|Steel for temporary PATH station marks rebirth of Ground Zero site. (Photo: Great Projects Film Co)|
"America Rebuilds, Part II, Return to Ground Zero, which depicts the effort to rebuild Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack that destroyed New York City's World Trade Center, will air on the event's fifth anniversary on PBS stations at 9 pm ET/PT. It will be narrated by actress Mariska Hargitay of NBC TV's "Law and Order: SVU. The film, produced by New York City-based Great Projects Film Co. together with Ironbound Films, is the sequel to their documentary aired in 2002 of Ground Zero rescue and recovery efforts. The broadcast is part of a planned trilogy documenting the rescue and recovery, rebuilding, and reopening of the World Trade Center site, estimated to occur in 2012.
"America Rebuilds picks up where Part I left off, at the ceremony marking the end of the recovery process in May 2002, says Mandel. We follow up with many of the people we covered in the original broadcast, including families of the dead, the firemen and construction workers who cleared the site and the engineers and civil servants who managed the process. In the sequel, we focus also on the politics of rebuilding and the ongoing healing process. The beginnings of the political maneuvering that has dogged efforts to rebuild and the beginnings of the healing process for families of the dead are shown, he adds.
Mandel, also an industrial engineer trained at Rutgers University in Newark, N.J., says the second film differs from the first in that "a lot of the emotion is tempered by time. We weren't bombarded each day by sadness." He adds that "the story of the building and rebuilding is something I understand and care deeply about. We felt the story would not be old unless we told it."
Key players in the rebuilding featured in the documentary include Larry Silverstein of Silverstein Properties, architect David Childs of Skidmore Owings Merrill, Lower Manhattan Development Corp. President Stefan Pryor, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chief Engineer Frank Lombardi. A 35-year agency veteran, he recalls his own experience during the 9/11 attack that killed 84 of his Port Authority colleagues. "I was in my office on the 72nd Floor when all of a sudden a tremendous jerking of the building took place. Lombardi recalls. It did not dawn on me that an aircraft had hit the building.
Mandel would not reveal the cost of the documentary, which received funding from the New York State Dept. of Transportation, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Mueser Rutledge Consultng Engineers, PBS and the Corp. of Public Broadcasting.