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9/11 Memorial Celebrates One Million Visitors

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The September 11th memorial is celebrating a huge milestone today.

One million visitors have paid their respects at the site.

More than 9,000 people have visited the site each day.

"More visitors than ever before--50.2 million--came to New York City in 2011," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "And this year, one million of them were able to add a visit to the 9/11 Memorial to their trip, commemorating the lives of those lost on that unforgettable day. The Memorial is now a part of the fabric of lower Manhattan, and its one million visitors have helped the neighborhood reemerge as a vibrant and bustling part of our great city."

1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg reports


"People want to come visit and it appears, so far, that even the cold weather won't keep them away and as we go into the new year we're just going to see those numbers grow," memorial president Joe Daniels said.

It took a decade for families of those who died on 9/11/01 to have a place to go to mourn their loss. Finally, back in September, on the 10 year anniversary of the terrible attacks at Ground Zero, the memorial opened.

The memorial includes reflecting pools and slabs with the names of those who died etched in marble. Visitors have left tributes at the site including flowers, first responder patches, mass cards and letters.

The opening of the memorial was an emotional experience for 9/11 Memorial Board Member Anthoula Katsimatides. She lost her older brother John in the attacks.

"I feel overwhelmed with hope and inspiration. There is life after death. There is a renewal that has to occur. It is occuring," Katsimatides told CBS 2 the day after the memorial opened.

WCBS 880's Peter Haskell On The Story


Some of the most recent visitors were players on the Rutgers and Iowa State football teams, who are in the city getting ready for the pinstripe bowl at Yankee Stadium on Friday.

"Stuff like this, you wish didn't happen, you have to reflect on," said Edmond Laryea. "Hopefully people will heal and be able to move on from this."

LINK: Make Your Reservation

In order to attend the memorial, you had to book a reservation to get in. Back in November, the memorial disclosed more than 30 percent of those who had scheduled a visit had failed to show up.

The issue with restricting the number of visitors to the site has to do with security. There's concern the memorial itself may become a terrorist target.

Security at the memorial has been doing its job, according to a report. The New York Post reports a Tennessee tourist named Meredith Graves apparently forgot she was carrying a .32-caliber pistol in her purse when she was trying to enter the memorial. She reportedly asked an officer where she could check the gun.

She was arrested.

Graves reportedly has a permit to carry the pistol in Tennessee, but faces a weapons possession charge here. If she's convicted, she could face a minimum of 3 and 1/2 years in prison.

What's your reaction to a million people having visited the memorial since it opened? Sound off in the comments section below.

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