Saturday, July 09, 2011

Reservations for 9/11 Memorial Access Begin Monday

Starting Monday morning at 9AM EDT, the September 11th Memorial at Ground Zero will begin taking reservations for visits to the site beginning after the site opens to the public this September. There is no charge associated with the memorial, and a separate phone line is being set up to accommodate victims' families.
Starting at 9 a.m. Monday, other people interested in visiting the memorial will be able to obtain passes for half-hour blocks of time through the memorial’s Web site, At the time printed on their passes, visitors will be cleared to join the line to enter the memorial’s security screening station. But the length of time each pass holder can spend on the memorial plaza will not be limited, said Joe Daniels, president of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

On Monday, the memorial will also open a telephone line for reservations for groups of 10 or more, Mr. Daniels said. And each day, a limited number of passes will be available to walk-up visitors at the 9/11 Memorial preview site a couple of blocks away at 20 Vesey Street, he said.

“We wanted to manage what we think will be a pretty significant demand,” Mr. Daniels said. About one million visitors are expected in the first year, he said, but the plaza can hold only about 1,500 people at a time.

Mr. Daniels said that memorial officials would be conservative about the number of passes granted until they had a better idea of how long people would spend there. The plaza will include parapets inscribed with the names of all of the victims, and a reflecting pool in the footprint of each of the twin towers. The adjoining museum is scheduled to open on the 11th anniversary of the attacks, Mr. Daniels said.
The memorial and museum officials still haven't decided on whether they will impose a donation/admission charge for accessing the museum, but I think it should be free precisely because the whole idea of the site is to educate the public about what happened on 9/11 - who was involved, and to celebrate the lives of those murdered that day, the heroism of those responding to try and save the thousands of people working at Ground Zero, and imposing charges goes against the entire mission statement.

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