As September 11th responders were receiving good news in Washington on Wednesday, progress of both symbolic and structural significance was being marked at the World Trade Center site itself. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following report.
It was a small but symbolic step on the road to rebuilding. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, other city officials and September 11th survivors gathered at the World Trade Center site on Wednesday to replant a tree that was badly damaged in the terrorist attacks.
The pear tree, which dates back to the 1970s, was brought to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx shortly after the September 11th attacks.
Despite damage from the vicious storms that swept through the city this March, it is now almost four times the size it was when brought to the nursery and joined dozens of trees that have been planted on the memorial plaza since August.
"It is a testament to our ability to endure and a symbol of our unshakeable belief in a brighter future," said Bloomberg.
"As much as this memorial is about the 2,982 victims taken from us, it is also about those who not only escaped the burning buildings that day, about the resiliency across this city and this country in the aftermath," said first responder Joe Daniels.
The announcement also helped highlight that after years of inaction, 2010 marked a year in which construction at the site boomed and progress was evident.
The mayor announced the completion of nearly 1,200 tons of structural steel work on the September 11th Museum Pavilion, which will sit between twin reflecting pools on the memorial plaza.
Officials have vowed to open the majority of the plaza by the 10th anniversary of the attacks next September, with the opening of the museum a year later.
Following the plantings, the mayor joined construction workers for lunch, where he thanked them for their work, which he said may be the most complex construction project ever attempted.
The workers themselves made it clear that this is not just another job.
"I was here for the cleanup, and I'm one of the persons who also got ill. I came up with cancer in 2004. And I'm back here," said one of the workers.
"We're going to rebuild, we're going to come out of this even stronger, proud of something we built," said another worker.