction contracts were awarded or ready to award. A total of 9,100 short tons (8,300 t) of steel were installed at the memorial site. [38] By April 2010, the reflecting pools were fully framed in steel, and 85 percent of the concrete had been poured. By April 22, workers had begun installation of the granite coating for the reflecting pools. By June the North Pool's granite coating was completed, and workers had begun granite installation in the South Pool. In July, the first soil shipments arrived at the site, and in August workers began planting trees on the memorial plaza. The swamp white oaks can reach 60 to 80 feet (18 to 24 m) at maturity, live from 300 to 350 years, and their autumn leaves are gold-colored. The "Survivor Tree" is a callery pear which survived the devastation and was kept for replanting. [39] In September, workers reinstalled two "tridents" salvaged from the Twin Towers.

In November 2010, workers began testing the North Pool waterfall. [40] Construction progressed through early 2011: installation of glass panels on the museum pavilion's facade began in March, and workers began testing the South Pool waterfall two months later. Most of the memorial was finished in time for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, with the museum planned for completion the following year. By September 2, 243 trees were planted at the site and eight more were planted in the days before the memorial opened. By then, both pools were completed and the waterfalls were tested daily.

On September 12, 2011, one day after the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the memorial opened to the public with a lengthy set of rules and regulations approved by the foundation's board of directors. The period from September 11, 2011 to May 25, 2014 was known as the "interim operating period", when the memorial was surrounded by construction of neighboring World Trade Center projects the fence was taken down on May 25, 2014. [41] Three months after its opening, the memorial had been visited by over a million people. [42]

In January 2004, Reflecting Absence, by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker, was selected from 5,201 entries from 63 countries as the winner of the LMDC's design competition. Two 1-acre (4,000 m 2 ) pools with the largest man-made waterfalls in the United States comprise the footprints of the Twin Towers, symbolizing the loss of life and the physical void left by the attacks. The waterfalls are intended to mute the sounds of the city, making the site a contemplative sanctuary. Landscape architect Peter Walker planted many parts of the memorial with white oaks. [43] More than 400 swamp white oak trees fill the Memorial plaza, enhancing the site's reflective nature. [44]

Pedestrian simulations tested the memorial's design. The pedestrian-modeling program Legion was used to simulate visitor utilization of the space, and its design was tweaked to prevent bottlenecks. [45] The fountain was engineered by Delta Fountains. [46]

Arrangement of the victims' names Edit

The names of 2,983 victims are inscribed on 152 bronze parapets on the memorial pools: [47] 2,977 killed in the September 11 attacks and six killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The names are arranged according to an algorithm, creating "meaningful adjacencies" based on relationships—proximity at the time of the attacks, company or organization affiliations (for those working at the World Trade Center or the Pentagon) and in response to about 1,200 requests from family members. Software by Local Projects [48] implemented the arrangement. [49] All names are stylized with Optima typeface for a "balanced appearance" [50]

The names of the employees and visitors in the North Tower (WTC 1), the passengers and crew of American Airlines Flight 11 (which struck the North Tower), and the employees and a visitor of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing are around the perimeter of the North Pool. The names of the employees and visitors in the South Tower (WTC 2), the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 175 (which struck the South Tower), the employees, visitors, and bystanders in the immediate vicinity of the North and South Towers, the first responders who died during rescue operations, the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 (which crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania) and American Airlines Flight 77 (which struck the Pentagon), and the employees at the Pentagon are around the perimeter of the South Pool. [51] Company names are not included, but company employees and visitors are listed together. Passengers on the four flights are listed under their flight numbers, and first responders with their units.

