Remembering 9/11 | 60 Minutes Full EpisodesSep 11, 2023
On September 11, Dr. Benjamin Luff prepared Stony Brook University Medical Center on Long Island for the large number of victims he expected to overwhelm the emergency room, but no one came through the door that day, so few had survived, as it turned out that Dr. Love's victims were arriving, but they would arrive much later, although nearly 3,000 people died at the World Trade Center. Another seventy thousand went to ground zero and worked for months amid toxic smoke and dust. Dr. Luft helped open a clinic to treat chronic illnesses and psychological trauma suffered by 911 first responders. Over time, Luff discovered something he never expected.
He began listening to their honest, raw, irreplaceable stories and almost two years ago began to record the definitive history of Ground Zero,
rememberingSeptember 11 in the words of the people who lived through the problem. What emerged was that our society began to look at first responders in terms of their illness, they became a problem in terms of their responsibility and my feeling was that that was not who first responders were, let's find out who they are as human beings, what It's your motivation. what values they had what sacrifices they made how they were able to renew themselves it was almost like taking a civics class in terms of what it is important to be a citizen what it is important to be a human being what it is important to be an American I worked in the makeshift morgue we collected all the bodies, you know, saying, I'm sorry for your loss, it's very difficult because it almost became like he wrote, you know, Stacy Goodman, a police detective, is one of the voices that Dr.
Luft recorded on what is now I called the project oral history of the World Trade Center at one point this uh senior I think he was a retired firefighter comes with his hands cupped and he has bones in his hands and he walks up to the medical examiner and puts the bones in front of him he says, this is my son, what are you saying? No one could know 9/11 like these people do. We asked several respondents to give us an idea of the hours of testimony they have devoted to Dr. Love's project. the rubble and people running towards us.
I couldn't even get to Tower one. I arrived at the base of tower two. Carol Faulkner was a police officer on the scene before the towers fell. This big FBI guy from Brawley had her shield around her. I grabbed her neck and I looked at him and he told me there were about six officers there with me and he said, "if you want to live, you better leave now," he said, "we're all going to die, I say I can." We can't leave, I'm not leaving and the offices I was in there weren't leaving either and we continued to evacuate and do our jobs, but you know, we were all like wow, we're going to die, you know, my partner got trapped. when the first tower collapsed, that's her on the left after getting out of the rubble, she is with a fellow police officer and a woman they rescued.
I was one of the guys who was able to get something out alive, very few were saved, except the police sergeant. Richard Doyler helped bring out an unlikely survivor, a fellow police officer named John McLaughlin who was given to them. John was giving John McLaughlin morphine because the plan was that if we couldn't get him out, they were going to cut off his legs. John shouted. pain when we initially pulled them, so we let it rest and watched it intensely pulled again and released them and pulled it out. The boy takes a deep breath. Benjamin Luft is a doctor who volunteered to help create a 911 clinic.
First responders at Stony Brook University Medical Center, part of the State University of New York, more than 6,000 first responders enrolled in the Health Program World Trade Center. One study shows that almost a third of those who worked at Ground Zero have asthma. 42 percent suffer from sinusitis. 40 percent have gastroesophageal reflux disease known as GERD and many have reactive airway dysfunction syndrome that patients simply call RADS. When you are a doctor and you see patients, you tend to reduce them to their symptoms and signs to their medical conditions and that's how you think about them. He loved listening to their stories in the exam room for eight years when he realized that his patients were the perpetrators of one of the most dramatic chapters in American history her story of what happened on 9/11 she became hysterical she got a cell phone I called her uh the Trade Center was hit by a plane with her own money, some donations and a small staff , mostly volunteer, started his interviews so far, he has logged 137.
When the building imploded, he threw me out of the building and I was left able to hold on to the door with my left arm, the first thing I found was an entire body burned in bars reinforcement, uh, they put a line around our waist. I say, well, I'll go this way. I'm meandering. My belly flops and says there's no way you can get me out and the guy just looks at me. He wasn't there, it wasn't to take us out, it was just to find us, if we died well, we expected to see two tall buildings. who saw the most powerful nation in the world skeleton, how could this happen?
There is no clearer interpretation of what happened on 9/11 than ours in these stories, who these people are, of course, we have the firefighters, the police officers and the EMS workers and then us. we have the volunteer firefighters and then you have the ironworkers and the construction workers and the 9/11 workers. All Americans responded from all walks of life. I was in the last year of high school. I realized I had to go there. I'm not. I don't know how I'm going to help. I don't know what he can do. My whole family is police. I am number 13 and my family will be a New York City Police Officer.
