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3 short stories about 9/11, 20 years later

When photojournalist Manny Sotelo and I were in New York shooting a 9NEWS special, we ran into some interesting side stories.

NEW YORK —

Freedom Tower

Right next to where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center stood 20 years ago, is the skyscraper that has replaced them. One World Trade Center, sometimes called the Freedom Tower, is the sixth-tallest building in the world. It's 104 stories, 1,776 feet tall. That's not an accident. 1776 is, of course, the year the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Credit: AP
FILE - In this Dec. 28, 2018, file photo, One World Trade Center towers above the lower Manhattan skyline and the Hudson River, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Survivor Tree

One of the main entrances to the 9/11 Memorial in New York is the Memorial Glade. It honors hundreds of thousands of responders and survivors, workers and residents--many exposed to hazards and toxins. That has resulted in chronic illnesses and cancers that have taken thousands of lives over the past 20 years.

In the park you'll notice 401 trees, all oak trees except for one. It's a pear tree that was badly damaged when the towers fell in 2001. It was removed, nursed back to health, and is now known as the "Survivor Tree."

Credit: Gary Shapiro

Fire Station and Bar

Just a block away from the 9/11 Memorial is FDNY 10 House. It was the closest station to the World Trade Center, and now honors the 343 firefighters in the department who lost their lives that day. It features a 56-foot-long memorial wall made of bronze. The fire station was heavily damaged 20 years ago but was rebuilt and is still in use.  

Just across the street from the fire station is O'Hara's Pub. It, too, was heavily damaged and rebuilt. The longtime hangout for firefighters is filled with patches on the walls from fire and police departments around the world. The tradition of posting cloth patches started the year after 9/11 and continues to this day.

Credit: Gary Shapiro

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