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Since the May opening of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the area surrounding what for over a decade was simply known colloquially as “Ground Zero” has experienced a bit of a rebirth. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that area has mostly been fenced off; a glowering hole surrounded by construction that served as a steady reminder of the awfulness of that particular day.

But the rebuilding at the site is almost complete and it is slowly being reconnected to the community that surrounds it. Today is the first Sept. 11 memorial that has occurred since the opening, and friends and family of the almost 3,000 people who died gather to pay tribute to the loss against a backdrop of rebirth. A painful, slow and steady rebirth, but one that was sorely needed and good to see.

“For the first time this year, because the museum opened in May, family members will be able to visit the museum as part of the commemoration,” Michael Frazier, a museum spokesman, told Reuters.

Two skyscrapers built around the site are already open, while 1 World Trade Center is due to open later this year. The site attracts countless tourists, and critics have complained that the structures are only there for tourists, not for the community.

That criticism is not without merit; there is little space for public utilities such as garbage bins or adequate parking; and the district is already one of the more congested during business hours. But it’s sometimes more important to rebuild and honor what was lost, and in this case, it was absolutely necessary.

Stereo Williams

Todd “Stereo” Williams, entertainment writer based in New York City. He co-founded Thirty 2 Oh 1 Productions, an indie film company.