The 9/11 Memorial opened to family members of victims, frontline workers and first responders on Saturday after being closed for nearly four months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Reopening on the Fourth of July was itself a powerful symbol that the city is coming back.
“Our nation can come back. We’ve been challenged before. We were challenged at the very beginning of the history of this country and we fought for principles we believed in,” said Alice Greenwald, president and CEO of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Gov. Phil Murphy and 9/11 Memorial & Museum Chairman Michael Bloomberg joined others to place American flags around the Survivor Tree to remember 9/11 survivors who died of COVID-19.
“The impact of the pandemic. The way we feel about it. The way our lives have been so profoundly altered. The grief that we feel over this unthinkable loss of life. Much of that is similar,” Greenwald said.
“Today is a day of positivity and renewal and hope, because we have once again come back,” said Anthoula Katsimatides, a board of trustees member of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.
It was an emotional day for Katsimatides, who lost her brother John on 9/11.
“I’m eternally grateful to the folks that work here and continue to keep this place open, safe, because they are continuing to give the family members a place where we can remember and memorialize,” Katsimatides said.
Both the memorial and the museum have been closed since mid-March because of the coronavirus. The memorial will open to the public on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. with safety measures like social distancing in place. The museum will remain closed for now.