Moving Day for 9/11's Stairway to Freedom

Way out of horror for thousands of survivors will be part of memorial
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2008 6:15 AM CDT
The Vesey Street staircase, the only intact piece of the World Trade Center still standing after terrorists destroyed the twin towers. After years of debate over whether and how to preserve the structure,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A potent symbol of survival on 9/11—a 37-step staircase used by thousands to escape the Twin Towers—was temporarily moved yesterday as part of a compromise plan that will incorporate the structure into the World Trade Center memorial. The stairs were hoisted on a flatbed and shifted to another part of the site while rebuilding continues, reports WNBC-Channel 4 in New York. The stairs are the last remnant of the towers above ground.

One survivor vividly recalled using them after the south tower collapsed and he tunneled through debris. "Time seemed to move very fast," he said. "It took me about 20 minutes to tunnel out, just digging. I had no fingernails left when I got to the top." The stairs had been threatened with demolition to make way for a new office tower. One local leader said the compromise was a way to "honor the day yet understand the need for rebuilding."