Entries in 9/11 Memorial (8)


9/11 Memorial Offers Quiet Amid New York Chaos, Designer Says

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Michael Arad, the architect behind the 9/11 memorial that opened a year ago this week, wanted to create a space for quiet reflection on those who died in the attacks in the midst of the chaos of New York City.

Arad’s design, called Reflecting Absence, beat out 5,000 submitted proposals to become the memorial tribute at the site of the attacks that killed nearly 2,700 people.  The site has now been visited by 4.5 million people.

“I wanted to capture that and create a place that allowed  people to come together to reflect on what happened here, not alone but as a community in a public space where people gather and congregate,” Arad told ABC News.

Arad, a native of Israel who was raised in the United Kingdom, the United States and Mexico, had only lived in New York for 2.5 years when the north and south towers of the World Trade Center complex were attacked.

“It changed who I am,” he said.  “I became a New Yorker because of what happened here.”

Reflecting Absence, which was chosen as the winning design in January 2004, consists of a plaza containing waterfalls above reflecting pools where the original north and south towers stood.  The names of all those killed on Sept. 11, 2001, and in the earlier World Trade Center attack on Feb. 26, 1993, are inscribed on bronze parapets surrounding the waterfalls.

In arranging the names, Arad and his team queried close to 3,000 families, and received more than 1,200 requests asking that certain names of people that knew each other be placed next to or near one another.

“[The names] are arranged according to what I call a system of meaningful adjacency.  When you walk up to these panels, you don’t see the order but, in fact, they are very carefully organized,” he said.

The “survivor tree” -- a callery pear saved from the rubble of the fallen World Trade Center towers -- is also featured prominently in the memorial.  After it was salvaged from Ground Zero, the tree was sent to a Bronx nursery, where it was not expected to survive.  But it survived an uprooting and now stands 30 feet tall.  It has come to symbolize hope and rebirth.

“There was just something incredibly beautiful about that story of its survival,” Arad said.

Arad’s ultimate goal with the memorial’s centerpiece of waterfalls, which flow into the voids left by the original towers, was to create a place where visitors can experience the magnitude of the voids.

“I wanted to know: Could I bring that idea of emptiness, this continuous presence, and making absence present and visible, and tangible to the site?” he said.  “And that’s really what these spaces are about -- making what is no longer here, here for all of us as we stand around the voids.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Garbage-Throwing Incident at 9/11 Memorial Outrages New Yorkers

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New Yorkers are outraged over a report that kids from Brooklyn's Junior High School 292 got so bored during a visit to the 9/11 Museum and Memorial at the site where the World Trade Center towers were brought down by terrorists that they tossed baseballs and empty soda bottles into the reflecting pools.

One student tried to justify the action of classmates by saying, "No one was disrespecting.  It wasn’t nothing like that.  No one was being serious.  Everyone was kind of bored and it was just something to do."

Whatever the explanation, a teacher from Junior High School 292 called the incident "a total disgrace."

The Department of Education has promised to look into the alleged incidents.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


9/11 Museum Funding Held Up by One Senator

David Handschuh-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- There’s a controversy brewing in the halls of Congress, pitting budget hawk Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., against two New York senators and touching on a politically and emotionally sensitive subject.

Coburn is singlehandedly holding up federal funding for the 9/11 memorial museum at Ground Zero.

Legislation before the Senate calls for $20 million a year, $200 million total over the next 10 years in federal funding for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero.

Coburn is calling for equivalent cuts to be made to pay for the added government spending on the project.

In a letter sent to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Wednesday, Coburn says that while the “merits” of the museum project are not in question, he has “concerns” about the legislation.

“This legislation authorizes at least $200 million over the next 10 years for the effort, but does not include any provisions to pay for these potential costs, adding to our more than $15 trillion debt,” Coburn wrote.

Coburn’s office said the dispute could be solved “in minutes” if the sponsors would just look for areas of waste and duplication in the general government already identified by the Government Accountability Office.

“Coburn believes we can best honor the heroism and sacrifices of 9/11 by making hard choices and reducing spending on less-vital priorities, rather than borrowing money,” Coburn spokesman John Hart told ABC News Wednesday. “Finding $20 million in savings is the least we can do to demonstrate that Congress also understands the value of service and sacrifice.”

