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A New Horizon

September 11, 2001 will forever be remembered as the first time in modern history that a foreign enemy was able to successfully attack a target within the Continental United States. For days, Americans everywhere watched in horror as rescuers dug through the rubble in a largely hopeless, but necessary, attempt to locate survivors. For years, New Yorkers would be reminded of that terrible day by the ever present scar on the skyline – the empty space where the Twin Towers once stood. Scars as massive as this can never be removed; but, as the 14th anniversary approaches we can finally say that this scar has received a makeover.

Before the last of the rubble was removed, the decision had already been made that the Twin Towers, once an iconic fixture of the NYC skyline and now a symbol of the loss experienced on 9/11, must be rebuilt.  Rebuilding was necessary, not only because of the value downtown real estate holds but also because doing so would be a symbol of America’s refusal to be beaten. For almost 5 years designers debated, engineers poured over plans and officials negotiated, all in an attempt to develop a final plan which would not only meet these objectives but also stand as a tribute to those who lost their lives in the original Towers.

World Trade CenterOn April 27, 2006 underground construction began, and on May 10, 2013 the spire was added – taking the total height to 1,776 ft (a deliberate reference to 1776). Although the tower, officially known as One World Trade Center but unofficially referred to as the “Freedom Tower,” opened to the public on November 3, 2014, it was not until May 29, 2015 that the public observation deck opened, officially completing the construction.

At 104 stories, the new World Trade Center is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and fourth tallest in the world; but it will be much larger as a symbol of America’s determination following the attack, and as an everyday tribute to those who lost their lives in the collapse of the original Towers. 2,793 people perished that day including 2,192 civilians, 71 law enforcement officers and 343 fire fighters – another 147 passengers and crew died aboard the hijacked planes. Over the past 14 years, many Americans have lost sight of why we have spent much of that time fighting two wars half a world away. Many of the young men and women asked to do that fighting never saw the Towers or the NYC skyline they dominated. Although rebuilding the site will not bring back those lost or erase the horrors America has experienced since their fall, the finalization of the Freedom Tower will provide a tribute to remember them by and a place where friends and loved ones can feel a connection to those who were never recovered.

I left NYC prior to the attacks and, like many others, watched in horror as the Towers crumbled. I thought of how lucky I was that my wife no longer worked across the street and how sorry I was for friends and colleagues who were among the rescuers.  I have not returned to the site since the attacks, having no desire to see what remained, rather than what I remembered. Maybe now I will need to change that.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell

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