I will never forget where I was on September 11, 2001. I’m sure you won’t either. I was a freshman in high school. I had just gotten out of my gym class, which was actually Pool. I was late to my next class, biology becasuse, per the usual, I take forever showering and getting ready. By that time the news was already on the TV in my bio class. We watched the second tower fall. I didn’t cry. I was in shock. I grew up in suburban CT, right outside of NYC. So many kids at my school had parents who worked in Manhattan. Everyone was freaking out. My entire class, school, world stood still. I will never forget.

Tower 1 – Freedom Tower as of September 8, 2011

In honor of 9/11, we wanted to give you an inside peek at One World Trade Center from the eyes of someone who has been on the construction site every day for the past year. My good friend, “David” (who asked that his identity be protected), shared some amazing images from Ground Zero. These images have been taken over the past six months, all the way up until today. You can really see the inner workings of the construction site and how much is going on. I also had a chance to do a phone interview with David and learn more about what being on the site means to him. Please enjoy these exclusive, never before seen images of One World Trade Center… and God Bless America.

 

Stephanie: Explain what the finished product will look like.

“David”: When the WTC site is all said and done it will be made up of six structures. Tower1: This will be the tallest building not only on the site but in the whole US. The height of the building will be as many feet tall as the year of the birth of our country, 1776. Tower 1 will be the largest concrete and steel structure in the US. Tower 2 will be the next tallest. In my eyes it’s the coolest looking building. The top looks like a diamond, but don’t know to much more about it because it’s still in the very early stage of development. Tower 3 Will be the next tallest. It’s said to be around 70 some odd stories.  Right now its foundation is in place and coming up quick. Tower 4 is the shortest building at just 60 some stories. Right now it is about 32 stories.  Also included will be The Transit Hub which will connect all the subways in lower Manhattan and The NJ Path Train. The Memorial is all based around the footprints of the original Twin Towers. Where the towers stood is now two reflecting pools that have water falls going into them. Around the edges of the pools are the names of everyone who passed away during the attacks. One thing I love about The Memorial is that all the trees that are planted around the ponds are from the other areas that were affected by 9/11, meaning The Pentagon and Pennsylvania. To me this symbolizes that The Memorial isn’t only about the people who lost their lives at the World Trade Center, but it’s about remembering everyone, everywhere who was affected on that day.”

Stephanie: What kind of security procedures are being taken in the construction of the towers?

David: All the buildings are consider bomb proof- because of the re-bar steel which is 5-gauge meaning its around three inches around. The steel bars are woven to create each wall and then are incased in concrete. Most buildings are either made with concrete or steel, not bot, this makes the towers extremely sturdy and safe. The glass being used in the buildings has been tested with hundreds of pounds of dynamite. It is designed to splinter instead of shatter and stay in place and not fall in or out of the building. Another thing, The Freedom Tower sits on these red steel beams, raising the tower ten stories off the ground. This way, if a car bomb were to go off on the West Side Highway (right next to The Freedom Tower), no one in the building would be disturbed.

Stephanie: So the tower sits on a porch, kind of?

David: Yes. If you want to dumb it down like that [Laughs]

A typical wall that is in all of the WTC buildings. This is filled with concrete and makes the walls bomb proof.

A floor in the Freedom Tower before walls and concrete.

Stephanie: How would you describe the mood at ground zero of the workers and construction people?

David: Super positive. Everyone knows they are there for a reason and everyone takes pride in what they do. I have only been there for a year and the workers are all motivated to get this done on time. However, it can be stressful because they have to raise up a floor a week on The Freedom Tower to make it to 108 floors by 2013. When completed, The Freedom Tower will be 1,776 feet tall standing for the year 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed. But, the whole site won’t be finished until around 2020.

Looking at Tower 1 (Freedom Tower) January 2011

Looking into “The Hole”

Stephanie:What is the biggest challenge being on the site every day?

 

David: We have the same challenges as a normal building site, it has nothing to do with the ground zero; we still have to build a building. But we do have to take extra security precautions because it’s such a high-profile job. We have to make sure we protect the buildings and civilians who live and work around the site so everyone is safe during construction.

Looking up at the North side of Tower 4 from The Hole

Cranes in The Hole

The Holes where Tower 2 and Tower 3 will be

Stephanie: Have you had any interaction with survivors, family, firemen etc? What is this like? What do they get to see?

 

David: Every day there are visitors, tourists on the site. Some have come up to me and thanked me for working on the site, even though I’m just doing my job. I see people crying every day. I see them drop to their knees in tears and you just let them be, you know? Everyone deals with seeing the site differently.

Flags being raised over The Hole today, 9/9/11 during a Moment of Silence

9/11 Memorial as of September 8, 2011

Stephanie: Have you ever been scared to go to work?

David: Today was the first time ever that I was scared to go to work but it’s always secure and there are so many police officers around there that I have never been scared before today, with the reports on the news and everything. But I love my job and I can not wait for Sunday when a lot of our hard work pays off!

All the cranes 9:11am Today, 9/9/11 did sound off for all the fallen by pointing there booms at The Memorial and sounding their horns. The entire site went quite for five minutes.

Tower 1 – Freedom Tower