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(CNN) -- The National September 11 Memorial opens to the public Monday -- a decade and a day after terror attacks brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. The memorial opened a day early on Sunday only to victims' family members and those attending the commemoration service at ground zero. "We're so proud of this memorial," said Monica Iken, who lost her husband Michael in the attacks. "I can go see Michael. He's home." Iken founded the group September's Mission and has played an instrumental role in the construction of the site. Iken said she comes to the site to connect with her husband. "Every time I come here, I feel the energy. It's powerful," she said. Coping with loss after 9/11 America remembers 9/11 a decade later RELATED TOPICS September 11 Attacks National September 11 Memorial & Museum World Trade Center The finished plaza is a calm spot in the midst of a busy construction zone for 1 World Trade Center -- the new skyscraper rising above the site. The focal points of the memorial are a pair of granite reflecting pools -- "voids," as designer Michael Arad calls them -- that plunge into the earth. Located on the footprints of the old twin towers, they are open-topped cubes, nearly an acre in size. Their walls are clad in dark granite, surrounded by brass parapets engraved with nearly 3,000 names: those killed on September 11, 2001, in New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, as well as in a 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. The largest man-made waterfalls in North America wash over the dark granite, flowing from beneath the etched names into the pools below. "I had chills for the first time when the water was turned on," said Paula Grant Berry, who lost her husband on 9/11. Berry was the only victims' family member to serve on the jury that selected Arad's design. "Looking down on those two fountains, it gives you the chills," said Adam Romano, a concrete worker at the site. "You look at those footprints ... you see those buildings as if they are still there." Softening the stark lines of the pools are more than 400 trees that line the walkways and plaza leading to the voids. All but one are new to the site. A lone "Survivor Tree," a Callery pear, was found in the ruins and nursed back to health. The National September 11 Museum is nearing completion at the site and will open next year. Three more office towers are in various states of development. In the coming years, a transportation hub and shopping arcade will connect the complex underground. The entire project is expected to be completed around 2015.