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Refinery29 headquarters are just a block east from Ground Zero. This makes for a veritable wave of tourists each morning, who flock to the site to pay their respects. Today, however, the streets are not filled with poncho-wearing pedestrians but with police, city officials, and even protestors as the National September 11 Memorial & Museum welcomes its first visitors.
This marks the beginning of the site's Dedication Period (today until May 20), which honors 9/11 rescue and recovery workers, active-duty first responders, lower-Manhattan residents and business owners, and others who survived the tragedy. The chairman of the museum, former mayor Michael Bloomberg, said the completed project was truly a community effort; even schoolchildren donated pennies to the cause. “The Museum tells heartbreaking stories of unimaginable loss, but also inspiring stories of courage and compassion," Bloomberg stated. "Its opening honors the commitment we made to 9/11 family members and to all future generations: That we would never forget those we lost or the terrible lessons we learned that day."
President Obama joined a ceremony on site this morning, addressing a small audience. "It's an honor to join in your memories, to recall and to reflect, but above all to reaffirm the true spirit of 9/11 — love, compassion, sacrifice — and to enshrine it forever in the heart of our nation," he told the crowd.
The museum opens up to the public on May 21, but you can get a sneak peek in the slideshow ahead. For tickets, visit the official memorial site.