I am a licensed massage therapist. I just felt like I had to be down there helping these people knowing that what I do for a living can help these people. I worked for the New Hampshire Highway Department. I knew that road construction jobs like that never qualified me for something like this and I learned quickly although we spent a few hours with some of the first responders from Stony Brook University and as we listened we realized that for them today is not Sunday the tenth anniversary of something that happened, it's the tenth year of something that never ends, in a sense, it's always 9/11.
John Gallagher is a former New York City fire captain who suffers from pulmonary fibrosis, scars on his lungs that are only getting worse, the World Trade Center is still taking lives, yes people have had their lives shortened, People have lost their fathers, their mothers, cancers from lung diseases, anything. you can imagine blood borne diseases people are still dying by hand how many of you have been experiencing medical problems as a result of the work you did in those days almost all of you Bill, give me an idea of what you have been working on in terms of health I have asthma I have nodules in both lungs sinusitis rhinitis Bill Fisher was a New York City police officer now retired I never smoke I don't drink I go to the gym as often as I can and it's not as much as I would like to, I literally have a bucket with about 20 medicines, a plastic bucket that I have to take something during the day.
This is Bill Fisher, he worked at Ground Zero for four months and like thousands of others he was covered in dust containing carcinogens Asbestos and toxins too numerous to list Ken George was there too, he helped recover human remains Ken, which Has your health experience been? Oh I have a list, everyone has a list, it seems it started with the 911 cough I had which led to me having RADS restricted airway disease, which means I can't get enough oxygen in or out, like these people said to the sinuses. I have all that, so it's getting out of control, you know what I mean and who knows in five years. the line if I'm going to end up with cancer, you know, I just want to make sure my family is taken care of if something happens, you know, I don't want them on the streets, any pain, paying their medical bills has been a struggle.
Funding for the World Trade Center health program was never secure until this year, when Congress guaranteed coverage, but that guarantee lasts only the next five years. Mental illness and trauma are likely to last a lifetime. One thing no one has mentioned, but we all have it. The baggage and we have it forever is post-traumatic stress. Yes, Tyree Bacon was a high-ranking judicial official who worked 10 blocks from the World Trade Center. He reached the towers before they collapsed. Those of us who wear uniforms make the worst of our living.
minutesof everyone's lives, 911 was much longer than 10
Post-traumatic stress is something I have a problem with. I spent a month after being trapped in the collapse, waking up on the ground trying to find my way out. my own room that lasted over a month this is Tyree bacon in the oral history project
rememberinga woman who grabbed him by the shirt when one of the towers was falling and I told him I said honey don't worry I promise we're going out hence why live like that flat, we would die where we were um if I didn't have her, she probably would have curled up in the fetal position just waiting to die when that first responder went down to Ground Zero who were experiencing traumatic events in rapid succession buildings falling beams falling tripping already you know, people jumping off buildings seeing huge amounts of Carnage the fires the fires now aren't happening over a 10 second period, they're happening over weeks and months and the same person is experiencing it over and over again the jumpers I think were the worst , you know, seeing them jump and pulverize right in front of you, you know, that was just horrible, there was a sound, yeah, that made that the first thing.
At first I didn't know what that sound was and then you go to see what that sound was and you realize it was a person who just jumped if it's so bad up there you have to jump you know a lot of things that we couldn't I see that almost invariably people come to us afterwards and says, "You know, doctor," this is the first time I can talk about this, this is the first time I can tell others what really happened on 9/11 in the three months since. I was there and we found very, very few victims, we found pieces but no bodies.
That was the first time I talked about my experiences on 9/11. I found it therapeutic how many years went by without talking about 9/11. years why I didn't want to replay it I didn't want you to know I lived it I didn't want to relive it I didn't think it was a great idea because I think a lot of us buried that day Christine Familetti was a New York City police officer now retired and really take out The topic to be brought up and discussed in depth was, uh, there were a few. I was a little afraid of that in the long run.
I was glad I did it. This is how I overcame my PTSD by talking about it and sometimes it's hard sometimes it's not but it's helped me a lot talking about it helps me sleep at night I think a lot of people at home would like to know after 10 years, would you consider in terms of your mental health? Would you consider many of these patients to be better? I think they are better off from the standpoint of moving on with their lives and having become much more adaptable. but I don't think they will ever leave it behind, it is a constant part of their lives.
