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Hope amid painful memories at three 9/11 sites

With this weekend marking a decade since the September 11th attacks, "The Early Show" took time Friday to remember that tragic day, while reflecting on a decade of healing, with correspondents describing the scenes now at ground zero in Manhattan, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pa.

Special coverage: 9/11: Ten Years Later

Co-anchor Chris Wragge at ground zero

On a beautiful fall morning, American Airlines Flight 11 left a gaping hole in the World Trade Center's North Tower. Seventeen minutes later, America knew it was under attack when United Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower.

One on-looker looked up at the towers and said simply, "Save their souls, Lord."

In less than two hours, America had experienced its greatest loss of life from a foreign attack on home soil - 2,753 perished in New York alone.

Then New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said, "New York City is a lot stronger than this."

As he rallied a wounded city, President Bush brought hope to a nation with his speech through a megaphone at what came to be known as ground zero, saying, "The people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."

Rescue and recovery efforts gave way to remembrance and honor, as a vision emerged for ground zero's rebirth.

One World Trade Center has soared to 80 stories on its way up to a symbolic 1776 feet.

Ironworker Tommy Hickey told Wragge he's proud to be part of the rebuilding project, especially because his father worked on the original World Trade Center.

Towers 2, 3 and 4 are under construction, together with the 9/11 Memorial Museum scheduled to open next year. For the first time, the public will be able to pay respects at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza on Monday. There, magnificent trees and reflecting pools trace the walls of the original twin towers.

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin at the Pentagon

The violence here was unimaginable. A 90-ton plane flew at 530 miles an hour into the world's largest office building.

Where once there was an inferno, today there is a memorial park featuring trees and 184 benches, one for each victim.

The first bench you come to is for 3-year-old Dana Falkenberg, a passenger on the plane. The benches are laid out by age, so you soon come to her 8-year-old sister, Zoe.

Sara Guest, the girls' aunt, says there was so much potential that was lost.

Guest has to speak for their parents, because they were also on the plane. An entire family wiped out in a split second.

But if you visit an elementary school in suburban Washington, you find that the Falkenbergs live on.

Barbara Duffy, Zoe's first-grade teacher, keeps a bookcase of Zoe's favorite books in her classroom.

"I try to use Zoe's story as an inspiration," Duffy says. "I tell them about how she started first grade not reading, and became this avid, enthusiastic reader."

The Falkenbergs were a family that read.

And Barbara Duffy keeps that flame alive with each new class of first graders.

Says Duffy, "I don't want anybody to forget about her. I want her to shine."

Zoe's bench in the memorial outside the Pentagon won't tell you any of that, but you should know not all of her was lost that day.

CBS News correspondent Chip Reid in Shanksville, Pa.

At 10:03 a.m. that day, United Airlines Flight 93 disappeared from radar and crashed in a rural field.

The plane went down when the passengers rose up. They had learned through phone calls of the attacks on the twin towers, and made the fateful decision to storm the cockpit.

"They gave it a hell of a fight," says Jerry Bingham, father of passenger Mark Bingham, "and fortunately, it saved a lot of people there at the Capitol building. That's exactly where it was headed for."

Over the past ten years, a steady stream of people has made the pilgrimage to the Flight 93 crash site.

Bingham says he's proud of his son "and 39 other heroes on that plane. I sure am!"

Until now, the place to pause and reflect has been an overlook to a distant field.

Even so, says visitor Judy Cassell, "It gives you goose bumps. ... The people who perished here changed history."

Starting on Saturday, they can witness that history up close.

National Park Service Superintendent Keith Newlin pointed to a big boulder and said, "That's where the plane went into the ground."

Visitors to the new flight 93 memorial will walk several feet from that spot, leading to a wall inscribed with the names of the 40 passengers and crew. The field is their final resting spot. Hallowed ground.

"I've done a lot of hugging, a lot of kissing in the last ten years," Bingham says. "All for a good reason. I mean, it shows you, it just shows you that people care."


Communities across the nation will have special 10th anniversary commemorations Sunday. President Obama and former President Bush will visit ground zero, which is now turning the page, with all its new construction, and is once again becoming World Trade Center.