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Sphere In Battery Park Serves As Touchstone For New Yorkers Marking 9/11 Anniversary

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TWC News: Sphere In Battery Park Serves As Touchstone For New Yorkers Marking 9/11 Anniversary
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A reminder of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center stands in Battery Park. A bronze sphere that once stood at the base of the twin towers became a touchstone Thursday for people marking the second anniversary of the attacks. NY1's Cheryl Wills talked to some who gathered there, and she filed this report.

As church bells rang out to signal the second plane crashing into the World Trade Center, eight members of the Port Authority gathered at the Sphere in Battery Park to release balloons and remember the day they lost 84 of their colleagues.

“We come here today because it reminds us of our home, and it really is the only place we can go to see something that reminds us of home," said Port Authority employee Ralph Tragale.

For more than 30 years, the Sphere stood on the plaza of the World Trade Center. On the first anniversary of the attack, it was moved to Battery Park. An eternal flame stands before it in memory of all who died on 9/11.

Commuters usually rush past the Sphere to get to the Wall Street area, but on Thursday, few could pass without pausing to reflect on its significance.

Dennis Malenfant was in the park on 9/11/01.

“As the tower came down, hundreds of us just ran through the park to get away from the cloud, and it overtook us in seconds,” said Malenfant.

Many people gathered in the shadow of the Sphere and gazed at the eternal flame. There were tears and lots of painful memories.

“There was a big fireball, and what struck me was the volume. It was the loudest thing I ever heard in my life," said Will Smith, who was also in the park on the day of the attacks.

For some who live near Battery Park, the Sphere is a constant reminder of the saddest day of their lives. Some are still struggling to move on.

“We live downtown. We lost 20 people, and we wanted to feel better,” said Lower Manhattan resident Denise Stern. “We want the pain to be over, and I guess that will never happen.”

Many who laid flowers and flags at the Sphere say they come here often because this is the only structure left that reminds them of their majestic twin towers.

- Cheryl Wills
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