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WTC site after Hurricane Sandy

November 16, 2012 3:29:37 PM PST
At the heart of where the 9/11 attacks took place, grows a Brazilian pear tree that survived that day.

It's called the Survivor's Tree, and it also came through Sandy just fine.

It's now in fall color.

The reflecting pools also escaped the hurricane virtually unscathed.

"Amazingly the thing that came through the best on this whole site is the memorial itself. When I came down here Tuesday morning after the storm to see the two pools still there, and the names really undamaged was amazing," said Joe Daniels, 9/11 Memorial president.

Video showed the flooding at the memorial on the night of October 29th. It rushed north up the Westside Highway and roared through the eight acre memorial site, cascading into basements and garages like a mini Niagara Falls.

9/11 Memorial president Joe Daniels says he's amazed the site is even back open.

Water was four feet deep in the visitor's center. Workers fighting mold have already put up new sheet rock. The screening center has a shiny new floor.

The water was just a couple of inches deep outside, but in the museum that night, water poured into the sub-basement area that goes all the way down to bedrock. There, the water was eight feet deep and there was damage.

After years of delay and controversy, Daniels is actually glad the museum is not open yet.

If it had been, paper artifacts and mementos from 11 years ago would have been lost forever.

"That is something that we've thought about, I mean, sometimes the Lord works in mysterious ways," Daniels said.

A group from Florida visited the site after two weeks of volunteering at shelters for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

"I'm from New York originally, I'm always worried about this place," said Frank Goldsten, a hurricane volunteer.

In its first year open, five million visitors came to the site. Despite Sandy, they are expecting more this year.

"It's our small part in helping the city recover," Daniels said.

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