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The attacks of September 11, 2001, changed our world forever, and they brought loss and grief on a scale we had never known. But the aftermath of the attacks also revealed stories of heroism and sacrifice that inspired us all. They brought us an even deeper appreciation for, and commitment to, our country’s founding freedoms. And they brought a powerful sense of unity not just to Americans, but also to people around the world. Out of the ashes of that clear September morning arose what the terrorists could never destroy: hope for a better future, faith in our common humanity, and pride in our country’s freedoms and ideals.
The universal impact of the terrorist attacks, and the ethnic and religious diversity of the victims, led people from around the world to offer their support, encouragement, and blessings to our city and country. Many joined Americans from all 50 states who selflessly stepped forward to assist in the unprecedented rescue and recovery. Together with everyone who supported a grieving neighbor, or donated to a charity, or displayed a ribbon or an Ameri- can flag, we sent a message to the terrorists: We may bend, but we will not break. We may stumble, but we will get back up. Our resilience was so strong because our defiance was so fierce.
This resilience is the true legacy of 9/11. It defined the recovery effort itself, and it is at the heart of the mission of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. This book chronicles the story of September 11 and the memorial, which is dedicated to the memory of all those killed in the terrorist attacks—in New York City, at the Pentagon, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The memorial will be forever a solemn place of reflection and remembrance; we owe that to all those who lost loved ones on 9/11. At the same time, the memorial will forever serve as a reminder of the enormous loss suffered that day, and the enormous sacrifices that were made—and an obligation we owe to future generations.
Family members played a crucial role in the planning and development of the memorial, and it could not have been built without the strong support they have given it. Nor could it have been built without the generous contributions made by people living in all 50 states and 38 countries. Their generosity grew out of the spirit of global unity that emerged in the aftermath of the attacks, and that helped America through some of its darkest hours.
Since the attacks, millions of people from every corner of the globe have visited the World Trade Center site to pay their respects to those we lost. Now they arrive to experience a memorial as beautiful and inspiring as any that has ever been built, which is a testament not only to the creativity of Michael Arad’s and Peter Walker’s design, but also to the hard work of the memorial staff.
The memories of all those we lost; the courage of all those who saved others; the solidarity that the world showed us; and the resilience that came to define the aftermath of the attacks—all will live on in the memorial and museum, just as they live on in our hearts. And as long as they do, terrorism cannot and will not prevail in our society.
—MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG
Mayor of the City of New York
Chair of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum