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9/11 Memorial Visit Brings Back Memories for Lower Manhattan Residents

By Ben Fractenberg on September 1, 2011 6:34am 

GROUND ZERO — The first thing Michael Ketring did after a plane hit on 9/11 10 years ago was sprint out of One World Financial Center to his six-year-old daughter's elementary school on Chambers Street.

"When the second plane hit, everyone just ran into the school and grabbed their children," said Ketring, 56, who works as general counsel for the Downtown Alliance  and is part of Community Board 1.

Now 10 years later, he took a tour of the 9/11 Memorial Wednesday, stepping inside the Ground Zero site for the first time since the attack.

"It's odd to be here," said Ketring, staring into the rectangular pit where the north tower once stood.

"But, at the same time, it's kind of comforting to see the memorial coming together."

Ketring and his daughter walked northward away from the chaos, away from their Pearl Street home.

His wife was uptown, frantically trying to get in touch with him while cell phone service was down. She had no idea if her husband or daughter were still alive.

"She was tormented all day," Ketring said.

Finally, a stranger let Ketring use her landline and he was able to get in touch with his wife.

Along with him Wednesday were other Community Board members and New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

"We have emerged strong, more resilient, more unified than ever," said Silver. "The recovery is not just about building, it's about the people downtown." 

The memorial is set to open this September 11th.

Water will rush down into the footprints of the fallen towers.

People will sit on the grass beneath the rising One World Trade Center and listen to the waterfall, drowning out the noise of construction going on around them.

Michael Ketring, 56, visits the 9/11 Memorial for the first time since working at Ground Zero during the attack.
Michael Ketring, 56, visits the 9/11 Memorial for the first time since working at Ground Zero during the attack.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

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