On September 6, 2006, family members, survivors, rescue workers, residents, volunteers and public officials gathered to cut the ribbon officially to open the Tribute WTC Visitor Center at 120 Liberty Street.
Governor George Pataki spoke of the first time Lee Ielpi and Jennifer Adams of the September 11th Families’ Association approached him with the concept for the Tribute Center. “New Yorkers and the world now have a place to come, to see, feel and learn the tragic human cost of the events of 9/11. Tribute reminds us we must never forget.” Mayor Bloomberg urged all New Yorkers to come to the Tribute Center, to pay their respects and to learn about the events of the day from the first-person views and first-hand stories experienced in the Center. Council Speaker Christine Quinn spoke of the compassion of the families who so lovingly sent in artifacts and pictures of their loved ones to put a face on the tragedy. She credited the September 11th Families’ Association with taking a dream and making it a reality. Councilman Alan Gerson spoke of the resilience of Lower Manhattan and how we must preserve the memories of those we lost and all those who came to our aid.
Lee Ielpi, co-founder of the Tribute Center, thanked all involved for their dedication and support, including over 2,000 family members who contributed to build Tribute and submitted pictures. “Now Tribute stands tall, holding the precious memories of those terrible days but simultaneously telling the story of a city and a nation coming together as one people, firm in their resolve to search, to respect and finally to heal.”
Jennifer Adams, co-founder and CEO of the September 11th Families’ Association, reflected on the early struggles and finally huge successes of building support, constructing the space, and of recruiting the volunteer tour guides who are the backbone of Tribute. “They lend their hearts and courage to tell their experience, which is what makes Tribute such a personal experience for visitors. Family members, survivors, residents and recovery workers have come forward willing to share their stories so visitors understand the reality of the events that unfolded that day.” Following the remarks, all of the dignitaries cut a ribbon embossed with the Tribute Logo: “Person-to-Person History”.
Tribute held previews for families, survivors, residents, recovery workers and volunteers from September 6th – 18th when the Center opened to the general public. Over 4,000 family members visited Tribute on September 10th and 11th. Since then, more than 65,000 people have come to learn, to feel and to pay tribute. The Tribute WTC Visitor Center is open daily 10 am – 6 pm, except for Tuesdays 12 noon – 6 pm and Sundays 12 noon – 5 pm. For more information go online to tributewtc.org.