Sept. 11 Families Awed, Honored by the 1 Million Visitors to the 9/11 Memorial

NY Daily News - December 30, 2011

by Jennifer H. Cunningham & Rich Schapiro

Memorial site is on pace to draw up to 4 million visitors in 2012. NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Several Sept. 11 families said Thursday they're awed by the million people who came to honor the terror victims by visiting the 9/11 Memorial.

"For me it just reaffirms the fact that there are people in the world who have the compassion that existed after 9/11," said Anthoula Katsimatides, whose brother, Cantor Fitzgerald employee John Katsimatides, 31, perished in the North Tower.

"It's a true testament to America and the world's desire to come and remember and memorialize and honor everyone we lost on that terrible day."

Steven Rossomando, a retired NYPD officer whose firefighter cousin, Nicholas Rossomando, died in the attacks, said he was stunned by all the interest in the memorial.

"That's incredible," said Rossomando, 48, a 9/11 first responder. "It's just amazing that that many people could show up."

The solemn site honoring the nearly 3,000 victims of the 9/11 terror strikes opened on Sept. 12.

The memorial plaza and its two massive fountains draw about 10,000 visitors each day, officials say.

At a press conference hailing the milestone, National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum President Joe Daniels said he was "incredibly gratified" to reveal that the site attracted 1 million visitors.

"The idea that 1 million people have come here and set foot on this ground, a place where they have not been able to stand in 10 years, makes all the work that's gone into building this very special place worth it," said Joe Daniels, president of the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum.

Daniels added that he's hoping the site draws up to 4 million visitors in 2012 -- even though the under-construction 9/11 museum will not be completed by Sept. 11, as some hoped.

"The construction work that is happening on the museum right now is nowhere near what it should be," said Daniels, refering to an ongoing funding dispute with the Port Authority, which is serving as the site's construction manager. "It's a fraction of what it should be."

A Tennessee woman brought a gun to the memorial last week, but Daniels said the site's security staff did its job.

"That gun never made it to the memorial site," Daniels said. "That's the way it should be handled. People should not bring guns to the site. It's just common sense."