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Remembering 9/11: Ground Zero over the decades

9/11 memorial
Posted at 3:56 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 20:24:16-04

This year marks 20 years since the 9/11 terror attacks. Two decades of remembering. Two decades of healing and perspective.

Every year, our nation takes pause, but for those who lost someone or those who escaped the towers, this day will always mean so much more.

It is overwhelming on television, and gut-wrenching in person. The list of names, thousands long, that to read each aloud takes hours. It is the longing for all the moments missed. It is the quest to understand.

I met the most eloquent 10-year-old Graham on the 10th anniversary right there at Ground Zero.

"I wanted to see the memorial and I thought I'd really enjoy seeing how much people care... which I did," he explained, seeming well beyond his years.

He wanted to know more about his grandma. "Sandra Lee Wright," he fondly proclaimed as he held up a traced sketch.

He had found her name that day among all those names, etched in stone.

It was the first time families were allowed into the Reflecting Pools... and the Memoria Museum. The Freedom Tower had only started to stretch to the patriotic height of 1,776 feet.

Every detail of the building, and this area, designed with precise care. Even those working the site had their own survivor stories.

Chief Engineer Linda Tollner was on the 72nd floor that day. "I was here that day... and it was such a surreal- so many things I saw and experienced - I was just so happy to have made it home," she confesses.

One World Trade Center would eventually open in 2014. And among all this growth, the survivors were changing, too.

For those like Gary Kimble, who survived and ultimately moved to Arizona after that experience, true healing took years. "And I have learned now, I am never a victim in life, ever again, whatever difficulties I have in life are merely a lesson for me to learn."