It happened a week ago. The World Trade Center came crashing down. And, New York’s lower Manhattan island was transformed into a wasteland of rubble and dust.
As the rescue and recovery efforts moved into their second week Tuesday, the workers pushed-on at a feverish pace. But as the hours turned into days, the chances of finding someone alive kept slipping away.
“I think everybody knows that as time goes by the odds are not with us," said one fireman. "But, it is not really discussed and everybody just stays about their business.”
“Today is obviously one of the most difficult days in the history of the city,” said New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
You could see it on the face of Mayor Giuliani as he struggled to come to grips with a horrific reality. “The longer the time, the less realistic hope we can offer people,” he said.
Officially, the number of missing has been raised to more than 5,400. Only 201 bodies have actually been found. And at the Pentagon in Washington, 188 are still missing.
With determination and strength of purpose workers press on, unshaken by the daunting task that lies ahead. Thirty-nine thousand tons of debris have been removed so far, and 20 times that amount still remains to be taken away.
For days, rescuers have not been finding bodies in the rubble, only body parts.
The relatives of the missing continue to hope and pray. But they have also lined up in increasing numbers to give DNA samples so their loved ones possibly could be identified from the remains collected by the firemen.