9/11 Memorial Pools

The Twin Pools and Waterfalls are among the most famous sights at the 9/11 Memorial.

The memorial’s primary points are two pools, each nearly an acre in size, that sit in the footprints of the former World Trade Center North and South Towers.

The pools feature the largest manufactured waterfalls in North America, each dropping 30 feet into a square basin.

Both pools bear the names of nearly 3,000 people who died in the 11 September 2001 attacks and the 26 February 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

The victims’ names are written on bronze parapets surrounding both memorial pools.

It isn’t easy to believe that two decades have passed since the day that forever altered the course of our modern history. 

9/11 will go down in history as much as 7 December (the attack on Pearl Harbor), if not more so in our generation. 

The Memorial embodies what it means to New Yorkers who were first-hand witnesses and Americans who watched the events unfold on television on 11 September. 

The number of visitors to the 9/11 Memorial each year reflects the nation’s mourning and sorrow, even twenty years later. 

The memorial site was created to honor the victims and those who helped with rescue and recovery efforts.

Visit the Memorial pool and pay your respects with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum tickets.

Prepare for a voyage that reminds you of the value of unity, remembrance and the human spirit.

Why Were Reflecting Pools Chosen for the Memorial Site?

Reflecting pools have been a time-honored traditional memorial structure and a water feature primarily found in gardens and parks, dating back to the ancient Persian gardens. 

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., has one of the most famous reflecting pools. 

Most reflecting pools are shallow vessels ranging in size from a bird bath to a prominent civic center water feature like the one found at the 9/11 memorial site.

Remembering Those Who Died

The names of 2,983 victims are written on 152 bronze parapets on the memorial pools.

2,977 were killed in the September 11 attacks, and six were killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

‘Reflecting Absence’ Stands in the Twin Towers’ Footprints.

‘Reflecting Absence’ is made up of two one-acre pools. The structures are the world’s largest manufactured waterfalls.

Both pools represent the loss of life and the physical void left by the attacks. 

The dual waterfalls are intended to drown out city noises and create a peaceful haven of remembrance for what was lost.

The 9/11 Memorial Design Contest

Royal Madrid Museum
Image : BEERTA MAINI on Unsplash

An open design competition for the memorial site drew 5,201 entries from 63 countries. 

On November 19, 2003, the thirteen-member judges selected eight finalists.

On 14 January 2004, the end design for the 9/11 Memorial was disclosed to the public at a press conference at the Federal Hall National Memorial.

The concept ‘Reflecting Absence’ by Israeli-American architect Michael Arad of Handel 

Architects and landscape architecture firm Peter Walker and Partners was chosen as the winning design. 

Their concept was a forest with two large, recessed pools representing the Twin Towers’ footprints.

When arranged in rows, the white swamp oaks form informal clusters, clearings, and groves. 

At street level, the park is located above the Memorial Museum. 

On the parapets surrounding the waterfalls, the names of the victims of the attacks (including those from the Pentagon, American Airlines Flight 77, United Airlines Flight 93, and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) are inscribed.

The Working of the Pool

working of the Pool
Image : Axel Houmadi on Unsplash

The North and South Fountains at the 9/11 Memorial have combined recirculating systems that pump up to 26,000 gallons of water per minute, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Water flows over the walls of the Memorial’s two deep reflecting pools before being recirculated into catch basins.

The September 11 Memorial employs a method that keeps water flowing from a 30-foot drop regardless of the weather in New York City. 

The pool is designed to keep the falling water’s reflective qualities and sound consistent throughout the seasons.

For a truly immersive and informative experience, we recommend booking a guided tour leading you to the twin pools and waterfalls. 

You will find the names of nearly 3,000 victims thoughtfully positioned alongside the cascading waterfalls.

How Are the Reflecting Pools Managed and Controlled?

9/11 Memorial Pools
Image : Kaabii Kiseki on Unsplash

The sophisticated, intelligent chemical filtration system these two reflective pools use is one of their most impressive aspects.

The system can anticipate and react to inclement weather in New York on the fly.

According to Chief Engineer Anthony LoCasto, it takes a crew of three men about 8 hours to clean, vacuum, and brush each of the memorial pools.

Both pools use 16 pumps to move 26,000 gallons of water per minute. The system circulates over 480,000 gallons of recycled water.

A cutting-edge networked control management system also effectively monitors over a thousand data points about the pools to maintenance personnel, making it one of the world’s smartest pools.

The maintenance crews go above and beyond simply maintaining the pools by displaying respect for the victims through gestures of remembrance. 

Each day before the Memorial gates open to the public, one of their responsibilities is to place a white rose on top of the names of victims whose birthday is on that day.

The $610 million project, including an underground museum utilizing parts of the fallen towers, officially opened on 12 September 2011.

Visit the underground 9/11 Museum, where you can explore the artifacts and learn about the events related to the attacks.


What does the pool mean in the 9 11 Memorial?

The pools in the 9/11 Memorial, known as the Reflecting Absence, occupy the Twin Towers’ footprints. 

They symbolize loss and absence, providing a space for reflection and remembrance.

How deep is the 9 11 Memorial waterfall?

The waterfalls in the pools are the biggest man-made ones in North America, each of which drops 30 feet into a square basin. 

Each pool’s water drops 20 feet before dissipating into a small central vacuum.

Featured Image: 911memorial.org