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Building the Memorial

By Nathan Kahn | null null , null

Nathan Kahn and Joe Daniels
Student Reporter Nathan Kahn and Joe Daniels, acting president of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation. (Photo: Genet Berhane)

September 8, 2006

I recently sat down with Joe Daniels, the acting president of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation. We talked about construction on the memorial and the Foundation’s plan to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Daniels remembers exactly where he was on September 11, 2001. He witnessed the destruction firsthand. Daniels was coming out of the subway between the two towers when he saw the second plane hit.

When Daniels was invited to work with the Foundation in June of 2005, he readily agreed. The disaster had had a great impact on him. “When I had the opportunity to work on this project, it was something I couldn’t pass up,” he said.

Reflecting Absence

Today, visitors to Ground Zero can see construction crews hard at work on the foundation of a memorial honoring the victims of 9/11.

“The purpose of the memorial is for people to come and remember those who were killed on that day,” said Daniels. “I think it will offer a very peaceful place for people to reflect on those that are lost.”

The design chosen for the memorial, “Reflecting Absence,” was selected out of 5,200 submissions in the largest design competition in history. Michael Arad and Peter Walker produced the winning design.

“[It] is essentially two very large voids, representing the twin space of the twin towers,” explained Daniels, “with 1,400 feet of falling water representing the absence of the buildings, the absence of the people.”

Daniels encourages people to become involved with the Foundation. Anyone who wants to make a donation to the memorial and the museum can do so on the Foundation’s Web site. The group still needs to raise $170 million to reach their goal of $300 million. Daniels also described a forum on the site, where people can share their stories and tributes in an online memorial.

Nathan Kahn looks at photo from 9/11
Student Reporter Nathan Kahn visits the photo exhibition commemorating the fifth anniversary of 9/11. (Photo: Genet Berhane)

The Fifth Anniversary

One of the ways that the Foundation is marking the fifth anniversary of 9/11 is with a photo exhibition at the construction site. Visitors to Ground Zero can walk along the fence viewing photos taken on the day of the attacks. The exhibition features both amateur and professional pictures taken during the events and aftermath of 9/11.

“We want to be able to offer the public that comes here from around the country and around the world every day, a way to learn about 9/11,” said Daniels. “We think this very public exhibition goes a long way in doing that.”

After the interview, I took a look at the photo exhibit. The pictures covered everything—from people running away from clouds of dust to adults crying on the front steps of buildings. The pictures were amazing, a really vivid reminder of the day. But what really impressed me was that, after five years, there are still people who come from all over the world to remember this great tragedy and pay their respects.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001. A group called myGoodDeed.org is encouraging people to remember 9/11 by doing a good deed.

How will you remember 9/11?

Join the discussion.



About the Author

Nathan Kahn is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

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