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What’s In A Name? When It Comes To ‘Ground Zero,’ A Lot Of Debate

Some Think It's Time To Refer To Area Of Lower Manhattan As Something Else
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Ground Zero (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Ground Zero (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Years from now, will the words “ground zero” still be used by New Yorkers to describe the World Trade Center site?

Some say it’s time to move past using those words, because the site is no longer a disaster zone, CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano said.

“I lost half of my left foot, and I’m not going to say I lost half of my left at the new WTC. I lost half of my left foot at ground zero,” 9/11 responder John Feal said.

What’s in a name? Former construction worker Feal said the words “ground zero” to him mean never forgetting what happened here.

“Almost 10 years ago this country witnessed firsthand the most horrific day in the history of this great nation. You could change it and name it anything you want but it will always be ‘ground zero,’” Feal said.

Just a little more than a month before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks a debate is brewing over whether the World Trade Center site should continue to be referred to as “ground zero.”

Elizabeth Berger, the president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, said the site is in the midst of so much growth — towers 4 and 1 are rising and a museum and memorial are on the way – that the site, she says, no longer should use the words “ground zero,” a phrase commonly associated with a disaster zone.

“Of course [it's] hallowed and sacred ground, but it’s so much more,” Berger said. “I call it the future of lower Manhattan. It really hasn’t been ‘ground zero’ for a very long time.”

On one side of this fence construction continues to progress. On the other public opinion varies on what to call it.

“As long as we remember what happened here, that’s all that matters. A name is just a name,” one man said.

“I believe it still should be called ‘ground zero,’ just for the memories of the people,” Holly Tucker added.

“I still call it ‘ground zero,’ but sure I’m gonna get away from that as time moves on,” said Rob DeFilippo of Livingston, N.J.

Whether or not New Yorkers in years to come refer to the World Trade Center site as ‘ground zero,’ those two words will still evoke the same emotions and for some emotions.

World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein told Mercogliano “’ground zero’ is a reference for yesterday, but ‘World Trade Center’ is the reference for tomorrow.”

What do you think the site should be called? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

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