9/11: Fifteen Years On

World Trade Center

Published Sep 9, 2016 6:16 PM by The Maritime Executive

On September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida attacked the World Trade Center in New York City and the U.S. Pentagon in Washington D.C. These horrific events were documented as they unfolded and are the most watched tragedies in history. The heroism displayed by New York Fire Department (NYFD) and the New York Police Department (NYPD) responders, many who lost their own lives, is considered the ultimate in courage.

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum and the 9/11 Memorial Museum commemorates the September 11, 2001, attacks, which killed 2,977 people, and the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, which killed six. The memorial is located at the World Trade Center site, the former location of the Twin Towers, which were destroyed during the September 11 attacks. It is operated by a non-profit corporation whose mission is to raise funds for, program, own and operate the memorial and museum at the World Trade Center site.

A memorial was planned in the immediate aftermath of the attacks and destruction of the World Trade Center for the victims including those involved in rescue operations. The winner of the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition was Israeli architect Michael Arad of Handel Architects, a New York- and San Francisco-based firm. Arad worked with landscape-architecture firm Peter Walker and Partners on the design, a forest of trees with two square pools in the center where the Twin Towers stood. 

In August 2006, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey began heavy construction on the memorial and museum. The design is consistent with the original Daniel Libeskind master plan, which called for the memorial to be 30 feet (9.1 meters) below street level, originally 70 feet (21 meters), in a plaza, and was the only finalist to disregard Libeskind's requirement that the buildings overhang the footprints of the Twin Towers. The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation was renamed the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in 2007.

On September 11, 2011, a dedication ceremony commemorating the tenth anniversary of the attacks was held at the memorial. It opened to the public the following day; the museum was dedicated on May 15, 2014, and opened on May 21.