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Visitors Moved By Field Museum Exhibit Commemorating 9/11

CHICAGO (CBS) -- As America prepares to honor the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, crowds are heading to the Field Museum of Natural History for the moving exhibit, "Ground Zero 360: Never Forget."

As CBS 2's Jim Williams reports, those who put together the exhibit had a challenging task, as everyone has had the events of Sept. 11, 2001, burned in our memories forever.

But even though we all already know so much about 9/11, those who hve seen "Ground Zero 360" insist it is something new and deeply moving.

"Because we in Chicago weren't there," said visitor Ronnie Sokol. "We were there in spirit, but we weren't there, and this is from the point of view of someone who was there in the thick of it."

That someone is photojournalist Nicola McClean, who mounted the exhibit with her husband, Paul McCormack, who was a New York Police commander at the time of the attacks.

McClean captured many stunning images right after the terrorist attacks, including the wreckage of the Twin Towers, the heroic response, and the impact on average New Yorkers – down to an abandoned baby stroller.

"It's very chilling," Sokol said. "It makes it personal."

On one wall are the hand-written messages from loved ones of those who had been at the World Trade Center towers, hoping, praying someone would find their missing friends or family members. The messages remain powerful – "Have you seen my daddy, Jason Jacobs?" "Tonyell McDay was employed at Marsh Technologies, Tower 1." And they are among so many others.

"Everybody's life changed – everybody, even the people who weren't in New York," visitor Roe Arakelin said tearfully, "and it will never be the same."

The exhibit includes fire and police uniforms of first responders who died that day, and the actual frantic emergency calls from the very beginning.

"A major aircraft; a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center," one radio dispatch says. "Please notify everybody."

Finally, there are signs of resolve and comfort...

"This is wonderful," said Betty Koster. "Roe and I came downtown, just for this exhibit, and yes, it's definitely worth coming to."

The exhibit runs through the end of the year.

On Sunday, be sure to join CBS 2 for special coverage of the Sept. 11 anniversary, starting at 7 a.m.

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