September 11 memorial at World Trade Center opens to public

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 12, 2011 5:08 PM
September 11 memorial at World Trade Center opens to public

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Thousands of people visited the National September 11th Memorial at the site of the World Trade Center that was opened to the public for the first time on Monday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg greeted the first visitors to the memorial, a tribute to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the 1993 Trade Center bombing.

The victims' names are inscribed into bronze panels that surround the edges of two acre-sized memorial pools that fill the so-called footprints of the fallen twin towers.

"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," Bloomberg said in a statement.

Tickets are free but reservations are required to enter the tightly secured site, and officials said the memorial was booked to capacity for the rest of the week.

Some 7,000 visitors were expected to visit on Monday, and hundreds of people who showed up without reservations were turned away.

"Many were in town for 9/11 and weren't aware that they had to make reservations," said memorial spokeswoman Sarah Lippman.

Thousands of victims' family members saw the memorial for the first time on Sunday at a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the day the hijacked planes struck the twin towers and the Pentagon and crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The name of every person killed in al Qaeda's attacks was read in the nearly five-hour-long event.

Lippman said cancellations, especially by victims' family members who visited on Sunday, were likely.

(Reporting by Paula Rogo; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Greg McCune)