9/11 Memorial pays tribute to those sickened by toxic air at Ground Zero

The dedication is fittingly the anniversary of the recovery’s end: May 30


New York Daily News

NEW YORK CITY — May 30, 2002, saw the Last Column reverently carried out from the World Trade Center site, marking the end of the recovery phase at Ground Zero. The column, like so many human bodies before it, came up from The Pit on a ramp that sloped down from the corner of Liberty and West Sts., angling east towards the center of the site below.

The 36-foot, 58-ton, steel girder now stands in the WTC museum, still with numbers and letters painted on — SQ 41, E 214 and L 111 — for FDNY squad, engine and ladder companies and the first responder death tolls: PAPD 37, NYPD 23, FDNY 343.

In this Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019 photo, a worker uses a torch to finish a granite monolith at Rock of Ages in Barre, Vt. The monolith will be one of six that will be part of a permanent dedication to ground zero rescue and recovery workers expected to be unveiled in late May at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)
In this Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019 photo, a worker uses a torch to finish a granite monolith at Rock of Ages in Barre, Vt. The monolith will be one of six that will be part of a permanent dedication to ground zero rescue and recovery workers expected to be unveiled in late May at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

Those numbers have swelled with the deaths of others, uniformed and civilian, who succumbed not to the falling towers, but to the poison in the air from gray plume of pulverized concrete and the fires and the smoke.

The new 9/11 Memorial Glade for these heroes and victims on the site of the downtown memorial is appropriately quiet, separate from the twin voids, those 200-foot squares where water falls. Aligned in the same spot at the long-gone Ramp, a simple phalanx of rock outcroppings form an honor guard, three per side.

The dedication is fittingly the anniversary of the recovery’s end: May 30.

©2019 New York Daily News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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