After eight difficult months, the cleanup of the destroyed World Trade Center is ending on Thursday, May 30. The mayor of New York City has chosen that day for a ceremony that will symbolize the end of the project to clean up the area known as "Ground Zero."
The Trade Center towers were destroyed on September 11th last year when terrorists flew airplanes into the two 110-story towers, causing them to collapse. The remaining rubble stood 10 stories high.
Now that the area is clear, the city will pause to reflect on the hard work already accomplished and begin a period of rebuilding.
Cleaning the area
Ground Zero has changed dramatically during the cleanup. When the effort began, it was considered a rescue mission with police officers, fire fighters, and other workers searching for survivors in the ruins.
But the last survivors were found on September 12, the day after the attacks, and shortly after that the focus turned to recovering remains.
Work has continued almost non-stop since the attack. At first the crews removed debris by buckets that were passed from hand to hand.
The site was so dangerous that rescue workers wrote their names and phone numbers on their arms so they could be identified in case they were lost and killed in the wreckage.
The army originally
suggested using explosives to blow up the remains of the World Trade
Center, but city officials rejected that idea, believing New York residents
weren't ready to hear more explosions in the area.
Ultimately, more than 108,000 truckloads of debris were removed from the site.
Now that the site is clear, no one is really sure what exactly is going to happen next.
What happens next
Of the 2,823 people killed in the World Trade Center disaster, only the remains of 1,058 have been identified.
Many victims' families consider that area their relatives' grave. They want the city to leave the land alone and build a memorial to those who died there.
The site is also a very large plot of land in a very crowded city.
New York lost 10 million square feet of office space when the Trade Center was destroyed, and most people involved believe it is vital to New York's economy that some of that office space be restored.
The Port Authority also wants to make up for the rent money they were getting from the World Trade Center.
The most controversial questions facing those who are developing the site is how much of it should be a memorial and how much should be offices and shops, and what the memorial and commercial buildings will look like.
What do you think? How should New York City decide what to build on ground zero? What would you do with the space?
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