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9/11 Memorial in NYC opens to public


10:13, September 13, 2011

The 9/11 Memorial in New York, the United States, attracts a huge crowds, on Sept. 12, 2011. This is the first day 9/11 Memorial opening to the public. Visitors have to reserve the pass online. (Xinhua/Fan Xia)

NEW YORK, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- The National September 11 Memorial in New York City opened to the public on Monday, marking the first time in 10 years that the public was able to step inside the World Trade Center after the terrorist attacks in 2001.

The tree-filled memorial, located in the footprints of the former World Trade Center, is centered around two acre-sized reflecting pools. Waterfalls cascade down into the pools, and the names of those who died in the attacks are inscribed on the bronze panels that surround them.

City officials, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and many of those who helped create the memorial were at the site to welcome the first visitors. "New Yorkers, Americans and people around the world now have a beautiful, dignified place to pay tribute to the memory of the 2, 983 men, women and children we lost in the tragic attacks of 9/11, " said Bloomberg at the opening ceremony.

As visitors walked along the lane and traced their fingers over the names of the victims, they were deeply moved. Many visitors made pencil-and-paper rubbings of the names to take back home. Some left flowers or stuffed messages into the letters.

"When we walked in, those images were popping in my head from 10 years ago," said Laura Pajar of Las Vegas. "But when I saw the memorial, all of that went away. This is so peaceful, and you kind of forget about what happened and you look toward the future."

The site was opened on Sunday -- the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks -- to the 9/11 families. About 7,000 people registered online for free tickets to visit on opening day, and 400,000 are signed up for the coming months, according to the memorial.

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