Coming up

Don't miss




No strategy and a beige suit

Read more


The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more


The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more


Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more


France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more


Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more


More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more


Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • EU leaders choose Tusk and Mogherini for top jobs, discuss Russia sanctions

    Read more

  • Dozens of UN peacekeepers still held by Syrian jihadists

    Read more

  • Opposition protesters clash with Pakistani police outside PM's house

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more


Reporter's Notebook: Ground Zero is the focus of world attention - again

Text by Leela JACINTO

Latest update : 2011-09-12

As the US marks the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, visitors from across the world flock to New York's Ground Zero, turning the fraught spot into a hive of activity.

A woman emerges from the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site right by Ground Zero, gazes at the spire of St. Paul's Chapel across the street before shutting her eyes, tears trickling down her face. Her husband, standing beside her on the sidewalk, sympathetically rubs her back.

“By God, I'm glad I came here,” says a young man as he flops on the steps outside the building. “That was incredible.”

No matter how many 9/11 images you've seen and how many testimonies you've heard over the past ten years, it's difficult to come out of the preview site and not be moved.

The much-awaited 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero commemorating the nearly 3,000 people killed exactly a decade ago is scheduled to open the day after the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks. Within the premises, the 9/11 Memorial Museum however will only open in 2012.

Until then, visitors to the preview site can see some of the exhibit pieces from the 9/11 Memorial Museum's permanent collection, which include a replica of the Lady of Liberty statue at a Times Square fire station that was covered with pennants and tributes in the aftermath of the attacks.

Ten years after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, destroying the city's iconic structure, New York is once again the focus of the world.

Braving security clampdowns and terror alerts, people from across the country and the globe are flocking to the area around Ground Zero to pay their respects to the dead and to contemplate a monumental, tragic moment in America's history.

A sea of white ribbons

One of the stops in the Ground Zero circuit is St. Paul's Chapel, an 18th century stone chapel that provided succor to so many reeling, traumatised New Yorkers on September 11, 2001.

Nuns from Latin America, Japanese grandparents, Brazilian dancers, British teenagers, Amish women in their traditional full skirts and bonnets – they all seem to have gathered here.

Outside the chapel, a sea of white ribbons flutter in the breeze. Emblazoned with the words “Remember to love,” each ribbon bears a signature of a visitor, along with the date, and often a short message of peace or a prayer.

Inside the chapel, musicians play a requiem as visitors light candles, read the commemorative posters or simply sit in the pews in quiet reflection.

The doubters at the corner

The mood is very different further down Vesey Street, at the corner of Greenwich, where the doubters have colonised the block.

A disparate mix of members of We Are Change - a citizens rights group that rejects what they call “the official cover-up explanation” of the 9/11 attacks “disseminated by the state and corporate media” - are out in full force.

Dwarfed by the still-rising new 1 World Trade Center, standing next to a placard reading “9/11 was an inside job/ Bush liar, murderer, terrorist,” two men share their views on the world order.

“This country is controlled by the British, it's the British who colonised us and they still control us.”

'Yeah, the British, I like that, I like that man.'

“Everybody killed by the FBI, like Kennedy...”

'Kennedys, make that plural, brother.'

“Yeah, Bobby Kennedy, he was a nice guy. He got killed. Patrice know Patrice Lumumba?”


“He the African guy that got killed from a plane.”

The facts are fuzzy, but the intentions are sincere.

Across the street, NYPD officers eye this motley mix watchfully but benevolently.

Security 'lockdown' - but who's listening?

The newspaper headlines are screaming about the security “lockdown” due to the recent terror threats.

An army of security officials, including federal and local law enforcement personnel, trained snipers, bomb technicians and Secret Service staff, have swarmed the city.

The heavy law enforcement presence, planned months ahead of the tenth anniversary, has turned more intense following this week's reports of a “credible” and “specific” al Qaeda threat.

Police helicopters hover and whir overhead. Orange roadsigns in parts of the city read: “Avoid Downtown”.

But that message is apparently lost on the crowd at Saint Paul's Chapel. Sitting on the chapel's parapet, watching jumpy policemen stop and search cars down Broadway, Bob from Las Vegas, who declined to provide his last name, says he finds the heavy police presence reassuring. “It means they're doing their job,” says Bob. “They're keeping the country safe.”

Date created : 2011-09-11


    Reporter's Notebook: A historic day in New York City

    Read more

  • USA

    Ten years after 9/11, a transatlantic legacy of love

    Read more

  • USA

    New York's 'Little Pakistan' rises from the ashes of 9/11

    Read more