The term Ground Zero refers to the spot on the Earth’s surface that marks the location of a disaster, explosion, earthquake, and epidemics.
On September 11, 2001 Al-Qaeda terrorists flew two airplanes into the World Trade Towers. The impact damaged the structures and fires started within the buildings. This caused the two towers to collapse killing thousands of people.
After the attacks on September 11, emergency services including police, firefighters, construction workers, dogs, and volunteers went to Ground Zero, the place where the World Trade Centers fell, to look for survivors who were buried under the rubble. The process was very slow at first because crews had to move the debris by hand in order to make sure that they did not injure any trapped survivors. Very few people were found and by September 12th, the difficult work of recovering bodies. The cleanup of the debris at Ground Zero took crews over a year to cleanup.
After the collapse, dust and fumes continued to plague the site. Many of the volunteers and service workers did not have proper protective gear and breathed in the toxic air. Many of the first responders ended up developing long term breathing problems and suffered from PTSD. Other people who were exposed to the polluted air at Ground Zero were later diagnosed with kidney problems, lung cancer, heart disease, silicosis, and lung cancer; all of which can be traced back to Ground Zero pollution.
In honor of those who died at Ground Zero, the site has gone through a rebuilding process. A 1,776-foot skyscraper, named One World Trade Center, was built at Ground Zero and officially opened in 2013. A September 11th Memorial and Museum also sits at Ground Zero in Manhattan.