The Reflecting Absence is America’s most expensive public memorial … and we will tell you why. The landmark, tribute to those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and which was open to the world yesterday, was not built in a day. First was the design, which attracted more than 5,200 ideas from 63 countries and was reviewed by a 13-member selection jury. Reflecting Absence by New York architect Michael Arad won the bill, and today, the $500 million building has become the most expensive public memorial ever created in the US. Covering more than half of the 16-acre World Trade Center site, it features 2 waterfalls above reflecting pools set in the original buildings’ footprints. It has a memorial plaza, Memorial Museum and PATH Station. Trees have been brought in specifically from around the WTC complex and Pennsylvania, Maryland, and areas impacted by the attacks.
The memorial will also have a clearing called the Memorial Gladefor use in ceremonies and civic functions and a space set aside for the Survivor Tree, a Callery Pear that made it through the attacks. The twin waterfalls, speculated as the largest human-made falls on the continent, will have 8 pumps circulating 52,000 gallons of water every minute over their edges. Around it will be a list of the 2,800 men, women, and children killed during the fateful day.
The Museum displays a series of narratives about the attacks and numerous artifacts and architectural exhibits, including the original WTC’s Survivor Stairs, damaged slurry wall, and compromised foundations, as well as two steel tridents from the original Twin Towers that will be on permanent display.