I think that's true for any big event that occurs, but especially true for this event that was seared into your consciousness. Dr. Loveson's reviews are now a documentary as well. a book called we're not going to leave Officer Carol Faulkner's memorable quote to that FBI agent who had urged her to lead the prophets will go to scholarships and job training for first responders and their families John Field was a demolition expert who helped move the These men and women to my left and to my right behind me did the best of the best with America offered 10 years ago, we cannot change history and through their eyes they are telling America what they have seen, what they did and what they are going through 10 years later and that is priceless now, the Library of Congress is considering adding the interviews to its permanent collection to preserve them forever, so that Generations can hear the unedited and unadorned reality as How do people experience it?
Was there anything you wanted to say? The real heroes of these things are dead. Thank you absolutely. They are not here. Nobody here is a hero. We just did what everyone else did. The real heroes or people entered those buildings. and they never made it all began in Manhattan almost two months ago in a place that would forever be known as ground zero an act of terrorism and mass murder that ignited the war that now has no end in sight. We have learned about the people who died there the assassins who killed there the heroes who still work there tonight for the first time we take them below ground zero to a once vibrant underground city within a city that is nowa 16-acre cemetery, a place where the reconstruction effort, both physical and psychological, faces extraordinary challenges.
Seven weeks and a day after the attack on the United States Twin Towers, there is still smoke in the air at Ground Zero. put out the underground fires it will be several more months before all the rubble here will be cut up and then there will be even more daunting, dangerous and time-consuming cleanup work, digging up and repairing what can't be seen here: the tunnels, garages and underground shopping center below Ground Zero Ken Holton New York Department Commissioner Design and Construction is the city's point man in cleanup effort, says debris from tall towers crashed into the roof of this building, Building 6 of the World Trade Center and through the six basement floors.
Underground, large chunks of that heavy façade fell away and presumably from the floor. you know from the top floor it's 90 or so and just go through the center of this building, go through all nine floors of this building and you'll see when we go underground and you'll go through a lot of the concrete slabs that create the parking structure, the rubble of some of the individual pieces. a 30 ton weight crashed through building six creating an open space that looks like an atrium, it left much of the building unstable above ground and below, be very careful here, many of these blocks are loose, there are cracks and fissures on the stairs below and walls, everyone, here's a big crack in this, yes, the worst was yet to come, it's still very dangerous down here, a war zone, the further down we go, the darker, gloomier and dustier it gets until I have all those concrete blocks over your head, so please. just keep an eye out, try to stay under them, they are only held by cables, you can smell the smoke and when the wind changes in certain pockets, there is a unique and unmistakable smell of death, there was devastation everywhere, so much damage to the superstructure which, frankly, we were surprised to see anything still standing and these are the huge columns, the huge exterior columns that hold up the outside of the building and you can see that the force of the fire and the explosion has basically been sheared off, so when You look at it from the outside and you see that the north façade is leaning against this building and that's why it's leaning because they've been cut when you see an intact building Ken, you don't think it's possible that this kind of thing could happen, no, no.
We are seeing very unusual circumstances throughout this building. We continue descending. This is level B3, three floors below Ground Zero. We entered what used to be a garage for the federal government employees who worked in the building. The daylight you see filters from that giant. crater at the bottom of what Holden calls the atrium I call it the atrium obviously it wasn't an atrium and you can see cars hanging here cars down here oh God, this is a car with its tires burned obviously the rubber has been burned it has burned the fire here it was very hot obviously all these cars are burned but you will be able to see above I think it is over here I see that the aluminum hubcap has just melted that is a puddle of aluminum from the fire this is what is left of the hubcap yes, there is a car down there, be careful, there is a muffler and it is a car down there, this is really disturbing because you realize that it is not just a cemetery for cars, a cemetery for some people, where tens of thousands of people used to come.
These underground tunnels every day not only to work in the towers and park their cars but also to visit a large underground shopping center. Thousands of people came here to shop every day. Lord, it was a city beneath the city. A very, very vibrant place. A very vibrant place. The shops were here, plus the restaurants, 15 to 25,000 people per building between the people who actually work there and you have the one and nine trains that run through the middle of the complex, you have the PATH trains. I mean this is huge, this was a mini mini underground city.
