Fifth Anniversary of Ground Zero Clean-up

The Writers' Almanac notes that today, May 30, is the fifth anniversary of the clean-up at Ground Zero of the World Trade Center. The use of the scrap metal was news to me; I didn't realize the rubble became a commodity. It amazes me that our stuff survives the pain we inflict on each other. Here's the Almanac's report:

It was on this day in 2002 that city workers held a wordless ceremony marking the end of the recovery and cleanup at Ground Zero in New York City. The cleanup crew had consisted of more than 7000 firefighters, policemen, construction workers, and volunteers.

The site covered 17 acres and rose 150 feet above the street. Some of the steel columns pulled from the piles glowed red. The workers eventually removed 1 1/2 million tons of debris in more than 100,000 truckloads.
The ceremony on this day in 2002 took place at 10:29 a.m., the precise time at which the second of the twin towers collapsed.

A New York City firefighter struck a bell 20 times, the traditional ceremony for a fallen firefighter. The New York City Fire Department had lost 343 firefighters on September 11th.
A group of firefighters and police officers played bagpipes and drums as a flatbed truck carried away the last steel beam to be removed from the site. Many of the workers had written their names on the beam.

Most of the 200,000 tons of steel recovered from the site were cut down into three-foot sections and sold primarily to Asian scrap metal companies, to be recycled for use in cars and appliances and all manner of ordinary objects and machines.

for an audio-visual tribute.)