Friday, January 12, 2018





“ Five years from the date of the attack that changed our world, we have come back to remember the valor of those we lost …. Those who innocently went  to work that day and the brave souls who went  in after them.  We have also come to be ever mindful of the courage of those who grieve for them,  and the light that still lives in their hearts “

Rudolph  Giuliani… Mayor New York City 

From  Midtown Manhattan , we take a downtown Metro  train to visit GROUND ZERO (World Trade Centre) . As the air conditioned train moves over the rails, the thud of the wheels is clearly heard and experienced by us . Passengers are well guided by continuous announcements .System, discipline and order is visible. You have maps and electronic displays about next station and total track . Trains move underground .Thanks to E Sreedharan ( Metro Man ) , I find our New Delhi Metro train journey a little better .

We arrive at the spot where twin towers of WTC collapsed in the terrorist attack on 11th September 2001 .The spot is presently known as Ground Zero. The basement of the old Towers has been converted into a memorial. A huge concrete container / tank like structure with another tank at its centre  is the open memorial. . Water pours from all sides . On the top surface of this memorial , you find names  of many  innocents who died in this tragedy .

Thousands of people were trapped in the upper floors of the towers that collapsed . Many died when the planes hit, and more perished as the fires raged and when the towers collapsed. Some jumped to their deaths to escape the conflagration and the smoke. The towers went down, one after the other, and filled the streets with rubble and dust. 2,606 people died in the towers. 373 brave and daring fire fighters who entered the towers for rescue mission also died . With them died dedicated and daring 23 New York city police officers and 37 officers from the Port Authority .

At the Pentagon in Washington, 184 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building. Near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, 40 passengers and crew members aboard the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 died when the hijackers crashed the plane into fields. In all, more than 2980 innocents were killed.

We were informed that the nearby St. Paul’s Chapel served as the place for rest and refuge for recovery workers at WTC site though tons of debris moved towards the church after collapse of the towers .  The Marriott  Hotel ( WTC ) . a 22 story steel framed hotel building that stood close to twin towers  was also destroyed due to falling debris . Some guests and employees of the hotel that was packed to capacity that day  also died due to collapse of this structure . Another Building known as Verizon Building  that was close to the twin towers , also suffered extensive damage in this attack. The Deutsche Bank building near the twin towers also suffered total  extensive damage due to falling avalanches of debris , dust and ash.

The Winter Garden Atrium  along with the rest of the World Financial Centre that was completed in 1988 also got destroyed in this attack. The Atrium was connected to WTC via pedestrian bridge 400 feet in length .The Winter Garden Atrium  was rebuilt  within one year of the tragedy .

We were informed that THE SALVATION ARMY  was the first relief agency that reached Ground Zero  on the fateful day. They reported at the site  within half an hour following the first plane crash  . More than 39000 volunteers of the Salvation Army did commendable relief work  . They distributed  food , clothes and  medicines among survivors and rescue workers . They   did emotional and spiritual  counseling  to survivors and recovery staff. They also ensured adequate shelter and sleeping arrangement for survivors and rescue  workers .

The original WTC was a large complex of seven buildings in Lower Manhattan. The twin towers were two of these seven buildings .  The tallest structure in old complex was a tower with  110 stories and 1730 feet  in height .

A new tower complex has  now come up near  Ground Zero , along with a memorial.  This complex is known as ONE WORLD  TRADE CENTRE . The New” One world Trade Centre”  is a vision that combines everything . It has safe commercial space . It is well planned , convenient and  modern in layout. Apart from several towers , it also has a museum , retail space and a  performing arts  centre.   The tallest tower in this complex is  known as Freedom Tower. This Freedom Tower  is 1776 feet in height  with  104 stories.



 At the Memorial on Ground Zero , one reads the names of the innocents  who lost their lives . So many young men , women and seniors. Many loving sons , affectionate husbands, caring fathers , devoted mothers , dedicated sisters ,  compassionate  daughters , caring wives and  sympathetic  friends .Our eyes turn moist . Even the strongest among us turn gloomy. No human  being likes such heartbreaking  loss of innocent lives  and destruction  .


As we stand near the memorial, a woman comes with flowers . She wipes her tears as she places these flowers near her son's name written at the memorial . How bad and painful for parents to outlive their children? We are informed that people keep coming here on birth anniversary of their loved ones . We are sad and feel choked.

( Avtar Mota )

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