Steel cross draws supporters at Ground Zero

Saturday, October 5, 2002

NEW YORK -- Jane Pollicino stood Friday beneath the cross-shaped steel beam at Ground Zero, her late husband's name on a bracelet around her wrist.

"This is clearly a message from God, that he was always there for us," she said, looking up at the cross that improbably survived the Sept. 11 terrorist attack at the World Trade Center. "A message to keep having faith."

Pollicino, whose husband Steve was among the 2,800 people killed at the Trade Center, wants that message to endure. The Long Island woman has added her voice to a group that is pushing for the 20-foot cross to be included in the site's permanent memorial.

"Nothing in this world makes sense to me anymore," she said. "I'm looking for signs. And this cross can't be ignored."

The beam, shaped like a cross, was discovered Sept. 13 by a construction worker searching for survivors.

"It was the first sign, really, that God was at ground zero," said engineer Joseph Bradley.

A year ago, workers moved it atop a concrete stand in a corner of ground zero.

The Rev. Brian Jordan, a Franciscan priest, blessed the cross that day and for months celebrated Sunday Mass under it. Jordan has collected more than 50,000 signatures on petitions to include the cross in a permanent ground zero memorial.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which is overseeing the rebuilding of the area, has not decided what the final memorial at ground zero would include.

"There are many powerful symbols that emerged in the aftermath of Sept. 11, including the cross, and we need to figure out how best to preserve them," said a corporation spokesman, Matt Higgins.

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