Three officials in formal uniforms stand beside three granite monoliths at the Memorial Glade. A crowd of people has gathered in the shade of trees behind them.
Photo by Jin S. Lee

May 30, 2002 Commemoration

May 30 marks the 22nd anniversary of the formal end of recovery operations at Ground Zero. To commemorate this milestone, we will honor the courage and sacrifice of 9/11 rescue, recovery, and relief workers, commemorate those who have died due to 9/11-related illnesses and injuries, and recognize the spirit of survivors and members of the downtown community with a special commemorative ceremony. Details on the commemoration ceremony and additional offerings throughout the month of May are included below.

Commemorative Moment on the Glade

A color guard of more than 12 people enter the Memorial Glade carrying the American and New York State flags among others enters the Memorial Glade on a sunny day as two men in uniform salute.
Photo by Jin S. Lee

We will gather on Thursday, May 30 at 3:30 p.m. on the 9/11 Memorial Glade in honor of all 9/11 rescue, recovery, and relief workers, as well as those who are sick or have died from illnesses and injuries linked to exposure to hazards and toxins in the aftermath of 9/11 at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, or near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The Memorial Glade, a tranquil space dedicated to this community, is flanked by six large stone monoliths. Each monolith is inlaid with World Trade Center steel and stands as a symbol of strength and determination through adversity.

The event will also be streamed live here for those unable to attend in person.

The May 30, 2002 Commemoration is made possible in part by support from Joel S. Marcus, Executive Chairman & Founder, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.

Dedicated Museum Hours for this Community

Following the ceremony on Thursday, May 30, access to the Museum will be dedicated to this community from 4:00 p.m. to close. 9/11 rescue, recovery, and relief workers, as well as survivors, members of the downtown community, and family members of those who have died due to 9/11-related illness and injury will receive complimentary Museum admission for themselves and up to (3) guests.

Advance ticket reservations for this community can be made here.

New on View: "Dust: Illness & Advocacy After 9/11"

On May 22, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum will open “Dust: Illness and Advocacy After 9/11,” an installation which tells the story of those who have faced 9/11-related health impacts. Following the collapse of the Twin Towers, toxins spread to those who were in the surrounding area in the days and months following the attack, causing illness, trauma, and death. 

The installation will explore the effects of the toxic dust that blanketed city streets and coated the insides of homes, businesses, and schools. Every breath taken by survivors and emergency responders risked exposure to toxic material and underpins the overall public health impact of 9/11. It will showcase protective equipment worn by recovery workers, including masks, boots, respirators, and other associated items.   

It will also highlight the years-long lobbying efforts of 9/11 advocates who came together to secure congressional funding for immediate and long-term medical monitoring, as well as research and treatment programs. 

Ribbon Tying at Last Column

From May 28-30, we invite visitors to tie a ribbon on the railing at the base of the Last Column in the Museum’s Foundation Hall.

Rescue Me: A Conversation with Denis Leary & Peter Tolan

Monday, May 20
6 p.m. ET

This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the debut of Rescue Me, the award-winning television series created by actor Denis Leary and writer Peter TolanRescue Me tells the story of New York City firefighters through the dramatized story of Tommy Gavin, portrayed by Leary, and grapples with the issues and challenges faced by the FDNY in the aftermath of 9/11. In conversation with Museum Director Clifford Chanin, Leary and Tolan reflect on the series, its themes, and the impact it had on audiences around the world. Reserve tickets here.

O'Hara's: Resilience on Tap

Wednesday, May 29
6 p.m. ET

In the aftermath of 9/11, individuals came together in public spaces to grieve, find solace, and memorialize the attacks. These spaces fostered a sense of community that, in some cases, endure two decades later. O’Hara’s Restaurant and Pub is one of these sites. After suffering significant structural damage on 9/11, the bar re-opened seven months after the attacks, quickly becoming a space of mourning, healing, and a living tribute to first responders. To discuss the role of O’Hara’s after 9/11, the importance of community spaces, and how social ties are critical aspects of resilience, Museum Director, Clifford Chanin, is joined by Mike Keane, co-owner of O’Hara’s, retired firefighter Tim Brown, and Dr. David Abramson, Director of the Center for Public Health Disaster Science at NYU’s School of Global Public Health. Reserve tickets here

Join Us and Thank a Hero Today

 A hand-drawn poster reads "To All Keyworkers, We Thank You."   The slogan is surrounded by drawings of a sanitation worker, fire truck, a shopping cart,  medical instruments and other tools of frontline workers.
Photo by Cole Caldwell

Share your own message of gratitude and appreciation for those on the frontlines, both in the aftermath of 9/11 and now, by participating in our “Dear Hero” campaign. In the days after 9/11, children from around the world wrote letters and created heartfelt drawings and other tokens of gratitude to recognize the efforts and sacrifice of first responders. Download the template, write a “Dear Hero” message, and share it on your social media to help honor our heroes today.

The Rescue and Recovery Effort

Two men face away as they look at the Last Column in Foundation Hall. The rusty column is covered in stickers, photos, handwritten messages, and other tributes, along with orange marking paint.
Photo by Jin S. Lee

Unprecedented rescue, relief, and recovery efforts began immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City, at the Pentagon, and the Flight 93 crash site in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. At all three attack sites, days, weeks, and months were spent extinguishing fires, clearing debris, and searching for survivors. It took nine months to remove about 1.8 million tons of material from the World Trade Center site.

In the aftermath of 9/11, donations of money and supplies poured in, and thousands of people volunteered to help. Public and private partnerships supported lower Manhattan’s recovery, growth, and revitalization, balancing the need to remember and honor victims with the goal of rebuilding a strong and vibrant community.

During the nine-month recovery and cleanup operation at the World Trade Center, many thousands of individuals transformed what some called “the pile”—a scene of mass destruction dominated by a vast mountain of tangled steel—into an excavated pit reaching 70 feet belowground.

In recent years, individuals with 9/11-related illnesses, health care advocates, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill united in that same spirit to ensure the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The law, first introduced in 2006, was named for a New York City homicide detective who died that year and had worked at Ground Zero. Finally enacted in 2011, then reauthorized in 2015, the Zadroga Act provides financial compensation to people with 9/11-related illnesses. It also established the World Trade Center Health Program, which monitors or treats more than 95,000 people living in all 50 states. In 2019, following an intense lobbying effort by 9/11 health advocates and their supporters, the Never Forget the Heroes Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump, extending the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund through 2092.

View an interactive timeline of the rescue and recovery operations at Ground Zero.


A man communicating in sign language is silhouetted against a bright screen at the Museum.

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is committed to ensuring access for all visitors. 

Learn more

Illness and Advocacy After 9/11

Three men in red hard hats, covered in dust, stand on the pile at Ground Zero

Central to the 9/11 narrative is what happened after the towers fell, the thousands of stories of response and recovery; the diversity and sheer number of people who have died from or are currently living with illness and trauma; and the incredible advocacy efforts to secure congressional funding for immediate and long-term medical monitoring, research, and treatment programs through the World Trade Center Health program.

Learn more