What to Do Before and When Visiting the 9/11 Memorial

As we commemorate the now 12 years that have passed since 9/11, I wanted to share my tips for visiting the key signature reminder of that day: the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City. Or, also known as the 9/11 Memorial.

In reflecting on today, I wanted to share my experience in visiting this significant place two years ago, and what you should expect and do if you want to come here.

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Completed a decade after the terrorist attacks impacted countless lives, and changed the physical scope of Lower Manhattan, the 9/11 Memorial can be viewed publicly by time-reserved reservations. I was fortunate enough to obtain a visitor’s pass online about a month after the memorial’s opening in 2011. In early October, I headed downtown with my printed ticket, getting off at the Fulton Street subway stop and making my way to the monument.

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The 9/11 Memorial was designed to remember the names of those two lost their lives on 9/11 at the World Trade Center site, at the Pentagon, and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and also at the first World Trade Center bombing in February 1993. It consists of two reflective pools, with waterfalls in their centers and surrounded by a layout of bronze panels listing the names of the deceased. The North and South Pools, as they’re called, are placed across from where the original center, or also known as the “Twin Towers,” once stood.

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Names of these carved panels are in categories ranging from the flight numbers of the hijacked planes, to first responders and to what buildings people were in. I lingered for a while over the name Todd Beamer, a passenger on Flight 93 who is now recognized as one of the people on that plane who attempted to gain entry to the cockpit. Another person’s name I recognized was Mychal Judge, the chaplain for the New York City’s fire department.

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Another name to find, at the South Pool, is Welles Remy Crowther. He worked as an equities trader in the South Tower and is credited with helping people get out of the building after it was hit. He used a red bandana, that he carried everywhere with him, to cover his face from the smoke. His bandana is said to be among the artifacts that will be in the upcoming National September 11 Memorial Museum.

There is also a nice pathway where you can walk around the memorial, and when I visited, there were patrolmen who were nice to answer visitors’ questions. One thing to keep in mind here is that this place is for some like a cemetery. It gets very quiet.

Also upon visiting, the security checkpoint area is sort of in comparison like what you might find at the airport. So go in mind with that thinking. It’s best to avoid carrying stuff like large bags with you or leave them at home. Be patient too.


Admission to the 9/11 Memorial is free but you need a visitor’s pass to enter. I recommendation booking your reservations online, so that way you can plan better for when and what day to visit. Although, note you will be charged a $2 nonrefundable service fee per pass. Same-day visit passes are available as on a first-come, first-served basis and don’t carry the service fee, but you have to get them in person at the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site at 20 Vesey Street.

Either way, getting the visitor’s pass is definitely worth it. And your time at the memorial will be well spent!

1 thought on “What to Do Before and When Visiting the 9/11 Memorial

  1. Mike Klubok

    My wife and I were at the 9-11 Memorial earlier this year. It is well done and it does a good job of preserving the dignity of all the 9-11 victims. On the 12th anniversary of this atrocity, never forget. Keep those who were lost in our thoughts and prayers.


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