If you haven't gotten a chance to check out the recently opened National September 11 Memorial
, you can see some first-hand photos taken by New York-based photographer Navid Baraty
right here. Created as a tribute of remembrance and to honor the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks, the Memorial has two twin reflecting pools that sit where the Twin Towers once stood. It features the largest man-made waterfalls in North America and the pools are surrounded by a forest of trees.
Israeli-American architect Michael Arad of Handel Architects, a New York- and San Francisco-based firm, won the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition and was chosen to build this site. His design was chosen out of more than 5,200 entries from 63 nations.
Around the edges of the Memorial pools, bronze panels are inscribed with the name of every person who died in the attacks. They're to serve as a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.
"I watched many of those who lost someone make a rubbing of that person's name on a strip of paper using crayons," said Baraty. "I think, for many, this is so very important. It's the first 'thing' that they've been able to hold and take with them, and sort of connect them to what happened that day. It's an entire lifetime of memories of that person etched in letters. Something that they can keep forever."
"I got to the memorial around 3 p.m. on Wednesday and decided to stay around until dark to see it lit up," Baraty said. "I'm really glad that I did. The whole experience and feeling changes so much as the lights of the waterfalls and Manhattan come on.
"The memorial is quite literally stunning. When I stood in front of the waterfalls in the tower footprints for the first time, they literally took my breath away. It was a very mentally challenging day."
Navid Baraty's website