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Where And How To Commemorate 9/11

By Jessica Allen

Sixteen years ago, the nation experienced a devastating tragedy, with lingering trauma and devastation. On September 11, the city will come together at various ceremonies and memorials, giving participants the chance to grieve, to mourn, to contemplate, to remember and to heal.

9/11 Memorial
180 Greenwich St.
New York, NY 10006
(212) 312-8800

There is perhaps no better place to seek solace on the 16th anniversary than the 9/11 Memorial. The two largest waterfalls in North America cascade into two memorial pools, where the Twin Towers once sat; the effect is simultaneously immensely powerful and utterly calming. Inscribed in bronze around the reflecting pools are the names of every single person who died on February 26, 1993, and September 11, 2001. The plaza also features 400 trees, including the so-called Survivor Tree, a callery pear tree that somehow made it through the attacks. It's thriving today. Open daily 7:30 am to 9 pm, free.   

St. George Esplanade
Bank Street
Staten Island, NY 10301

Staten Island's memorial to the more than 270 Staten Island residents killed on September 11th and in the 1993 WTC bombing is known as Postcards. Architect Masayuki Sono specially designed the memorial's two white wings to resemble huge postcards, floating up to the borough's lost loved ones and honoring their memories. Inside the wings are granite plaques bearing the victim's name, birth date and place of work, as well as his/her silhouette. The wings themselves perfectly frame Lower Manhattan, where the towers stood. Open daily, 24 hours, free.  

September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance 
Various venues
New York, NY

In 2009, Congress dedicated September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance, a bipartisan attempt to transform a dark time into a chance to heal, help and sow seeds of optimism in communities around the United States. Opportunities abound for giving back in the New York area, from reorganizing a library in an underserved neighborhood in Brooklyn to weeding and composting in a garden in Harlem to packing and delivering meals to the homeless around the city. Saturday, September 9, through Monday, September 11, see schedule for details and registration info.    

NYFD Memorial Service
New York City Fire Museum
278 Spring St.
New York, NY, 10013
(212) 691-1303

The New York City Fire Department Museum has a permanent exhibit dedicated to the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11, including photos of the fallen, tools and other items recovered from Ground Zero, and a timeline chronicling the events of that terrible day. On the 16th anniversary, the museum will be open free of charge (from 10 am to 5 pm), with a special memorial service taking place and appearances by the FD Color Guard, Captain, Chaplain, Chief of the Department, and others. Monday, September 11, memorial service begins at 11 am, free.   

Calling of the Names Ceremony
St. Paul's Churchyard
209 Broadway
New York, NY 10007
(212) 602-0800

In the aftermath of the September 11th, St. Paul's Church was transformed into a sanctuary and refuge, especially for the first responders and volunteers who worked around the clock at the World Trade Center site. Although the church is located across the street, it was miraculously unscathed by the attacks. At the second annual Calling of the Names Ceremony, the names of every deceased 9/11 responder, rescue and recovery worker, and volunteer will be read aloud, regardless of whether that person's death was related to 9/11. Monday, September 11, ceremony begins at 4 pm, free.

Tribute in Light
Various venues
New York, NY

One of the most poignant and meaningful of all the ceremonies taking place on September 11 is the annual Tribute of Light. Comprised of 88 searchlights that form two light beams, this art installation echoes the Twin Towers, serving as a powerful reminder of what was destroyed. The tribute extends four miles into the night sky and is visible for a 60-mile radius around Lower Manhattan. Among the best spots for viewing it are the 9/11 Memorial Museum, Union Square Park and Gantry State Park. Monday, September 11, lights on go on at dusk and last until dawn.

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