The reconstruction work at the Twin Towers site after the 9/11 terrorist atrocity was well under way in July 2010. On one part of the site, construction workers were excavating the future site of an underground parking lot and were at about 22 feet below street level. And then one of the backhoes revealed something extraordinary – something that had lain in the stinking mud for more than two centuries.
Indeed, it’s worth recalling why those construction workers were digging at this Lower Manhattan site. It was a clear fall day in September 2001 when, literally out of the blue, a passenger jet smashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. Then a second plane crashed into the South Tower 17 minutes later.
The impact of the planes plus the thousands of gallons of fuel they carried started blazing fires in each tower. The heat was such that the very structure of the buildings was compromised and both collapsed. The South Tower went first at 9:59 a.m., 56 minutes after it had been hit. The North Tower followed, toppling at 10:28 a.m., one hour and 42 minutes after the plane struck it.