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Family members of the victims entered the 9/11 Memorial Plaza for the first time today. (Getty Images)

At Ground Zero, Families Are Exploring The New Quiet Space

by Brendan Banaszak
Sep 11, 2011

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Brendan Banaszak

(As we continue covering the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, NPR's Brendan Banaszak tells us that at Ground Zero, families of those killed there are already turning the new memorial into a quiet place of remembrance.)

Today, the 9/11 Memorial is open for the first time to the families of the Sept. 11 victims. Monday, the memorial opens to the public (free, advance tickets required). And while the site is a memorial to the people who died here, it will also serve as green space for New Yorkers — a park with benches, grass, and trees in contrast to the buildings of steel, glass, and concrete that surround it.

Those in attendance for the 10th anniversary ceremony are already using the memorial for both purposes.

While families are remembering their loved ones through the reading of names, it is also a weekend in New York. And after families have memorialized their loved ones, they are stepping away from the two huge, black fountains where the twin towers once stood and enjoying the other aspects of the memorials. People are relaxing on the benches. Children are running around the trees. Families are sitting on the grass, enjoying a snack.

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