NEW YORK —
“This is the most visited spot in New York City now,” Madigan said. Yet, “there is so much more about New York, that I don’t think people would just associate 9/11 with New York.”
Likewise, Madigan keeps that day in perspective personally, though he literally walked through its darkness. “I live across the street from the World Trade Center [site], so I see it every day. I can’t forget it,” he said, “but I don’t have dreams or nightmares.”
Forgetting became all but impossible for some.
Marlon Drummond won’t forget the continual spray from fire hoses at ground zero for nearly a year afterward.
The 46-year-old works at Royal Bank of Canada in the 1 Liberty Plaza building, a 54-story skyscraper across the street from the World Trade Center. The implosion of the Twin Towers burst the windows of Liberty Plaza, leaving the interior walls impaled with huge panes of glass. Drummond was driving to work when he heard the news of the attacks on the radio, turned around and went back home. He and other Liberty Plaza employees couldn’t return to their jobs for nine months, while the soot-filled structure was gutted and renovated. The fires, still burning, greeted them.
“It sort of signifies not only how devastating [9/11 was], but how much it took from us,” Drummond said, while walking past the site in July. “And that was something you just can’t forget. Every day you’d come to work, and they were trying to put out the fire — for a whole year. That was incredible. And then the cleanup — it took three or four years to clean it up. It was incredible.”
The dousing and hauling of the rubble, Drummond said, “was a constant reminder.”
Today, the World Trade Center site continues to be the most visible sign of 9/11. Once the rebuilding project is complete, the 16-acre site will contain the shimmering 1 World Trade Center (formerly called the Freedom Tower), three slightly smaller skyscrapers, the WTC Transit Hub, and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The memorial will be unveiled Sunday, on the 10th anniversary, and features a plaza and two square pools of cascading water, labeled “Reflecting Absence,” which were created in the footprints of the original Twin Towers. An interactive museum will open next year, underground.