The emotions of the 10th anniversary 9/11 remembrance ceremonies -- and, for many, the events of 9/11 itself -- at the forefront of their thoughts, the first visitors to the new 9/11 Memorial & Museum at Ground Zero had this to say about the site on Monday morning:
Ryan Rovvel, 28, of Los Angeles, didn't lose anyone in 9/11, but felt compelled to visit because it's a national memorial and national tragedy.
"When you're there, you get kind of butterflies in your stomach like you're somewhere important, the most important place in America.
"It's pretty moving."
Steve Wiltsche, 40, a firefighter from Wangen, Germany, said he felt drawn to the memorial by the camaraderie he felt with the FDNY.
"I feel firefighters are one family all over the world."
"For all those years there was nothing there, now there's something that people can go to and see and visit from around the nation and world.
"The whole world was touched by it." He said of his reason for visiting the site: "It's just to get a connection."
Timothy Entringer, 29, of Green Bay, Wis., came to New York specifically to see the memorial, though he didn't know anyone who died. He said he thought it was an important part of American legacy.
"Words can't explain it [the memorial]. You see it on TV, but it's different."
"I felt extremely sad. I broke down right away."
Michael Hyde, an assistant fire chief from Lancaster, N.Y., said he accompanied several firefighter colleagues to the memorial site -- feeling the loss of his FDNY brethren.
"Just touching it, you get tingly all over. It's one of those feelings you never get in your life . . . All the emotions from 9/11 and afterward come right back."
Kayvon Touran, 20, of lower Manhattan, came to honor his grandmother Touri Bolourchi, 69, of Beverly Hills, who died on United Flight 175.
"Wherever you look around . . . there's an incredible view of New York and the city is all around it, so it is a part of New York."
With John Valenti