Today, as the National September 11 Memorial & Museum holds the anniversary commemoration at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, we pause to reflect on the past 11 years. Last year, the 9/11 Memorial was humbled to welcome the public back to the World Trade Center site for the first time in over a decade. Since then, more than 4.6 million people have visited the site from all 50 states and more than 170 countries.
Hundreds of U.S. and foreign dignitaries have already paid their respects at the 9/11 Memorial, including President Barack Obama, President George W. Bush, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron, among many others. Countless brave men and women in uniform have chosen the sacred grounds of the 9/11 Memorial for re-enlistment ceremonies before they volunteer to fight again for the freedoms we enjoy in America.
We will also see hope at the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Thanks to an agreement forged by the 9/11 Memorial and our Chairman, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with Governor Andrew Cuomo, Governor Chris Christie, and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, the construction of the museum will move forward. When it opens, the museum will be a place for education and inspiration. It will commemorate the lives lost, preserve the history of what happened on that terrible day and tell the stories of courage and compassion that were so much a part of the response to 9/11.
Over the past year, the 9/11 Memorial has continued to offer educational tools about the 9/11 attacks and their continued impact through lesson plans available to teachers and schools, and by launching web-based interactive timelines of the day of 9/11 and the rescue and recovery. The commemoration planning guide is another way for us to help commemorate, educate and inspire future generations to learn from 9/11.
Whether you choose to observe a moment of silence, mark the day with community service, donate or spread the message of remembrance through social media, you are playing an important part in memorializing those who were lost and those who sacrificed their lives in the wake of the attack 11 years ago.
Let us use today to thank our local first responders for their dedication to protecting our communities. Let us remember the sacrifices of America's fallen heroes and take time to reflect on the lives of those who have selflessly defended the freedoms upon which our nation is built. We must honor the courage of the many Americans who have served and are currently serving in our nation's military -- thousands of whom enlisted as a response to the 9/11 attacks.
The 9/11 Memorial is honored to offer a dignified, global tribute to preserve the memory of every innocent man, woman and child taken from us on 9/11 -- a sacred place where people can come to reflect and remember the victims and heroes of that fateful day. And we remain dedicated to realizing the 9/11 Memorial Museum, which will forever preserve the story of 9/11 and the memories of the nearly 3,000 victims.
I hope you will share with us your thoughts, reflections and plans, and encourage your friends, family and community to join in commemorating the 9/11 anniversary. Please join the online commemoration this year on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and other platforms by using #Honor911. This serves as a universal call to unite, remember and honor those who were taken from us too soon on 9/11.
Joe Daniels is the president and CEO of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
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