9/11 Memorial Plaza

In the center of Lower Manhattan, a memorial plaza covers an 8-acre expanse in the shade of surrounding skyscrapers. Amid the New York City buzz of conversation, honking horns, rushing pedestrians and sirens, this space is quiet. The gentle, calming sound of flowing water echoes across the paved pathways beneath a canopy of trees.

The footprints of the North and South towers, each nearly an acre in size, are now reflecting pools, all four sides acting as waterfalls. From the pools’ edges, thin sheets of water cascade from the sides and fall toward the marble-faced basin, 30 feet down. The shallow water in the pools eventually finds its way to the footprints’ centers, where it drops another 20 feet, disappearing from sight. The architectural design for the memorial is entitled “Reflecting Absence.” The reflecting pools marking the building footprints are where absence is made profoundly tangible,. Though water flows into the voids left behind after 9/11, the holes will never be filled—it’s as physical as it is emotional. The hole the attacks and loss of life 9/11 ripped in each American remains empty, perpetually un-fillable.

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