The World Trade Center Memorial and Freedom Tower
New York City continues to recover and rebuild after the September 11, 2001 (9/11) destruction of the World Trade Center Twin Towers and other buildings. On August 21, 2002 Governors McGreevey of NJ and Pataki of NY along with New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg dedicated the viewing wall erected on the East side of Ground Zero by the Port Authority of NY/NJ as an area for quiet reflection and a place to draw strength and inspiration. Along the walls are plaques that detail the history of Lower Manhattan, The World Trade Center and list the names of all 9/11 victims from Ground Zero, The Pentagon and Stonycreek PA.
Just behind the wall close to the U.S. and Port Authority flags is the Metal Cross of Ground Zero. Found by a construction worker, the cross is made of two metal beams that fell intact from one of the twin towers. Many believe it to be a symbol of faith and healing and it is a place of pilgrimage for many of the tourists who visit the site. Right next to the World Trade Center Path Station awning is the Lower Manhattan Development Council tourist information office, an excellent resource for the latest developments at Ground Zero and Lower Manhattan in general.
Directly across the street is St. Paul’s Chapel. The chapel structure was miraculously left standing after the collapse of the Towers and quickly became the HQ for rescue and recovery workers. The main entrance of the chapel has a Year of Ministry Timeline exhibit that dates their efforts in the first 12 months after the disaster. The chapel interior is surrounded by stands and mementos in honor of those who died and in recognition of all who volunteered in the cleanup operation.
Reconstruction of Lower Manhattan has been one of the city’s most important undertakings. Finding the right design for Ground Zero that would act as a memorial to those lost and rebuild the financial district was a delicate process. The Master Plan accepted for the site was designed by Daniel Libeskind and called ‘Memory Foundations’. The focal point of this design is the Freedom Tower, a 1776 foot high tower with a spire that is meant to echo the design of the Statue of Liberty.
The ground stone for the tower was laid down on July 4, 2004 and construction was meant to be finished by 2009. At the end of April 2004 the NYPD lodged an objection concerning the design of the tower as it would be only 25 feet from West Street at one side and would be susceptible to car/truck bomb attack. The whole design needs to be modified to adhere to security criteria.
UPDATE: The Freedom Tower was completed in 2013 and is now the tallest building in the USA.
by Declan O’Kelly