—Tony Blair, former prime minister of the United Kingdom
“In the aftermath of September 11th, we saw the best of humanity overcome the worst kind of hate. This book reminds us that America’s spirit is stronger than the terrorists who sought to break our spirit on that terrible day.”
—Rudolph W. Giuliani, former mayor of the city of New York
“A painful, necessary, and ultimately incredibly inspiring account of the terrible toll we paid on 9/11 and the determination to honor those who were lost and heal those who were not.”
—Jon Stewart of the “Daily Show”
“This book tells the poignant story of the creation of a place where family members of the victims will come to honor their loved ones — and a place for all of us to teach future generations about what happened that tragic day.”
—Paula Grant Berry, whose husband, David Berry, died on 9/11
WASHINGTON (May 12, 2011)—To mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, National Geographic is publishing A PLACE OF REMEMBRANCE: Official Book of the National September 11 Memorial (National Geographic Books; ISBN 978-4262-0807-2; on sale Aug. 9, 2011; $19.95). This commemorative volume, written by National September 11 Memorial & Museum staff members Allison Blais and Lynn Rasic, honors those who were lost, celebrates the spirit of hope and tells the emotional story behind the creation of the National September 11 Memorial, which will open at the site of the Twin Towers in New York on Sept. 11, 2011. The book is the only official companion volume to the memorial.
A PLACE OF REMEMBRANCE is dedicated to the 2,983 men, women and children killed in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon, and in the Feb. 26, 1993, World Trade Center bombing, and to their families and friends. A special insert section lists the names of every victim and the exact location of where each name is inscribed on the memorial. In this way, the book becomes a means of visiting the memorial and participating in remembering the day of the attacks, no matter where one is located.
The foreword is penned by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, chairman of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum; the afterword is by Joe Daniels, president and CEO of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
Bloomberg writes, “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 brought stories of heroism and sacrifice that inspired us all. Out of the ashes of that clear September morning arose what the terrorists could not destroy: hope for a better future, faith in our common humanity, and pride in our country’s freedom and ideals. … Our resilience is the true legacy of 9/11. It defined the recovery effort itself, and is at the heart of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.”
Illustrated with dramatic images, some never before published, the book tells the story of the World Trade Center buildings, the earthshaking attacks and the days after as anxious rescue efforts became months-long recovery and cleanup. It tells of the public meetings and debate over how to commemorate the victims, the 5,000 plans from 63 nations that were considered for a memorial and the one finally approved — “Reflecting Absence” by New York architect Michael Arad and Californian landscape architect Peter Walker.
The book also journeys into some of the lives and relationships now etched as names into the memorial’s bronze. It includes memories shared by survivors, first responders and families of lost loved ones.
Daniels writes that the memorial will be “one of the most sacred places in the United States that will show our fellow countrymen and the world that we will not forget what happened here, at the Pentagon, and on that field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.”
The memorial covers eight acres and includes two pools that reside in the footprints of the original Twin Towers, surrounded by a plaza of almost 400 oak trees. Each pool is approximately one acre in size, with 30-foot waterfalls — the largest man-made waterfalls in the nation — surrounding them on all sides. The names of the 2,982 victims, ranging in age from two to 85, are listed on parapets surrounding the pools.
“At its core, the 9/11 memorial’s purpose is to honor the people who are no longer with us,” write Blais and Rasic in their introduction to A PLACE OF REMEMBRANCE. “It also offers the tremendous opportunity to bring people together in much the same way that we saw the world come together immediately following the attacks. For those who may never have a chance to visit in person, we hope this book offers a way of honoring the victims. The act of remembering is a measure of tribute in and of itself.”
National Geographic Channel also plans to mark the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 with a week of original programming dedicated to the topic premiering later this summer.
About the authors
Allison Blais is chief of staff of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and previously worked at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the agency that oversaw the memorial design competition. Lynn Rasic is senior vice president for public affairs and communications of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. She was deputy press secretary to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani on Sept. 11, 2001.