The Cross of 9/11’s Ground Zero



On a fateful day over a decade ago, two commercial airline flights were hijacked by terrorists and flown into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. Two days after the buildings fell on 9/11, as the dust and ash cleared and as torn and mangled bodies were pulled from the rubble, a worker at the site named Frank Silecchia discovered a peculiar object amidst the ruins.

The object was a 17-foot cross formed from two steel beams used in the construction of the World Trade Center. This cross became a symbol of hope in the days and weeks following the devastation of 9/11. It was one of the few parts of the towers that had not crumbled to bits or been incinerated and turned to ash as a result of the fiery explosions that accompanied the attacks.

As the cleanup effort continued around Ground Zero, this cross was placed on a pedestal on a plaza near the site of the attacks. Many people felt that its survival was providential, and it became a place where people prayed and left notes and messages of hope.

The Ground Zero Cross became the subject of much debate when plans for a September 11 Memorial Museum were put in motion. Several groups did not want the Christian symbol of the cross included in the memorial. However, in March 2013, a U.S. Court ruled that the Ground Zero Cross could be displayed as a part of the memorial. This week, the September 11 Memorial Museum opened in New York City, and the Ground Zero Cross is at the center of an underground gallery along with other monumental artifacts that survived the attacks.

Why is the symbol of the cross so powerful?

Over two thousand years ago, the use of the cross as a means of execution was perfected by the Romans. Author Robert Gidley writes that the use of the cross “wasn’t about killing somebody — it was about killing somebody in a really horrible way. Someone who was crucified suffered the maximum amount of pain.” The worst criminals — murderers and insurrectionists — were crucified.

However, one day, an innocent Man was unjustly sentenced to death and was crucified outside Jerusalem. This Man was Jesus Christ — the Son of God. The Bible says in Philippians 2:8 that He was “found in fashion (or appearance) as a man, and he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Why did Jesus Christ allow Himself to be put to death on the cross? Romans 5 says, “When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly… But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Jesus Christ, the holy and innocent Son of God, willingly sacrificed His life on the cross in order to take the punishment for sin that each of us deserve. This is the reason why the cross which was once a symbol of cruel violence is now a symbol of hope and salvation. Jesus’ death changed the meaning of the cross.

Frank Silecchia. who found the Ground Zero Cross amidst the rubble of the World Trade Center, told reporters, “It was a sign that God had not deserted us.”

When we look at the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, we can see that despite our sin and rebellion against God’s law, God did not desert us either. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The cross is the reason why you and I can have eternal life and salvation from sin and the punishment of sin. All we have to do is do as John 3:16 says and believe in Jesus Christ so that we will not perish but have eternal life.

Because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross — dying for your sins and taking the punishment that you deserve — you can be saved today by trusting Him as your Lord and Savior. You can pray a short prayer right now to let God know that you have decided to trust Jesus Christ for your salvation. Just repeat after me and mean it from your heart.

Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I want to trust Jesus as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God and congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your new found faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

Believe by faith. Share the faith. And keep the faith! God Bless You!