Nearly 13 years after the 9/11 attacks, a museum to honor those killed opens

9/11 Memorial Museam
9/11 Memorial Museam

NEW YORK (CNN/WABC) – The 9-11 Memorial Museum opens today at Ground Zero in New York. It’s a powerful tribute to the lives lost, and a monument to American resilience.

Nearly 13-years after the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers fell, a museum opens today honoring those who lost their lives there.

Visitors will see an exhibition dedicated to the 2,983 people killed on September 11, and in the February 1993 bombing.

The halls and exhibits are underground, occupying the footprint of the Twin Towers.

“At the very site where terrorists sought to destroy us, we have rebuilt, where there was twisted steel and fires burned for months, there are now remembrances of loved ones taken too soon,” Joe Daniels, President of the 9/11 Memorial Museum said.

The museum tells the story of one of the darkest days in U.S. history through personal artifacts, photos, audio and video, and allows visitors to connect with pieces of the Twin Towers.

The “Survivors Stairs:” a stairwell still mostly intact from the North Tower, a stairwell so many used to run for safety.

The steel beams that formed a cross, and became a symbol of hope amid despair.

You’ll also see the “Last Column,” still covered with missing posters and mast cards, tagged with graffiti honoring the policemen and firefighters who died heroes.

The museum will also house 8,000 sets of remains from unidentified 9-11 victims.

Earlier they were brought to the museum, a decision some family members opposed

“I waited months for them to recover my son out of that hellhole and now they’re putting him back there,” Rosemary Cain, mother of a firefighter killed on 9/11 said.

They’re being kept in an area at the museum off limits to the public.

“They’re not in a dungeon, they’re not in a basement, they’re in a beautiful space, that is reverent and respectful,” 9/11 widow Monica Iken said.

The remains lie behind a wall, engraved with the words of the poet Virgil:

“No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”

This museum cost the city’s foundation 700-million dollars and is more than 3 years behind schedule. So a lot of people have been waiting for this day.

The dedication ceremony started at 10:00 a.m. Current and former New York mayors will be here for that as well as the President and the First Lady.

Time-lapse video from EarthCam

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