I will be low ground. We still had three floors left to reach the railway tunnels. It was pitch black, disorienting and slippery. The floor was slippery with oil and gas. of abandoned cars and warned us that the floor could collapse at any moment. You see these cracks right here. Yes, right here. This is a cracked slab. You can see it goes all the way. Yes. Under normal conditions, in a normal world, this is not a place, I would recommend taking anyone to work, that's the reason we want to keep moving here because this is unstable, the commuter train line is six stories under zero, miraculously perhaps no one died at this station the day the towers and the TA fell.
It's like when there's a fire to evacuate, so all of these, both the PATH trains and the subways, were evacuated when the buildings were on fire, so when they collapsed no one was hurt. I mean, we lost a lot of people but we saved a lot more than ourselves. than we lost 35,000 commuters used to come to this station from New Jersey every day, but it all stopped just five minutes after Tower One collapsed six stories above all the things we've seen and we've seen some incredible things today. this empty training is pretty airy, it's pretty creepy and the sign that says next stop home, I mean that's really touching, luckily there was no one on the train and this was evacuated, everything was evacuated, no one was hurt down here, but two may be necessary.
Years before trains start running here again and even longer before a nearby subway line is fixed, there are hundreds of miles of wires, pipes and cables that will be replaced by the end of next year. Commissioner Holden hopes to have his area above and below ground. zero price clarified two and a half billion dollars Ken estimated how much debris he has already removed, we have probably removed somewhere in the area of four hundred thousand tons, the initial estimates that we put together with FEMA, the federal emergency agency were somewhere in the area and with the Port Authority or something in the area of 1.2 million tons, so we're probably about a third of the way there, it's 1.2 million tons of steel and debris, most of the surface, almost all of the surface. we are just starting to fall short and to those who say I appreciate your spirit but you must be fooling yourself it just can't be done they say one we'll make it we took one on the chin and got hit on the back of the head. but like all New Yorkers we will get up, dust off our clothes and get back to doing what we do best, but removing the rubble that is underground is a logistical dilemma, an engineering nightmare when the World Trade Center complex collapses. built 30 years ago.
A huge retaining wall called a diaphragm wall was built underground. The wall is three feet wide and 60 to 70 feet deep. It was designed to prevent water from the Hudson River, just a few blocks away, from flooding the six-story basements. here is your diaphragm wall, this is probably an Old Tie, the other side of this is a Hudson River well, the other side of this is mud, but the water table here is extremely high because we are very close to the river so They needed special construction techniques the huge underground containment structure is nicknamed the bath that's the difference the bathtub in their house is designed to keep the water in this keeps it out so they could build the parking structures in the ground here to do 30 years that the wall has been supported by the floors and the basement floors that have now buckled due to all the damage.
Ken Holden's engineers will have to shore up the wall with over a thousand cables to keep it from collapsing, you know. we drill back through the three foot wall, we drill 85 feet or so to the bedrock, then we drill 35 feet into the bedrock, then we take basically the same type of cables that they use in bridges, we basically inject concrete into it , we wait three days for it to cure and then they tighten those cables and that held the wall something something fell once the permanent we're fine we're fine Commissioner Holden knows he can never let his guard down here and he's worried about the structural integrity of the wall when demolition begins nearby as we speak now parts of the diaphragm wall have been damaged a bit is some water leaking or not much?
There is no more water seeping through the screen wall now than under normal circumstances, but it is a constant battle. to keep it dry here to prevent flooding even when the water is intact there are several inches of water in these tunnels but this water does not filter from the river this comes from not in the water of a firefighter exactly saving the wall is essential If the tunnels are flood, the water could flood train and subway lines and destabilize nearby buildings. I don't know about you, there's a hair in the back of her next video.
I've been, I've been here too many times, my hair. They're a little worn, well maybe you'll forgive some of us. Ken Holden is under enormous pressure to get the job done underground and above, but he knows he can't lose his sensitivity or perspective, so it was probably about two weeks ago when a firefighter dad was walking around asking us to postpone the construction operation on the road, he basically pointed to a path on his left and said you guys already buried my best friend here and I'm looking for my son here and he was. Pointing to the area where we are building another road, I saw out of the corner of my eye the father climbing the pile of rubble with a shovel and picking up shovelfuls of rubble looking for a son that way and then through Spade falls back and continues to climb and looking for his fateful one, so it was probably one of my most moving moments.
