Designs for a new space at the 9/11 Memorial to honor first responders and others who have become sick or died because of their exposure to toxins at Ground Zero were released Wednesday.
The “Memorial Glade” will feature large stones pointing upward and flanking a pathway through a grassy area on the southwest side of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum plaza.
The stones will be “worn, but not beaten, symbolizing strength and determination through adversity,” a news release announcing the designs says.
“The impacts of the 9/11 attacks did not end when the site was cleared, nor when the Memorial and Museum were built,” 9/11 Memorial & Museum President and CEO Alice M. Greenwald said in a statement. “By integrating this meaningful public space at the memorial, we seek to recognize all those for whom 9/11 has remained an all too present reality.”
Nearly 70,000 first responders and more than 14,000 survivors have enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program to be monitored for 9/11-related illnesses.
The names of the people who have died from those illnesses will not be incorporated into the design of the new space.
“This is based off feedback from people impacted by this crisis and reflects the immense, ever-changing and growing nature of this issue,” 9/11 Memorial & Museum Communications Coordinator Olivia Egger said.
Comedian Jon Stewart, who has been an advocate for health benefits for first responders suffering from 9/11-related illnesses, will lead a fundraising effort for the memorial.
“These men and women sacrificed themselves for the rest of us and have spent years suffering and dying because of it. We have long owed it to them to honor their contributions,” Stewart said.
The release of the designs marks 16 years after the day the rescue and recovery efforts formally ended at Ground Zero: May 30, 2002.
The new memorial was designed by the original designers of the 9/11 memorial, Michael Arad and Peter Walker.