Published August 25, 2011
As the ten year anniversary of 9/11 approaches, “Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero,” a special event series by Executive Producer Steven Spielberg on Discovery, takes an in-depth look at one of the most daunting, emotionally-charged construction jobs America has ever embarked upon.
“This is one of the most important construction sites and yet a lot of folks just aren’t aware of what is going on and don’t talk about it,” fellow Executive Producer Danny Forster, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “There is something quite spectacular going on, there are amazing buildings being built and people that have literally dedicated a decade of their lives thus far to rebuilding. “
The first component in the series premieres commercial-free on Discovery Thursday from 8-11PM ET/PT, and focuses on the trials and tribulations associated with bringing Tower One back to life.
“Even though there is a skyscraper now shooting into the sky, most New Yorkers really aren’t aware of what is going on because there is a huge fence. But on 9/11 the fence is coming down, and I think the eyes of the world will turn back to Ground Zero,” Forster continued. “It is the tallest building in American history, 105 floors. The body of the building is the same height as the original tower, but rising from the top is a 400-foot spire which takes the building to a very symbolic height of 1776, the declaration of independence. So the building, to its peak, will be 1776 feet tall.”
The series also sheds light upon the hotly debated construction of the 9/11 museum, slated to open on September 11 2012, in the heart of Ground Zero.
“How do you tell the story of one of the worst days in American history? Visitors will descend 80 feet down to the lowest point, into the bedrock. It isn’t about telling the story of 9/11, it is experiencing it,” Forster explained. “There are no paintings, drawings or sculptures. There are crushed fire trucks, warped cases of steel from the towers, slippers that came from the airplane that went into the buildings, wallets, credit cards, and a bike rack. Each artifact tells a story.”
Next week, Discovery will showcase the development of the transportation hub and meet with surviving residents about how their rebuilding stories have played out, and then finally “Rising” will culminate with an hour devoted to the memorial project and how it has come to fruition.
And overall, Forster is confident American audiences will be both surprised and satisfied with what they see.
“The new World Trade Center is going to have streets running through it, an 8-acre park, a huge transportation block that will be just as, if not more impressive, than Grand Central Station. And four towers instead of two,” Forster said. “They are replacing ten million square feet of missing office space, and these buildings have an applicable connection to the tragedy that formed them. Each building in its own way, or the museum, the transportation complex, were born out of what happened – they are aware of their past but they are wholly optimistic. It is motivated by 9/11, but fundamentally motivated by 9/12 – the day after.”
But the series is far from over.
The cameras are in it for the long haul, and will of course be rolling on September 11, 2011 when the fences surrounding the construction site are knocked down and the long-awaited memorial is unveiled for families of those who died.
“Two years ago the Port Authority set a pretty ambitious goal when they said they would open the pools to the families so they could see the names of the lost loved ones wrapped around the pools. When they made that confirmation all that was there were just big holes,” Foster added. “So there is a success story in that the memorial will open on 9/11/11 and on 9/11/12, after the families have had their time there, it will become a public open space. You will be able to get tickets online and see the pools. This will be a public space for New Yorkers and the world.”