Seven weeks and one day have passed, firefighters and other rescue workers still begin 24 hours a day at Ground Zero searching for the bodies of the thousands of people who have died here. They do not want to leave anyone behind. Do they consider it sacred ground? or is it now moving to a construction site? Demolition and construction to be able to work here every day. I think I have to do it. move away from sacred ground considerations and move toward a construction site, but I think you can't work here without being aware of the fact that these are people here, they're suffering here, there are dead bodies here and uh. and you need to treat this terrain differently than you would any other construction site since the attack on Ground Zero.
Ken Holden and his troops have been in the rubble almost every day. It hasn't been easy, but America is at war and Commissioner Holden plans to win. I think my attitude is probably the same as most of the guys here working day in and day out on the pile 60 years ago, when the Nazis were around. brought were bombing Britain and the British people were pulling their families, friends and neighbors from the rubble uh Winston Churchill said uh foreigner T we will fail we will not falter we will not tire we will not we will not Shot just give us the tools and we will finish the job this was the year ground zero was supposed to be transformed into a soaring statement of the American spirit the site of the 9/11 attack on New York was to be a global landmark larger than the previous World Trade Center Plans were announced for the America's tallest tower, its most beautiful train station and one of its most solemn monuments, so we wonder why Ground Zero is still a hole in the ground.
We recently returned to Lower Manhattan and discovered that eight and a half years later, much of ground zero is still marking time joy on 9/11 the emotions return Félix Antonio Valle Iván valet the pain for the 2,752 people murdered here the feeling of 300 millions of Americans united in one place and the desire to fight back by filling the void in the heart of New York, but today this is Ground Zero, much of it is still a pit where there are supposed to be five skyscrapers, a memorial, a museum, a theater and a transit center, so when you look at where this project is after eight years, how would you describe it?
I describe this as a National Disgrace. I am the most frustrated person in the world. Larry Silverstein is a New York real estate magnate who believed he would rebuild Ground Zero. It is difficult to contemplate the amount of time that has been spent here, the tragic loss of time and what could have been what could have been instead of what it is today. Silverstein owns a 99-year lease on the property that gave him right to rebuild the buildings here, but on the day we visited Silverstein had difficulty even getting past the guard. On the spot, the delay at the door is a symptom of how much the relationship between Silverstein and the government agency that is supposed to be his partner has deteriorated.
Ground Zero is owned by the Port Authority of New York andNew Jersey is a giant. of a bureaucracy that responds to the governors and legislatures of both states. The port, as it is called, runs bridges, tunnels and airports. The only skyscrapers that had been built were the Twin Towers. Today, 40 years ago, the port is responsible for preparing Ground Zero for construction. but it's years behind schedule billions over budget and there's no end in sight, keep going over it, come on, these buildings may not be finished until the Ports schedule, which is 20 37. now 70 eight years old old, I want to see this done in my lifetime, this is what you were supposed to see now.
We built a model of the master plan that was announced seven years ago by architect Daniel Leviskin, the winner of the competition to rebuild Ground Zero. It is something for the public to enjoy and affirm. that feeling of unity in life Libiskind wanted to put a very large tower at the north end of the site right here. Paul Goldberger wrote a book about the project. He is an architecture critic for the New Yorker magazine. It had the gardens at the top and the Spire. Up to 1,776 feet there would be gardens here that would form what he called a critical park, yes, that's right, and then a series of other office towers that would spiral up to the climax of number one.
This is Libiskin's plan. It seemed like early 2003 when what people in this country thought was going to be built here was chosen. Yes, so did Libiskind, I think actually, but it wasn't the problem that started with the tallest tower. Silverstein didn't think the design was sensible. commercial real estate, so he insisted on hiring a new architect. After a battle of egos, the curtain was drawn to reveal the design of a second tower, but this was the beginning of a pattern of many models that do not exist. buildings in The site of a construction site Ground Zero became a stage for elaborate but meaningless ribbon cuttings and inaugurations.
This spectacle was more than five years ago when New York Governor George Pataki laid the cornerstone for the second version of the tower. Today we take Adirondack Granite, the foundation of our state, and place it as the foundation of this new symbol of American strength and confidence. The granite with its inscription honoring the fallen and the enduring spirit of freedom was to be solid proof. as a rock that the project was underway today we built the Freedom Tower, but the Freedom Tower was not built either, but instead became a symbol of bureaucratic clumsiness. It turned out that communications with the police department had broken down after construction began.
