The defining moment of America's last decade is burned into our collective imaginations: the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when New York's World Trade Center crashed to the ground. Ten years later, in the spot where the Twin Towers fell, a memorial to all those lost that day (including at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Penn.), as well as those killed in the 1993 bombing, was unveiled in a solemn ceremony.
At the 9/11 Memorial (which can be visited without tickets or reservations, free of charge, as of May 2014) you will certainly be moved. Taking up eight acres of the World Trade Center grounds, the site features the names of the 2,983 people who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, and Feb. 26, 1993, etched in bronze.
On the 9/11 Memorial & Museum website is a search bar where visitors can type in a name, flight number or affiliation to find a particular name and learn where it is etched around the north and south pools. These reflecting pools, each an acre in size and accompanied by waterfalls, are another highlight of the memorial, standing where the Twin Towers once resided. Hundreds of trees also shade the plaza.
The highly anticipated 9/11 Museum also opened in May 2014 with a mission to "bear solemn witness to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and Feb. 26, 1993.” Encompassing 110,000 square feet, exhibits range from original artifacts and emotional stories of the people who lost their lives to multimedia displays. Visitors can walk down the very staircase used by workers to escape the fire on 9/11, read touching messages of remembrance, hear voicemail messages left by the victims to loved ones and more. Just make sure to bring tissues, as you’ll undoubtedly leave with a heavy heart.
While admission to the 9/11 Memorial is free, tickets to the 9/11 Museum are $24 for adults; $18 for seniors ages 65 and up, U.S. veterans and U.S. college students; $15 for youth ages 7 to 17; and free to 9/11 family members, rescue and recovery workers and museum members.