Even better would be if members of Congress could encourage the effort to fund the project using local sources, or -- as is the case with the Oklahoma City bombing memorial -- private sources, Coburn’s office said.  

His office noted that the 9/11 museum is “already receiving generous private support from hundreds of patriotic Americans, businesses and corporations across the country,” so it shouldn’t need the extra federal money.

Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, two of the co-sponsors of the bill, on Wednesday responded in anger to the lone senator standing in the way of government funding for the museum.

Schumer said the project needs to be funded with some federal money in substance and for the sake of symbolism.

"This is sacred ground not only to New Yorkers but to Americans, and to have the memorial, the museum, in as good a way as possible not limited by lack of funding makes eminent sense,” Schumer told reporters Wednesday. “Clearly, if you talk to [New York] Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg and others, and there’s been very generous support from the private sector, there is not enough money to keep, to have the memorial function in the way it should.”

Schumer and Gillibrand plan to sit down with Coburn “soon” to discuss his concerns.

“We hope that Sen. Coburn will relent,” Schumer said.

Coburn, in his letter Wednesday, demanded a “full accounting of previously awarded federal funding” for the museum, as well as a “detailed breakdown of the project with itemized cost estimates.”

“It is, after all, our obligation as stewards of the treasury to scrutinize for taxpayers how every penny we spend is put to use,” Coburn wrote, “even for the best intentioned projects.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


9/11 Victim's Name Spelled Wrong on Memorial

David Handschuh-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Family members of a 9/11 victim found a painful tribute to their loved one at the new 9/11 memorial Sunday: the victim’s name was spelled wrong.

Jeffrey Schreier, who worked as a mail clerk at Cantor Fitzgerald, was included in the bronze-etched memorial at the World Trade Center site as “Jeffery Schreier,” with the “e” and the “r” in his first name reversed.

Michael Frazier, spokesman for the 9/11 memorial, said the mistake would be fixed within days.

“We regret an error was made by reversing two letters in Jeffrey H. Schreier’s name while entering it into our verification database, and we are extremely sorry for the pain this mistake has caused Jeffrey’s family,” Frazier wrote in an email. “As soon as we found out about this error we began working on how to make it right and we’re engaged with our fabricators, contractors and the architect to do so,” Frazier said in a statement.

There was no definite time frame or cost estimate for the fix at this time, he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


9/11 Remembered: 'Nothing Can Break Will of USA'

David Handschuh-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama closed a day of tributes and memorials with a paean to the resilience of the American people in the decade following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, saying that "nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America."

Obama spoke of the men and women who have chosen to sign up for military service in the last decade, saying that too many of them "will never come home" from tours abroad.

"Our strength is not measured in our ability to stay in these places; it comes from our commitment to leave those lands to free people and sovereign states, and our desire to move from a decade of war to a future of peace," he said in his speech at the Concert for Hope in Washington D.C. Sunday evening.

Obama made it clear that the character of the United States has not changed since 9/11.

"These past 10 years underscore the bonds between all Americans.  We have not succumbed to suspicion and mistrust.  After 9/11, President Bush made clear what we reaffirm today: the United States will never wage war against Islam or any religion," he said, reaffirming the phrase on the Seal of the United States: e pluribus unum -- out of many, we are one.

"The determination to move forward as one people" will be the legacy of 9/11.  "It will be said of us that we kept that faith; that we took a painful blow, and emerged stronger," Obama said.

The president's speech came at the end of a day when families, rescue workers and politicians gathered amid a mix of tears, applause and patriotic cheers of "U-S-A" at 9/11 memorials in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks brought special ceremonies at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the planes crashed.

Obama laid a wreath of white flowers outside the Pentagon as a brass quintet played "Amazing Grace" Sunday afternoon, before he and first lady Michelle Obama spoke with family members of victims.

Earlier, Obama read a Psalm at the morning ceremony at the World Trade Center, and then arrived to applause and chants of "U-S-A, U-S-A" at a wreath-laying ceremony in Shanksville at noon, where he and the first lady shook hands and spoke with many members of the crowd gathered there.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


America Marks 10th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks at Ground Zero

Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The flag that survived the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center and was raised at ground zero in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, returned to the site Sunday, unfurled by New York police officers and firefighters at the start of the 10-year anniversary memorial ceremony.

President Obama and former President George W. Bush, seated with their wives behind a glass shield at the site, watched as bagpipers led the first responders and families of victims into the site and a chorus sang the national anthem.

