TODAY   |  September 11, 2013

9/11 victims honored on 12th anniversary

TODAY’s Willie Geist showcases the progress being made at ground zero in lower Manhattan to honor those killed 12 years ago Wednesday.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> those lost during the 9/11 attacks 12 years ago today. memorial cerimonies are held at the pentagon and of course in lower manhattan . we have willie geist there. good morning to you.

>> savannah, good morning. this is of course a day of mourning. there will be remembrances, moment of silence, the reading of the names. but it's also a time to think about what's been rebuilt here at ground zero . we got an inside look at the national september 11th memorial museum. work didn't stop as we began our tour.

>> this is the very first artifact you'll see. see these two large steel tridents that were part of the structural columns of the north tower that were recovered.

>> the first in a series of powerful reminders of suffering and survival.

>> still in one piece, the survivors staircase. an escape route responsible for saving as many as 25,000 lives. and still under wraps, a 36 foot tall beam known as the last column.

>> it was the last removed. it's covered in remembrance and cards and messages from first responder agencies and construction crews.

>> reporter: the sacrifice of the first responders can be seen in the engine 21.

>> it helps tell the story. where we're standing it's relatively undamaged but when you look at the nose of the fire truck , it's completely burned out.

>> reporter: also found in the debris, steel girders in the shape of a cross.

>> it's about rebirth. this museum, part of it's most important job is to preserve the history of not only what happened on 9/11 but how we responded and we used artifacts to help tell the story.

>> reporter: next to the museum, twin reflecting pools in the footprints of where the twin towers once stood. they're ringed baring the names of the 2,983 victims and rising above it all is one world trade center , the power reaching 1776 feet into the new york sky is expected to be completed early next year. workers putting on the finishing touches.

>> this thing is lowering into place and apparently it's in right now.

>> reporter: on may 10th they set it in place. matt joined some of those workers that morning. and express elevator ride and nine ladders.

>> if you don't like ladders, you can't come here.

>> reporter: to get an incredible view of the new day dawning over ground zero . between the opening of one world trade early next year and the national museum later in the spring of next year, there is some optimism, some reason for hope here guys on this 12th anniversary of september