The memorial built to commemorate the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City remains on-schedule for dedication just shy of two weeks from now, despite Hurricane Irene's impact on the East Coast. Prior to the storm, the memorial site's location in lower Manhattan was pinpointed as a likely target for flooding and the area was evacuated.
The site fared well and Joseph Daniels, president and CEO of the memorial foundation, told the New York Observer that if anything, Irene may have actually helped planners prepare for the dedication, which falls on the 10-year anniversary of the attacks.
“The plaza looks great,” Daniels said. “All the preparations we did in preparing for the storm actually helped prepare us for the opening, like removing excess equipment and temporary fencing that had been surrounding the pools.”
The memorial consists of newly planted 225 White Swamp Oak trees, thousands of granite cobblestones and two massive waterfalls — called "Reflecting Absence" — in the footprint of where the Twin Towers once stood. An underground museum containing artifacts and relics related to the tragedies will open next year at the site.
Equipment was removed and trees were pruned ahead of schedule in attempts to minimize storm damage. Some leaves and branches were lost and there was minor leaking into the museum, but overall, all is well with the memorial.
"It looks good," Daniels said. “The memorial site is intact. All the trees are still upright and intact, including the one we were most concerned about, the Survivor Tree.”
"We’re in great shape, actually.”
Artist's rendering of completed memorial site via Wikimedia Commons