The names are arranged according to “meaningful adjacencies” based on relationship details involving proximity at the time of the attacks, company or organization affiliations for World Trade Center or Pentagon workers and requests from family members.
In simple terms the names of the passengers and crew of American Airlines Flight 11, which hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center, and the names of the victims in the North Tower all appear along the perimeter of the North pool. Math geeks can follow this link to Scientific American to see the thought process and resulting algorithm behind the monumental task of spatially placing names along 76 panels in each Memorial pool while considering the meaningful adjacencies, including the 1200 adjacency requests made by next-of-kin and surviving colleagues.
Finding a specific name can be difficult. Not having experienced a personal loss associated with 9/11, I looked briefly for Todd Beamer’s name without success. If I’d done my home-work prior to my visit, I’d have known the official website of the 9/11 Memorial (where we secured our passes for the visit months earlier) offers a quick, easy solution for locating each victim’s name as well as a downloadable app.
Todd Beamer’s name is located in the South Memorial in panel S-68 with all the other members of United Airlines Flight 93. It was both touching and haunting to recognize that beneath the seemingly random arrangement of names were connections (I spotted Engine 5, Ladder 14, and Rescue 4 among them) shared in life, and now in death.
Among the four hundred sweet gum and swamp white oak trees planted on the remaining 6
Myrta Gschaar is one such survivor. Only after artifacts belonging to her husband were found in the rubble at Ground Zero was she able to accept her husband Robert’s death.
According to the chief architect of the felled Twin Towers, Minoru Yamasaki, the World Trade Center is a living symbol of man’s dedication to world peace. The 9/11 Memorial is a symbol of the price we paid for that peace. Visiting the memorial gave me a measure of peace I didn't realize I needed.