The NYPD said the tower was vulnerable to truck bombs. Construction stopped for a while. year while a third version was being designed and introduced, unfortunately it had become much more common, the NYPD required it to be raised 200 feet above the street to protect it, so it is standing on a pedestal, so it is a good way to say it San Diego. Unfortunately, I would put it in the building on top of a concrete bunker. The governor called it the Freedom Tower, but I said that at one point I wondered if it shouldn't be called the Tower of Fear instead of being called the Tower of Fear.
The Port Authority changed the name. Freedom was abandoned in favor of a World Trade Center. Construction is currently underway on that 20-story explosion-proof pedestal, but most of the rest of the ground zero project remains a question mark, including plans for two spectaculars. Billion Dollar Train Station Hello Bravo, it was in 2005 and in another of those impressive ceremonies in which the Port Authority inaugurated the station designed by star architect Santiago Calatrava. The station was due to be completed last year, but the cost has now doubled to $4 billion. and this is what has been done, the Calatrava train station, as originally announced, is supposed to be here in front of us, then the Port Authority said okay, 2011, 2011.
Will it be there in 2011 next anus? Judge the excavation for yourself. It was supposed to be done a long time ago It's still in progress What went wrong Good Failure has many architects A tough businessman like Silverstein resisted building landmarks that didn't make business sense to him The Port Authority didn't have the staff or administration to lead the development of the Grand Master Plan and because the port is a state agency, the most powerful mayor in the nation, Michael Bloomberg, became a spectator amidst the politics of egos and incompetence, and you have a project that is still in a trench that now has Ground Zero. fell into the hands of Chris Ward Ward is the last CEO of the Port Authority, he was hired a year and a half ago specifically to get Ground Zero off the ground for me, this is my dream job, this was the job I always wanted, This ate three CEOs before you, now you are number four, I am number four, well, you know, fortune favors, the neighborhood of the daring has experience in the construction of large projects and a title from the School from Harvard Theology which doesn't hurt in something as complicated as this.
Ward set new deadlines and budgets and is fighting to keep them. Almost everyone agrees that he is doing better than his predecessors. Ward told us that one of the reasons the work has failed is the enormous complexity of coordinating so many projects on one site - the basement is 16 acres and seven. deep stories everything is interconnected a delay in one place can block all the work this is like a game of Pickup Sticks down here each part of this project plays another piece Ward sounds confident, but he's just trying to ask about the designs being shown to the public.
These things are going to be built, can you really say that at this point what I can tell you is that downtown will come back. We asked for an update on all the major buildings, number one World Trade Center and we will finish at the end of 2013. two World Trade Center their completion date is uncertain at this time three World Trade Center same I don't know what is going to be built there not yet for the completion date of the World Trade Center um in 2014. five World Trade Center five World Trade Center is uncertain at this time the Performing Arts Center is uncertain at this time much of the uncertainty comes from the second disaster that hit the Manhattan financial district.
The financing of the Great Recession and the demand for office space have exhausted the Hulk. It is fair to say that the most sensitive piece of all is the monument imagined in this animation two waterfalls in the footsteps of the original Towers demanded by the families promised by politicians the monument is the ports to build Ward promised to have it open by the tenth anniversary next year, but we found out that its promise depends on what the meaning of open is, are you talking about it being completed? it will open and stay open, that's what I want to make clear first of all, we will still be surrounded by building construction, so essentially it will open on the 10th anniversary and then go away. to close I wouldn't want to say close, but we can't have an open, fluid job site when there will be heavy materials, cranes, tractor-trailers that will continue to feed this like a construction site on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. $7 billion will have been spent but no project will be finished, most of the buildings in the master plan are in doubt, and at best, a decade after the attack, Ground Zero will look like this when the plan was announced. master plan, it was a dream.
And I wonder what killed the dream. What killed the dream was that it was gradually devoured by politics, by money and the enormous complexity of bureaucracy and by the lack of a leader with a real vision. New York has had visionary leaders in the past. Smith, the former governor, built the Empire State Building in one year during the Great Depression, but since 9/11 there have been three New York governors, four Port Authority CEOs and no one to see the project through to the end of the year. Next chapter can be written. by the judges in January, an arbitration court threatened to create its own construction deadlines if Silverstein and the Port Authority failed to submit a new plan by March.
