Before it was ground zero, it was the World Trade Center. But after the attacks of September 11th, the site become a smoldering pile of twisted metal and carnage, and what sprung up immediately wasn't hope and resolve, but political infighting and design skirmishes. Creating a replacement that would at once be a symbol for American power, peace, a terror-proof structure, a way to honor the fallen, and an attractive addition to the skyline (as well as be cost-efficient and able to attract new business) was daunting, to say the least. It took a long time to get where we are today, and there's still more work ahead.
In the proceeding years, the hallowed ground of the attack continued to gather symbolic relevance that, at times, created more problems. The controversy of the so-called 'ground zero mosque' that engulfed the media in 2010, as well as the spontaneous, massive celebrations that broke out after Osama bin Laden's death, suggest that the site will always be hugely important to New Yorkers.
The area dubbed ground zero has seen four governors, two mayors and two presidents; it saw countless design proposals for what would replace the twin towers, and redesigns, and delays; even what was finally chosen went through the ringer. Below is a timeline of events from the first tower proposal in 2002 to the tenth anniversary of the attacks, when the 9/11 Memorial opens to the public.