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg opened the ceremony with the first city-wide moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. to commemorate the moment when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the north tower.  Obama then read from Psalm 46, which starts, "God is our refuge and strength."

The ceremony will be punctuated by six moments of silence in all, one for each of the moments when the four planes crashed, and one for the moments when each of the towers fell.

Family members of the more than 3,000 people killed in the attacks stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the crowded memorial plaza, wearing T-shirts emblazoned with loved ones' faces and names, after making their way back Sunday morning to the site where the twin towers once stood.

They joined firefighters, police officers and emergency workers at the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan on Sunday for the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11.  The annual ceremony, in which the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks are read aloud, took place for the first time at the newly completed memorial plaza, with two fountains in place of where the two towers once stood.

Six moments of silence were held in all, one for each of the moments when the four planes crashed, and one for the moments when each of the towers fell.

The moment of silence recognizing when the second plane -- United Flight 175 -- hit the south tower was followed by cheers erupting for Bush as he read from a letter Abraham Lincoln wrote, quoting, "The solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom."

The ceremony also included performances by Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor and Paul Simon.

Police and security presence at the memorial and throughout Lower Manhattan remained significant; police dogs and armed guards were present throughout the ceremony.  New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told ABC News that there was no new information on a terror plot, but "no reason to lessen our alert status."

Sunday's ceremony will conclude at around 1 p.m. with three trumpeters, one each from the New York Police Department, the Fire Department of New York, and the Port Authority Police Department, playing taps.

After the ceremony, Obama will attend memorials in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon in Washington.  He will also attend a Concert for Hope at the Kennedy Center in D.C. Sunday night, where he will deliver a 15-minute speech on the attacks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Events Planned in NYC, DC, Pennsylvania for 9/11 Anniversary

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- There will be numerous events around the nation Sunday to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the crash of United Flight 93 in a field in western Pennsylvania.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will attend the tributes to honor the dead in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., though -- for security reasons -- the exact times of their appearances have not been made public.

In New York City, the observances at the World Trade Center site will begin with a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. -- the time the first plane hit the north tower.  There will be three other moments of silence to commemorate the time the second plane hit the south tower and the times each tower fell.

With families of the WTC victims invited to the event, the National 9/11 Memorial will also be dedicated on Sunday and opened to the public the following day.  The signature features of the 9/11 Memorial are the 2,983 names of the dead etched into bronze panels and two waterfalls cascading down into twin reflecting pools within the footprints of the towers.

At sunset, the skies will be lit up with the “Tribute in Light” -- 44 7,000-watt xenon light bulbs that will form two 48-foot squares to resemble the shape and orientation of the towers.  The “Tribute in Light” will be visible from 30 miles away.

President Obama plans to visit Shanksville on Sunday for the ceremony to honor the passengers of United Flight 93, who died while preventing the hijackers from flying the plane into either the Capitol or the White House.  The day before, Vice President Joe Biden will help dedicate a memorial for the victims at the site of the crash.

The president, who will also attend a ceremony at the Pentagon, will conclude the day’s events by attending an interfaith prayer service and delivering remarks at the Washington National Cathedral.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


9/11, Remembrance and Renewal: The New Ground Zero

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Ten years after it became known as Ground Zero, the 16-acre World Trade Center site shows signs of life instead of death.

“There are oak trees, swamp white oak trees,” describes Lynn Rasic, the senior vice president of the 9/11 Memorial.

Hundreds of them, in fact, including one known as the "Survivor Tree," which, Rasic says, "was located on the World Trade Center on 9/11."  The tree stands as a symbol of hope and renewal at the center of the new 9/11 Memorial.

The site also features two waterfalls, positioned around the original footprints of the Twin Towers, that flow into pools around which are etched the names of the nearly 3,000 people who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

“They are based off of groupings, largely determined by where people worked, when they died and who they were with,” Rasic says, explaining how the victims' names are categorized. 

She says the waterfalls also can also capture rainbows as the sun shines through them.

The 9/11 Memorial will open on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, while the main skyscraper -- One World Trade Center -- nears completion. 

“The building was so laden with emotion, but in the end there is sort of no right way to remember what happened, but we have an obligation to remember,” Rasic says.

One World Trade Center is expected to be completed in 2013.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio