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National September 11 Memorial & Museum Officially Opens

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    Photograph courtesy of Jin Lee / 9/11 Memorial.

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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. β€œThe 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 β€” love, compassion, sacrifice β€” 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.

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