Ground Zero smoked for months after 9/11. At first the work crews and rescuers called it the pile. But even as the cinders of the famous World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York settled, memorial plans hovered. For years, insurance companies, the owners, government agencies and developers struggled to transform the disaster site. The work is still in progress. But for the tenth anniversary of the towers’ destruction a monument to all the people who died in all the attacks that day is ready.
Chris Ward, the executive director of the New York City Port Authority, said: “What we began to realize was in order to deliver this project we had to make priorities. And with the Mayor, we understood that the most important priority for the 10-year anniversary was the completion of this memorial plaza. While there is never real closure, there needed to be a place to gather.”
Fountains fall where the Towers stood. Official unveiling: the day itself. On that day: victims’ families only. The day following, the public.
Architect Craig Dykers said: “These are the original footprints of the original World Trade Center towers and around those pools are the names of the deceased. That is the key component of the memorial.”
Next year a museum will open, the new building wrought in materials salvaged from ‘the pile’. It will house exhibitions, film projections and objects out of the wreckage. Some belonged to people who died; some belonged to survivors, like the owner of a pair of debris-scuffed boots…
Museum curator Jan Ramirez said: “He’s one of the tenants of the towers that day who probably owe their life to the fact they went down, they exited what was called the Vesey streets stairs and escalators that day. That put them on the streets about a block or two north, when he hears: “run! run!” and it’s the North Tower, his building, collapsing.”
‘One World Trade Center’ will be the country’s tallest building when completed. Eventually the plans call for four office towers, a vehicle security centre, a transportation hub and the museum underground, with a wood of white oaks and other trees, symbols of hope and rebirth.