"My worst fear on the night of the storm was, 'What was going to happen to the memorial, and the names that millions of people have come and touched?'" Joe Daniels, president of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, told the Associated Press (AP).
Calling it "a sacred place," Daniels recollected how "the water was pouring in with force," Nov.30 propelling huge pieces of wood and debris into south side of the memorial. Screening facilities housed in a tent were also damaged.
Reportedly, water rose as high as 8 feet in the unfinished museum and ravaged lower sections of the visitor center and private entrance room that had to be cut away.
Among the artifacts that survived the floods were those displayed in the museum that is still under construction – including a piece of the north tower's antenna and an elevator motor that carried workers into the skyscrapers.
What is unique to this report is that a natural catastrophe visited the site of a historic, man-made disaster, as the AP has pointed out.
Stating that the site was resonating with "a feeling of strength," Daniels continued to add that it took almost a week to drain the floodwaters that rose as high as 10 feet in some places across the 16-acre site.
The cleaning work was completed Monday afternoon, employing five pumps that sucked gallons of water out of the memorial to facilitate reopening at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
The memorial will close at 4 p.m. every day until power is restored to the World Trade Center site.