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."