Across New York City, makeshift memorials mark the unspeakable tragedy the city endured one week ago when it was struck by the worst terrorist attack in history. Life is slowly, but sadly, returning to normal.
New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says workers toiling round the clock have removed almost 50,000 tons of debris from the site of the devastated World Trade Center.
The number of confirmed dead is now just over 200, but 5,400 people are missing. Mayor Giuliani says New Yorkers must understand that the chances of finding people alive are quickly disappearing. "Those chances are not totally, however, ended or over," he said. "So we will still conduct ourselves as a rescue effort as well as a recovery effort. But we do not have any substantial amount of hope that we can offer to anyone that we are going to be able to find anyone alive. We have to prepare for the overwhelming reality that the chance of recovering anyone alive is very, very small."
Among the missing, city officials say are the nationals of 36 countries, including at least 200 from Britain, 80 from Japan, and more than 80 from Latin American nations.
New Yorkers, who once referred to the site of devastated World Trade Center attack as "Ground Zero," are now calling it "Ground Hero" in honor of fallen firefighters, police officers and emergency workers.
Hundreds of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics and their families marched to Central Park Tuesday to observe a moment of silence in honor of the missing and deceased among their ranks.
Diane Fairban's son is among the missing EMTs. She says the Central Park event helped her cope with her grief. "There are other EMTs from other hospitals who have not been accounted for either," she said. "So I was here just to call attention to that fact, especially for my son's co-workers to get together. It was important for them to go through this grieving process and express their emotions as a group."
More than 400 New York emergency workers, including firefighters and police are among the missing.
New Yorkers have placed masses of flowers, candles and American flags in front of the city's fire and police stations. Engine Company 54 is known as the "Broadway Firehouse" because of its location in the heart of New York's theater district. 15 firefighters are missing from the fire company. One firefighter says celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Tom Selleck have stoped by to lend support. "Our brothers are missing and we are really feeling down and when someone comes in gives us a word of encouragement, a pat on the back, a little hug, it makes us feel a little better and keeps us going because sometimes it is hard to keep going," he said. "But with the support, we have nowhere to go but up from here."
Grief counseling centers are operating all over the city and hotlines have been set up to help survivors, families and friends. Hotlines are also operating for people who need assistance because their jobs and offices no longer exist.