Now Open to Public: 9/11 Memorial Plaza
But you'll need an advance pass to enter
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 12, 2011 7:49 AM CDT
A worker polishes a bronze plaque inscribed with the names of the victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, at the National September 11 Memorial, Monday, Sept. 12, 2011, in New York.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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(Newser) – Ten years after the tragedy, the 9/11 memorial is finally opening to the public today. At 10am, several thousand people will be welcomed through the gates onto an eight-acre plaza studded by white oak trees and a pair of reflecting pools, nearly an acre in size, that stand where the Twin Towers once stood. North America's largest man-made waterfalls pour over their granite walls, and visitors can touch the names of the fallen, including those killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, that are etched in bronze and ring the two pools, the AP reports.

Security remains tight: To enter the site visitors need advance passes, which specify an assigned time. And they’ll have to follow an airport-like security process to reach the memorial. Some portions are not yet ready, including a museum pavilion and underground area that won’t open until next year. Meanwhile, the Freedom Tower and World Trade Center 4 remain unfinished. But for the family of a victim whose remains were never recovered, the memorial “gives us a place to honor her,” notes a cousin. (Click to read 9 things you might not know about 9/11.)