You just want to work together to make this happen and bring this to a successful conclusion. The point is that you and the port are no longer speaking, well, we are speaking, but not to defend the way one would expect. Our hope to speak with their attorneys, unfortunately, not even 20 tons of Adirondack granite survived this project. The cornerstone ceremoniously laid on Independence Day nearly six years ago was unceremoniously removed from the site and sent back to the manufacturer. We found her where she rests now 40 miles away. Along a highway on Long Island, a monument to the land's changing plans and uncertain future. zero In times like this with the bombs in Boston, many of us can't help but be drawn to the horrific events of September 11, 2001.
About a year from now, at Ground Zero in New York City, one of the The world's largest and most ambitious memorial museums are scheduled to open their doors to tell the story of that day. The National 9/11 Memorial Museum will actually be located underground seven floors below. It is a project that has been plagued by delays. financing battles and even a flood thanks to Hurricane Sandy, but if you can believe it, those things were the easy part, the biggest challenge, how do you convey the horror of 9/11 without making it unbearable? It memorializes a day that most of us wish we could forget.
Tonight we'll take you downstairs for a first in-depth look at what will be our nation's 9/11 Museum. Ground Zero on Earth is today a place of reconstruction and Remembrance at its Center is a Serene Memorial Plaza with two giant cascading pools, twin voids placed in the footprints where the towers of the World Trade Center once stood, each pool is surrounded by names, 2983 of them plus some that didn't even have a name. It is calm and powerful as more than 7 million people have come so far to touch, feel and in some cases mourn parents, sisters, children, but you.
I won't find anything here about what really happened on 9/11. Nothing about the buildings, the planes, nothing about the terrorists, that will all be the work of the museum and its director, Alice Greenwald, we literally occupy the space under Memorial Plaza and it is art, so we are walking, you are walking on the roof of the museum, this is not Greenwald's first work on a project on a painful topic, she came here from the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C, just be careful, Leslie, it is a construction site, but At this construction site, the Problems go far beyond where to place the walls.
Virtually every decision here is filled with meaning as you descend past two 50-ton beams salvaged from the rubble into a space. Welcome to the breath-taking Foundation Hall. It's disturbing and it's a little chilling to know that you are in the belly of ground zero, in the place where so many innocent people lost their lives, so here we are, we are right where the buildings collapsed. We're on it. Most museums are buildings that house artifacts. We are a museum in an artifact where we are, it is almost sacred. I think you become super aware of where you are standing and that is something powerful, it is something very powerful, it is authentic, it is sacred and the house we spoke with four families. members who are also members of the Museum's board of directors, Paula Grant Barry's husband, David, worked in Tower Two, as did Monica Eichen's husband, Michael, and Thula Katsa Matitus's brother, John, was in Tower One and Tom Roger's daughter, Jean, was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11.
The site radiates something to all of us in a very special way. This is where the final resting place of our loved ones is. It has to be there. It has to be there. Yes, and you can feel it. This is the remnant of the exterior structure that formed the Twin Towers. One of Greenwald's first challenges in this sacred space was deciding where the 9/11 story should begin. We start with the voices of people from all over the world. He was driving to work remembering where they were when they found out about the attack. The idea is to recognize that most visitors will bring their own memories of 9/11, which was witnessed within hours by people around the world.
Business partner who came to turn on the television. Greenwald says we are all 9/11 survivors, so it's appropriate that visitors descend on the main exhibits. From the museum next to a massive staircase now clad in wood that served as an escape route on 9/11, hundreds of people ran to safety up the staircase. The so-called Survivor ladder is one of severalartifacts so large that the museum had to be built around them. like this fire truck lowered through a roof hatch that will honor the 441 first responders of whom lost their lives and the famous last column, the last massive remnant of the towers that will be removed from the site, so there is no sound, but we found that some of the more powerful things on display here, okay, so that's Flight 11.
It takes incredible, they won't be physical artifacts at all. Oh look, the second Queen, a large projection on the wall will show the morning of 9/11 as it unfolded in the air. flight 11 is hijacked oh my god meanwhile flight 77 leaves with the simultaneous flight Paths of the four Plains and now flight 93 takes off oh the impact has already happened in New York look at this and then flight 93 is hijacked it circles between the agonizing decisions for The museum should include the voice messages left by passengers aboard those planes and other victims of 9/11 for their loved ones. An advisor told Greenwall to think of these recordings as a form of human remains.
