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How the NYC 9/11 Memorial Was Designed & Constructed April 20, 2020

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How the NYC 9/11 Memorial Was Designed & Constructed, Le Roy, New York

Although it’s commonly considered synonymous with a monument, a memorial carries a specific connotation of remembrance for those who have passed. One of the most apt examples is the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. Officially known as the “National September 11 Memorial & Museum,” it was erected to recognize those who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

A Brief History of the 9/11 Memorial in NYC


In November 2001, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) was created to oversee the build of a memorial structure. It was also tasked with working in conjunction with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and a real estate developer. About 100 additional companies and a handful of government agencies also contributed to the project.

The LMDC held a contest for the memorial’s design in 2003. Participation was extended to anyone over the age of 18. Aside from that, there were no requirements. Even if you were from a different country and had no prior experience designing a monument, you could submit an idea. 


After more than 5,000 entries, “Reflecting Absence” was chosen and revealed on January 14, 2004. Submitted by Michael Arad, an Israeli-American architect, and Peter Walker, an American landscape architect, the design featured memorial pools where the Twin Towers once stood.

monumentThe pools create voids where water continuously flows, but doesn’t fill the area, symbolizing the loss felt by so many. Directly outside the pools are parapets that have the names of the victims carefully engraved. Outside of the pools, a forest of more than 400 swamp white oaks stands guard. These trees are a species native to the crash site, representing resilience and rebirth.


On March 13, 2006, construction began. Traditional monument- and memorial-building materials, such as granite and steel, are prominently used. Bronze, another common choice, is also featured on the parapets.

Finally, ten years after the attacks, the unveiling was held on September 11, 2011, after five years of construction. The monument opened to the public the day after. 


For personal memorials to celebrate lost loved ones, contact Derrick Monument Company Inc. Located in Le Roy, NY, this family-owned and -operated business has crafted beautiful, long-lasting monuments for more than a century. Their expert engravers can include any inscription, and you can use a wide range of materials, including bronze, granite, and marble. Find some examples of their work on their website, or call (585) 768-8470 to discuss a project.

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