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What Is the Ground Zero Memorial?

Ground Zero is where the World Trade Center buildings once stood.
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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 19 March 2014
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The Ground Zero Memorial is a tribute to all of the people who died in the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C. and in the skies over Pennsylvania in the US on 11 September 2001. The Ground Zero Memorial, often referred to as the 9/11 Memorial, depicts all of those killed in the attacks on bronze name plates surrounding a pool of water. The names of the victims are arranged in the groups that the people belonged to and perished with in the attacks. Intended to hold the memory of the victims in people's minds, the Ground Zero Memorial offers a somber reminder of a violent attack that killed nearly 3,000 men, women and children.

Meant to provide visitors and survivors a place of remembrance, the Ground Zero Memorial is located at the ground level of the attacks in New York City. The location also has special significance for families of loved ones whose bodies were never recovered after the towers collapsed. Even though the memorial is in New York, the attacks, orchestrated by then Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his followers, involved four airplanes in three states.

The perpetrators flew two of the planes into New York City's World Trade Center buildings in the morning hours of 11 September. Another plane flying over a Pennsylvania field dove to the ground when passengers attempted to overtake the hijackers. The other plane crashed into the Pentagon in the country's capitol.

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At the Ground Zero Memorial, the names of the victims are positioned on parapets that surround two square pools that occupy space where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood. Water flows down the inside walls of the square pools. This is meant to symbolize never-ending tears for the victims.

As a tribute, the Ground Zero Memorial pays homage to the men and women of the New York City fire department, Port Authority and police departments who rushed into the burning and collapsing buildings as others attempted to rush out. The names of the fallen men and women are positioned around the parapets, in bronze plaques, in groups formed from the battalion or department in which they served. The aim is to give the survivors and families of the fallen a place to honor their friends and loved ones.

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