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The expression "Ground Zero" has several meanings. Previously this phrase had only a general meaning—it meant "an area where any explosion took place," "the epicenter of an earthquake." However, after September 11, 2001, the expression "Ground Zero" became associated with the tragic events of that day when terrorists hijacked four airplanes and directed them at several major US structures, including the World Trade Center (WTC) Towers, located in the southern part of Manhattan in New York.
Nowadays "Ground Zero" is considered to be a new beginning from when the world started living a different reality. This expression also has a direct meaning—the level at which construction of the World Trade Center first began and the level at which it ceased to exist as firefighters and first responders continued to clear the rubble and debris in search of survivors...and the dead.
The original World Trade Center was a complex of seven buildings, designed by Minoru Yamasaki, an American architect of Japanese descent. It was officially opened on April 4, 1973. The two Twin Towers were the architectural dominating structure of this complex. Each tower had 110 stories: The North Tower (417 meters high, 526.3 meters high including the roof antenna) and the South Tower (415 meters high). For some time after the completion of the buildings the WTC Twin Towers were the highest skyscrapers in the world, even taller than the Empire State Building. Oftentimes, the towers were referred to as "the symbol of the US world domination" and one of the reasons why they became the terrorists' targets.
For the past ten years, the construction of a massive Memorial has been underway. However, the construction will continue past the proposed opening date of the ten-year anniversary, as "Ground Zero" is a very sensitive subject for Americans. Every idea associated with this memorial is the subject of lengthy discussions. As a result, the plans for the "Ground Zero" museum construction in place of the World Trade Center couldn't be completed for many years because of the criticism from the family members of the perished. The construction of the museum will not be completed by September, 2011, but the opening is planned for next year.
There was no consensus to place the cross where the tragedy took place because the representatives of other non-Christian religions were against it. Furthermore, Christians belonging to different denominations joined the discussion and began debating about the type of cross (Lutheran, Catholic or some other type) they wanted placed where thousands of people of different denominations lost their lives.
Nevertheless, the Memorial Complex will officially open its doors to visitors on the 10th-year anniversary of the Nine Eleven tragedy. It is known that it will have waterfalls, when listening to them one will remember about the perished people and think about the short duration of life. These water cascades are going to become the largest man-made structure of this kind in North America. After going through different levels, the water will finally fall into the pools situated at the locations where the World Trade Center towers once stood.
The presented panorama was originally created in 2006 and then digitally reconstructed in September, 2011, to show the view of New York in year 2001. With its help we can imagine how Manhattan looked before 9/11 when the World Trade Center towers still stood there.