What he said and I have never forgotten. that sound can be a more emotional form of communication because you hear the timbre of the human voice. Includes some recordings. Ask permission from family members and use them only for one purpose. This one from flight attendant CeCe Lyles to her husband as a testament to the professionalism of the hijacked cruise ship she's so composed she's on flight attendant she's in flight attendant mode and at the end of the call she says something like I hope to see you again honey, oh Oh my goodness and of course the audio is just the start of the delicate questions about what should be on display, let me ask you what's up with some of the horrible shots for example of people jumping, this is probably the one as far as I'm concerned , the most delicate question for this museum.
We went through a lot of internal debate about how to do it. We showed that side of the story on the morning of 9/11. Joe Daniels emerged from the subway to the gruesome scene of bodies falling from the North Tower. Today he is president of the 911 Memorial and Museum. You never want to have to see that someone. one hundred stories high to three hundred meters high having to make those kinds of decisions at the same time there is a very strong feeling that this was part of the story that a group of people from this Al Qaeda group put innocent people in a position to have to do that when you think about what terrorism means, this really says that it is absolutely impossible for a human being to do something to another human being and yet it became possible on 9/11.
So for us to not acknowledge that would be It's not true to the story, but with videos of people falling or photographs and what about the feelings of family members. Greenwald told us that he knows some will never want to see an exhibit on this topic, but many argued strongly that it had to be that way. being there I have to say that we were also um I don't want to say Acosta that's a little strong but you know shaken by the lapels by relatives who said we have to tell the story don't whitewash this story tell it like that the world needed to know it so finally We decided to include an exhibition, but to do it in an alcove where people will be clearly warned if they do not want to see it or their family to see it, they can easily avoid it.
One exhibit they want everyone to see is what Greenwall calls the heart of this museum, a space dedicated to honoring the lives of the victims with photographs of each one. Of them they cover the walls those giant walls that are out there they go to the end each space will be covered with faces yes, the impression will be that you are surrounded by almost 3,000 faces these are the photographs that will cover those walls look at those faces, look at all those faces, are between two and a half years old and 85 years old, from more than 90 countries, all sectors of the economy, all possible ethnic groups, visitors will be able to search these interactive tables and access the profiles of each person with photographs and recorded memories. by family and friends like this by Paul Aquaviva's father, who died in Tower One, he literally never had a bad word to say about anyone, he always looked at the positive, you know, I know, to be honest with you, he didn't understood.
I say this on my behalf because sometimes I am very critical of myself, that was one of the most important things about billiards. Some of them are funny, some of them are sweet and we're not telling you who they are, their loved ones are telling you who. are visitors can also search by birthplace or by company if I call Cantor Canter Fitzgerald was the company that lost more employees than any other 658 people who died on September 11 again that company one of the 658 was John Cassimatitis and Thula's brothers , the four of us growing up, George John, Michael and I were there the day she brought photos to contribute to John's profile to the museum's chief curator.
Well, that's so cute. I know what it's like to look through the photos and choose. It was an extremely difficult time to do that, um, because you know you see him as a kid growing up, you know, and then as the best man at all of his best friends' weddings, you know, so it's good, which one do you choose because you're so sad? ? that the photos end here all the relatives share the devastation of their loss but the museum discovered that they are not a monolithic block they are the families of almost 3,000 people, you know, probably 10 20,000 people, all of whom have their own perspectives The wishes of your own ideas about what kind of museum should be here was absolutely every little thing up for discussion there were many questions like whether photographs of the perpetrators would be displayed and what about Osama Bin Laden, do they belong in the 911 museum?
Well, what was it? the argument for not showing Osama Bin Laden that in this real place where the atrocity took place, this cemetery to some extent. How can the memory of my loved one be degraded by showing the image of the person who murdered them? Family members took the opposite view. demanding accountability it was absolutely important to point the finger you have to tell the story you know we had to express we did this to our loved ones we don't want any child, adult or student to walk through this museum and not leave knowing who did it This is for us and that's why we're going to go ahead and show those images, but the museum also wants people to know the stories of heroism and altruism, the spirit of unity after the attacks, so here there will be tributes to the workers of recovery and volunteers.
When this museum opens next year, virtually no one under the age of 17 will have a firsthand memory of September 11, 2001. For nearly a quarter of the population, 911 will not be a searing memory, it will be something to remember . learn in a museum we are worried about the children who do not remember 9/11 yes and this is the way to say exactly what happened to future generations so that no one ever forgets even the painful, perhaps more particularly the painful right, no we are. Speaking of a simple event, you know, we are talking about a brutal attack on our country.
You know, where 3,000 people were innocent and were murdered that day.
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