The process for arranging the names was finalized in a 2006 agreement, replacing an earlier plan to arrange the names randomly. According to Edith Lutnick (executive director of the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund), "Your loved ones' names are surrounded by the names of those they sat with, those they worked with, those they lived with and, very possibly, those they died with." [52]

The six adult victims of the 1993 bombing are memorialized on Panel N-73 at the North Pool. [53] The phrase "and her unborn child" follows the names of ten pregnant women who died on 9/11 and one who died in the 1993 attack. [54]

The Survivor Tree Edit

A callery pear tree recovered from the rubble at the World Trade Center site in October 2001 was later called the "Survivor Tree". [55] [56] When the 8-foot (2.4 m)-tall tree was recovered, [57] it was badly burned and had one living branch. [55] The tree had been planted during the 1970s near buildings four and five, in the vicinity of Church Street. [58] Then-Memorial president Joe Daniels described it as "a key element of the memorial plaza's landscape". [55]

In November 2001, the tree was moved by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to the Arthur Ross Nursery in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx for care. It was then replanted in the Bronx on November 11, 2001. [59] The tree was not expected to survive, but it showed signs of new growth the following spring. [56] Although the memorial planning team intended to include the Survivor Tree, its permanent location was unknown at the time. [59]

Still under the care of the Bronx nursery, the tree was replanted without significant damage in March 2010 after it was uprooted by a storm. [58] After the replanting, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said: "Again, we and the tree refused to throw in the towel. We replanted the tree, and it bounced back immediately." [55]

The Survivor Tree has become a symbol of hope and rebirth according to Arthur Ross Nursery manager Richie Cabo, "It represents all of us." [56] In an August 29, 2011 Port Authority press release (after Hurricane Irene), Daniels said: "True to its name, the Survivor Tree is standing tall at the Memorial." [60] Keating Crown (a survivor of the attacks) said, "It reminds us all of the capacity of the human spirit to persevere." [56] A Place of Remembrance: Official Book of the National September 11 Memorial describes the tree as "a reminder of the thousands of survivors who persevered after the attacks". [61]

In December 2010, the tree, then 30 feet (9.1 m) tall, [56] was returned to the World Trade Center site in a ceremony attended by Bloomberg, city officials [57] (including Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Port Authority executive director Chris Ward), survivors and rescue and recovery workers. [56] [57] Although the tree is a prominent part of the memorial, [62] six other "survivor trees" have been planted near New York City Hall and the Manhattan end of the Brooklyn Bridge. Of these survivor trees, three are callery pears and three are little-leaf lindens. [63]

Memorial Glade Edit

In May 2018, plans were revealed for a path through a "memorial glade" at the National September 11 Memorial. The glade and path honors first responders who later got sick or died after inhaling toxins at the World Trade Center site. According to 9/11 Memorial & Museum president Alice Greenwald and former Daily Show host Jon Stewart, the path was to be located on the southwest side of the memorial plaza, at the approximate site of a temporary ramp that first responders used during the cleanup effort. The path includes six large battered stones that, in the words of Michael Arad, "appear to jut up and out of the plaza as if violently displaced, and convey strength and resistance". Several pieces of debris from the original World Trade Center were also placed along the path. [64] [65] The glade opened on May 24, 2019. [66] [67]

The Sphere Edit

The Sphere, a monumental cast bronze sculpture by German artist Fritz Koenig, was commissioned for the old World Trade Center and completed in 1971. [68] It stood on the Austin J. Tobin Plaza until the September 11 attacks. The sculpture survived the attacks with relatively little damage. [69] It was relocated to Liberty Park, adjacent to the Memorial, in 2017. [70]

Controversies surrounding the Memorial Edit

Mohammad Salman Hamdani Edit

Although victims'-family groups agreed that names would be grouped by workplace or other affiliation, NYPD cadet Mohammad Salman Hamdani was not included with the other first responders or the other victims whose remains were found in the wreckage of the North Tower. His name appears on the memorial's panel 66 for World Trade Center victims (next to a blank space along the South Tower perimeter), with those who did not fit into the groups created by the memorial committee or who had a loose connection to the World Trade Center. Hamdani's mother, Talat, has campaigned for the Memorial to acknowledge her son as a police cadet and first responder. [71] Hamdani received a full police-department funeral after his body was found (months after the attacks), and the street on which he lived was renamed in his honor. [72]

Arabic-language brochures Edit

Although the memorial's brochures were initially translated into at least ten languages, these languages did not include Arabic. [73] The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) questioned this decision in letters to memorial directors, and ADC director of communications and advocacy Raed Jarrar said: "Our fear is that there is a political intention behind the exclusion". [73] A memorial representative told the New York Post, "As Arabic-speaking visitors currently represent our 25th-largest group, Arabic translations are not yet among the initial foreign-language editions." [73]

