World Trade Center Site: New York City
Once the world's tallest buildings, New York City's original World Trade Center (WTC) towers were built in the late 1960s and became a symbol of financial freedom. They were also targets for terrorist attacks. In 1993, a van loaded with explosives was detonated in the garage of the north tower, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000. Then, on September 11, 2001, two commercial planes struck the towers, causing them to crumble soon after. The attack resulted in more than 3,000 deaths and sunk the entire nation into a state of shock and grief, but soon, talks of rebuilding began.
Many New Yorkers believed the site should be treated as sacred ground to those who were lost, while others wanted to rebuild bigger as a sign of defiance to terrorists. After several years of debate, a plan was approved to include a memorial and new office buildings at the site. However, that wasn't the end of controversy over the WTC site. In 2010, plans to build a new Islamic community center two blocks from the WTC site pushed the nation into another emotional debate about what's appropriate at the site of the largest terrorist attack on American soil. On Sept. 11, 2011, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum opened to the public and in 2014, the rebuilt World Trade Center opened for business.