Today, for the first time, the National September 11 Memorial will open its gates to the public and show the nation what millions have waited a decade to see: The final resting place for the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks.
The memorial officially opened yesterday at the Sept. 11 ceremony, but only family members of those who perished in the attacks were allowed in.
Today the memorial opens, but only to those visitors who have reserved passes in advance. Sign up began back in July for the more than 1,000 visitors expected to stream into the site daily.
Along the memorial walls yesterday, which are inscribed with the names of those killed, some family members touched their relatives’ names and left flowers by the etched letters. Many rubbed over the names with white paper and pencil.
One family member spoke privately to Metro about her satisfaction at finally seeing the long-awaited memorial completed.
“We were finally able to have a little bit of rest because we saw her name at the waterfall and they never had found her. So it was something for us to go on,” said Andrea Villa, a Long Island resident whose husband’s sister, Sharon Villa, died in the 9/11 attacks. Sharon Villa is one of the nearly 1,000 9/11 victims whose remains were never recovered.
The National September 11 Museum, which is located on the memorial, is slated to open in one year, in September 2012.