In 2015, the ADC made an official complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which had given hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to the September 11 Memorial through block grants to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The committee stated that the Memorial's decision to not publish Arabic-language brochures violated HUD's Limited English Proficiency rules for grantees. In December 2017, the ADC announced that the Memorial had signed a settlement agreement whereby its commemorative guide would be translated into Arabic and made available. [74]

The September 11 Museum was dedicated on May 15, 2014, [75] [76] [77] and opened to the public on May 21. [3] [78] Its collection includes more than 40,000 images, 14,000 artifacts, more than 3,500 oral recordings, and over 500 hours of video. [3]

History Edit

The underground museum has artifacts from September 11, 2001, including steel from the Twin Towers (such as the Last Column, the last piece of steel to leave Ground Zero in May 2002).

In December 2011, museum construction halted temporarily due to disputes between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum Foundation over responsibility for infrastructure costs. [79] [80] On March 13, 2012, talks on the issue began, [81] [82] and construction resumed on September 10, 2012. [83] [84] After a number of false opening reports, it was announced that the museum would open to the public on May 21, 2014. [85] [86] [87]

The museum was dedicated on May 15, 2014. [75] [76] [77] In attendance were a range of dignitaries, from President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to former mayors David Dinkins, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg and current mayor Bill de Blasio. During the hour-long ceremony LaChanze sang "Amazing Grace", which she dedicated to her husband Calvin Gooding, who was killed in the World Trade Center attack. [2] During the five days between its dedication and the public opening, over 42,000 first responders and family members of 9/11 victims visited the museum. [88]

An opening ceremony for the museum was held on May 21, [3] [78] during which twenty-four police officers and firefighters unfurled the restored 30-foot (9.1 m) national 9/11 flag before it was brought into the museum for permanent display. [89] [90] [91] The gates surrounding the museum were then taken down, marking their first removal since the attacks. [91] Opening-day tickets quickly sold out. [92] Despite the museum's design to evoke memories without additional distress, [93] counselors were available during its opening due to the large number of visitors. [88]

Design Edit

Designed by Davis Brody Bond, the museum is about 70 feet (21 m) below ground and accessible through a pavilion designed by Snøhetta. [94] The National September 11 Memorial Museum encloses 110,000 square feet (10,000 m 2 ) of publicly accessible space. [95] The pavilion has a deconstructivist design, resembling a partially collapsed building (mirroring the attacks), and houses two "tridents" from the Twin Towers. One of the museum's walls is an exposed side of the slurry wall retaining the Hudson River, which remained intact through the September 11 attacks. [96] [97] About half of what Daniel Libeskind originally wanted to preserve of the wall is visible in the museum. [98]

Other Ground Zero artifacts include wrecked emergency vehicles (including a fire engine deformed from the collapse), pieces of metal from all seven World Trade Center buildings, recordings of survivors and first responders (including 911 phone calls), pictures of all victims, photographs from the wreckage and other media detailing the destruction (including the crashes, collapse, fires, those who jumped and the cleanup). [99] The museum is designed to evoke memories without additional distress, particularly to first responders and the families of victims. [93]

The Huffington Post wrote that "walking through the museum is like being transported back to the turmoil, destruction and anguish of 9/11. Exhibits express the disbelief and heartache of New York and the nation." [100]

Controversies surrounding the Museum Edit

Little Syria Edit

A neighborhood that was once called Little Syria, a center of Christian Arab immigrant life in the United States beginning in the 1880s, once existed just south of the site of the World Trade Center. [101] [102] The cornerstone of St. Joseph's Lebanese Maronite Church was found under the rubble, next to St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at 157 Cedar Street, both congregations were founded by Christians who had fled Ottoman oppression in the Middle East. [101] Activists lobbied for the Museum to include a permanent exhibit about the neighborhood to "help the thousands of tourists who visit the site to understand that immigrants from Ottoman lands have played a patriotic role in the country's history," [103] [104] arguing that it was important to memorialize the multiethnic character of "Little Syria." [105] The old Christian Syrian neighborhood was demolished in the 1940s due to the construction of the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel. [101]

Museum operation Edit

General admission tickets to the museum are $24, a price which has raised concerns. Michael Bloomberg agreed, encouraging people to "write your congressman" for more federal funding. [106] [107] [108]

