In First, Memorial Will be Open on Night of 9/11

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National 9/11 Memorial Plaza in Lower Manhattan.

The Sept. 11 memorial plaza will be open on the night of the attacks' anniversary this year. It marks the first time the general public will be able to visit ground zero on the commemoration date.

The plaza will be closed to the public during the remembrance ceremony and much of the rest of the day. But memorial President Joe Daniels said in an email Thursday to victims' families that the plaza will open to all from 6 p.m. to midnight.

He says it will provide a "meaningful vantage point" for viewing the twin beams called the Tribute in Light. They shine from a roof nearby.

The World Trade center site was inaccessible to the public for years after the attacks. But it's become increasingly open as more gets rebuilt.