NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On Sept. 11, 2001, Mayor Michael Bloomberg started his morning by voting in the Primary Election before making his way back to the campaign office.

He had just picked up a cup of coffee and newspaper when somebody rushed over and told him a small plane had crashed into the side of one of the Twin Towers.

“I looked up and saw the gash from one side to another and I said that was not a small plane,” Bloomberg said. “Nobody at that point had thought about terrorism. It was 20 minutes later when the other plane hit and that’s when everybody said something’s gone wrong here, this is deliberate.”

LISTEN: Full Interview With Mayor Michael Bloomberg (13:21)

Ten years later, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said if there’s any positive message that comes out of 9/11, it’s that Americans pulled together and did not let anyone take away their freedom.

However, he stresses that our freedoms are fragile and we must constantly be on guard.

“We live in a dangerous world. Thank God there are young men and women willing to go overseas and fight for our freedom; young men and women who throw themselves into danger when the rest of us are running away,” Bloomberg said. “We have every reason to be proud, this is the greatest Democracy anybody ever created.”

As New York and the nation prepares to honor the memory of those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Bloomberg spoke with 1010 WINS Senior Correspondent Stan Brooks about that tragedy at Ground Zero.

“I always think about what was there and the lives that were there — people who had aspirations, a future, and were part of the great American dream,” Bloomberg said. “They all of a sudden, through one senseless act, were no more.”

LINK: 1010 WINS News Team Reflects

With the opening of the 9/11 Memorial just days away, the mayor says what has been done at Ground Zero and in Lower Manhattan since the attacks is amazing.

“I never thought there was any chance that it wasn’t going to come back,” he says. “Before 9/11 it was a ghost land at night. We wanted to make downtown a much more 24/7 location.”

A decade ago, Bloomberg says there were seven hotels downtown and today there are 26. New schools, parks and supermarkets have also sprung up in the region.

“People who look back will say, ‘We did the best we could in memory of those we lost.”

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