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IN EVOCATIVE photos, videos and hand-scrawled notes of love and grief, the National September 11 Memorial Museum bears witness to the deaths and destruction at New York’s World Trade Center.

The twin towers collapsed amid horrifying clouds of dust and debris — shown here in a photo displayed at the museum — on Sept. 11, 2001, after terrorists flew planes into the Manhattan buildings.

The museum, which opened in the spring after years of controversy and delays over funding and exhibits, honors the 2,753 people who perished at the World Trade Center and those who died in two other Sept. 11 coordinated plane hijackings in Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people died on that day, and all are remembered at the Sept. 11 museum.

Most exhibits in the 110,000-square-foot museum are underground, fittingly somber for the emotionally gripping exhibits.

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Outside, in a memorial plaza, two granite pools shimmer in the footprint of the vanished towers, a reflective testimony to what’s been lost.

Kristin R. Jackson is The Seattle Times NWTraveler editor. Contact her at kjackson@seattletimes.com.