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Visitors to New York's 9/11 memorial top 1 million

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 2:20 PM EST, Thu December 29, 2011
A flower sits on one of the panels containing names of the victims of the terrorist attacks from September 11, 2001, at the 9/11 Memorial.
A flower sits on one of the panels containing names of the victims of the terrorist attacks from September 11, 2001, at the 9/11 Memorial.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An museum on the site of the 9/11 memorial is still under construction
  • Memorial features two fountains where the footprints of the towers once were
  • The memorial will be open seven days a week, forever, its president says

New York (CNN) -- In the 16 weeks since it opened to the public, the September 11 Memorial in New York has seen more than 1 million visitors, officials announced Thursday.

The memorial plaza was opened to family members of victims on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, and to the general pubic the following day.

A museum on site is still under construction, and it is expected to open September 11, 2012.

Designed by architect Michael Arad, the memorial features two huge, square fountains that mark the footprints of the World Trade Center towers.

The fountains' water flows into granite reflecting pools at the center of the 8-acre, tree-lined plaza.

Bronze plates surround the fountains and bear the names of the 2,977 people killed in the attacks in New York, Washington and rural Pennsylvania, as well as the six who were killed when a truck bomb exploded in the parking garage beneath the twin towers in 1993.

By design, the placement of the names was given a lot of thought.

Arad said the names are staggered -- arranged not alphabetically but by something known as "meaningful adjacency." This way, Arad says, each name connects to another and "beyond a physical place, there is a relationship between one name and another." Input was shared by families of the victims so friends, family members, co-workers or people who commuted to work together were listed side by side. By doing so, more personal meaning was brought into the arrangement.

The memorial plaza is open seven days a week and will be so forever, said Joe Daniels, president of the 9/11 Memorial.

Visitors must, however, reserve a timed but free pass through the memorial's website.

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