Scott: September 11th, 2001, this very spot was a totally different scene. And now twelve years later, in the place where the Twin Towers once stood is now a memorial honoring the lives lost in the 9/11 attacks. And the construction of the new One World Trade Center is nearly complete. And we got a chance to see it up close.
Ryan Miller: I was only six years old.
Emily Paterwic: I believe I was in third grade.
Becca Schlagel: I was in first grade, actually, and I just remember being in class, and the class kind of stopped and TV’s were on, and the teachers and everybody were just kind of watching in awe.
Scott: Barely old enough to remember the tragedy, they are all here at the 9/11 Memorial to pay their respects to people who lost their lives in the September 11th attacks.
Emily: I just think it’s really important to the history of New York, for the culture of America. I think it’s just really important to remember that.
Scott: On September 11th, 2001, terrorists from the militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four planes and flew them into American landmarks. New York City’s Twin Towers, international symbols of America’s financial strength, were toppled. The headquarters of the U.S. military in Washington, D.C., The Pentagon, was left burning. The fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to overpower the hijackers. Almost three thousand people were killed, more than in any other attack on U.S. soil.
A memorial now stands at the site of the New York City attack, often called Ground Zero. Nearly 9 million people have visited since it opened in 2011.
Noah Rauch: So, these two pools are where the two Twin Towers stood. There are 30-foot waterfalls falling into those footprints, the largest manmade waterfalls in the country.
Scott: Twenty-six thousand gallons of water circulate through the waterfalls every minute.
How much money does it take to run a memorial like this?
Noah: About $16 million every single year is spent maintaining the memorial and maintaining the staff as well. Moving forward, it is going to be private funds, people donating their own money to make sure that this lives on forever.
Scott: Walking around the pools, I saw the names of people who died during the attacks.
There are so many names.
Noah: Four hundred and forty-one first responders were killed on 9/11. These were people that rushed to the building to help those that were trapped and injured inside.
These were people that were on Flight 175. This was the airplane that struck the South Tower. This is the south pool that were standing next to right now.
Scott: Another focal point on the memorial plaza is a tree that was recovered from Ground Zero.
Noah: And we call it the survivor tree. It was almost completely destroyed, it was burned, it was charred, it was clinging to life. It was brought back to the site right before we opened in 2011. And you see people come to this tree – maybe more than anywhere else on the plaza. It’s a really special symbol for all of us, in a sense we’re all survivors.
Scott: And a new symbol of survival at Ground Zero is this building, One World Trade Center. We wanted a look from the top.
How high would you say we are right now?
Steven Plate: We’re just about 800 feet. We reached the top of that building.
Scott: Eight hundred feet.
Steven: We’re about halfway there.
Scott: The building is the tallest in the western hemisphere at 1,776 feet tall. 1776 being the year the Declaration of Independence was signed.
The work of about twenty-six thousand people is reflected in the building of the new tower.
Oh my gosh!
At the top of One World Trade is a view of New York unlike any other.
Still afraid of heights.
We headed to the spire of the building which stands over 400 feet tall, completing that final stretch to reach 1,776 feet.
Steven: It’ll have a beacon at the top that you could see from miles around. That beacon will send a message to the entire world that we’re back, and we’re back better than ever.
Scott: The tower will include offices, restaurants and an observation deck. And construction is expected to finish early next year. Many say it is a day they can’t wait to see.
Steven: There really was a hole, not just in the city, but in our hearts. We needed to rebuild and we needed to send a message and we needed to put a marker in the ground. And we’ve accomplished that.
Scott: To see more from our tour and a look at Channel One’s original coverage of what took place on 9/11 2001 and a timeline of the events that happened that day, head to Channelone.com.