When the museum opened to victim families and first responders on May 15, 2014, anger by some that it was profiting from souvenirs considered in poor taste was widely covered. [109] [110] [111] [112] [113] [114] Souvenir proceeds would fund the museum and memorial. [115] [116] On May 29, 2014, a U.S.-shaped cheese platter was among items removed for sale, and it was announced that all items sold would be reviewed by victim families for suitability. [117]

Families were further angered after a May 20, 2014 black-tie, VIP cocktail party for donors at the museum. Among the 60 attendees were former mayor Michael Bloomberg and representatives of Condé Nast. Family members objected to a party near unidentified remains the sister of victim Robert Shay, Jr. tweeted, "Did you enjoy having drinks on top of my brother's grave last night?" Shay and dozens of other visitors were angered that first responders were turned away from the museum the previous day while staff prepared for the party. She said, "I am outraged that I can't visit my brother's final resting place without an appointment but people like Mike Bloomberg can wine and dine there whenever they want. This memorial and museum is sacred ground and last night it was desecrated." A retired FDNY fire marshal said, "You don't have cocktail parties at a cemetery." [116] [118] [119] A mid-2014 proposal to open a Danny Meyer cafe in the museum's atrium was criticized. [120] [121] [122]

Placement of unidentified remains Edit

In an early-morning ceremony on May 10, 2014, the long-unidentified remains of 1,115 victims were transferred from the city medical examiner to Ground Zero, where they would be placed in a space in the bedrock 70 feet (21 m) below ground as part of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Reaction from the victims' families to the move was divided, with some supporting the decision and others calling the location inappropriate. Among the latter was FDNY Lt. James McCaffrey, the brother-in-law of 9/11 victim and firefighter Orio Palmer, who called a ground-level tomb a more dignified location: "The decision to put the human remains of the 9/11 dead in this basement is inherently disrespectful and totally offensive." McCaffrey said that the remains deserved a prominence equal to that of the Memorial's trees and pools, and that the ceremony was held early in the morning because of opposition to the decision. [123]

Two centers were proposed and withdrawn from the World Trade Center Memorial plan in 2005:

  • The International Freedom Center – a think tank intended to draw attention to battles for freedom throughout history. World Trade Center Memorial Foundation member Deborah Burlingame wrote in The Wall Street Journal that the center would have a mission with no direct connection to the events of September 11 and might criticize American policy. [124] Right-wing blogs and commentators heavily criticized the center until Governor George Pataki withdrew support for it. [125]
  • The Drawing Center Art Gallery at the World Trade Center – an art gallery that was in SoHo at the time.

Plans called for the Freedom Center to share space with the Drawing Center in a building known as the Cultural Center. Of the dispute over the proposed centers, one New York Times editorial stated not only that the IFC's opponents make trivial and unconvincing suggestions that both the IFC and the "cultural component" of architect Daniel Libeskind's plans would somehow diminish the scope of the Memorial Museum, but also that the proposal for reducing the size of one of the centers had failed to consider the emotional impact of the space. [126]

North Pool with construction of One World Trade Center, September 2011

South Pool with construction of the museum, April 2012. Tower 3, Tower 4, and Tower 7 are in the background.

Remnant of the original Slurry Wall in the Bathtub at the museum

White rose at the memorial

North Pool at night panel N-76, showing the name of
Berry Berenson

South Pool at night panel S-66, showing the name of Bill Biggart

South Pool panel S-29, paying tribute to the Jersey City Fire Department

South Pool at night panel S-17, showing the name of Peter J. Ganci, Jr.

South Pool panel S-68, showing the name of Todd Beamer

South Pool panel S-67, showing the name of Mark Bingham

South Pool panel S-67, showing the name of Jeremy Glick

South Pool panel S-68, showing the name of Tom Burnett

North Pool panel N-73, with the names of the victims of the 1993 bombing

In addition to the one at Ground Zero, a number of other memorials have been built by communities across the United States. Many are built around remnants of steel from the Twin Towers which have been donated by a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey program over 1,000 pieces of World Trade Center steel have been distributed. [127]

Watch the video: 911 Remembrance and Survivor Tree Planting Ceremony