(CNN Student News) -- September 13, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: For almost all of you, the ride to school is free. But what if you had to pay $400 for it? It's a question we're looking at today on CNN Student News. My name is Carl Azuz. Let's get going.
AZUZ: First up, America pays tribute to the nearly 3,000 victims of the September 11th terror attacks. This Saturday marked nine years since those attacks happened, and in ceremonies all across the country, people stopped to remember. In New York City, there were two moments of silence, one at each time that a plane struck one of the Twin Towers. In Virginia, President Obama helped lay a wreath at the Pentagon as part of a memorial ceremony there. During a speech, he honored Americans in uniform who sacrificed their lives for others. First lady Michelle Obama and former first lady Laura Bush were at a memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the planes hijacked on 9/11 crashed after passengers fought against the terrorists. Back in New York City, efforts are going on a 9/11 memorial. Deborah Feyerick joins us now to give you a tour.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can envision it. You can envision where the tower stood just by looking here. And it's not enough just to look at Ground Zero. You also need to listen. Now, every day, thousands of workers here rebuild.
JOE DANIELS, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL SEPTEMBER 11 MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM: Everything west of where we are standing right now is the memorial site. It's eight of the 16 acres, so 50 percent of the entire site is for the memorial and museum.
FEYERICK: Joe Daniels heads up the 9/11 memorial and museum. He was here that day and will never forget what he witnessed.
DANIELS: 1,100 of the victims were never identified. This is a place where the entire world is going to come to pay their respects.
FEYERICK: After years of very public battles and stalled negotiations, the memorial is being built on the footprints of the two towers. Two granite reflecting pools, each with a massive, man-made waterfall flowing into a deeper pool; what its creator Michael Arad calls a bottomless abyss.
MICHAEL ARAD, 9/11 MEMORIAL DESIGNER: We have thousands and thousands of gallons streaming in there every minute. This emptiness remains.
FEYERICK: Arad was 32, working for the city, when the towers fell. His design beat out 5,000 others.
ARAD: I think it was, for me, a way of coming to terms with what I had seen that day.
FEYERICK: The victims' names will be etched at the top of the pools; shadows by day, filled with light at night.
ARAD: I wanted to create a stoic and quiet and defiant memorial. Something that in the face of this enormous tragedy that, you know, didn't scream in retaliation but stood quietly and silently and unyieldingly.
FEYERICK: And beneath the pools...
ARAD: It's seven stories below.
FEYERICK: ...What will become a museum. You will have faces of everybody?
ARAD: Exactly, basically right there.
FEYERICK: Key 9/11 items preserved for eternity, like this stairwell used by hundreds of people as an escape route. That stairwell, which nobody thought would be extraordinary, in fact, became a bridge to safety for so many people.
DANIELS: Exactly, and it represents the story of survival.
FEYERICK: And this wall holding back the Hudson River. Had it been breached, lower Manhattan would have been under water.
DANIELS: This wall is incredibly strong and symbolic. You know, 9/11 we saw the worst of humanity, but in the seconds after it happened we started seeing the best of humanity. And these artifacts are going to speak to that side of the story.
FEYERICK: Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Ground Zero.
Islamic Center Debate
AZUZ: That's not the only construction project around Ground Zero that's getting attention. People are debating plans to build an Islamic center near the site. On Saturday, that debate took to the streets of New York. Rallies were held both for and against the Islamic center, which would contain a mosque; an Islamic place of worship. Some people who are opposed to the center argue it's insensitive for it to be built so close to Ground Zero. But the people who are in favor of the center have pointed out that Muslims were victims of 9/11, too. Their hope is that this Islamic center would help promote understanding. There were no reports of any incidents, any fighting, anything like that between the two rallies.
BARBARA HALL, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! What is the highest award given in the U.S. military? Is it the: A) Bronze Star, B) Medal of Honor, C) Purple Heart or D) Medal of Freedom? You've got three seconds -- GO! The Medal of Honor is the military's highest decoration for bravery. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: The first Medal of Honor was awarded in 1863. More than 3,400 have been given out since that time, but only eight of them have been awarded since the end of the Vietnam War in the 1970s. And all eight of those were awarded posthumously; they were given to troops who had lost their lives. Well, that's about to change. Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta has been named as a Medal of Honor winner. Back in 2007, while he was serving in Afghanistan, Giunta helped rescue several of his fellow soldiers after they were ambushed by Taliban fighters. Giunta is currently stationed in Italy. Officials are working to set up a date for him to come to the White House to get his Medal of Honor.
Gas Line Fire
AZUZ: Some residents of a California neighborhood are coming back to their homes after this fire drove them out late last week. Massive blaze. It happened in San Bruno, which is near San Francisco. It killed at least 4 people. As of yesterday, another half-dozen people were missing. 37 houses destroyed. Officials don't know what started the fire. They do know that it came from a gas line that ran through the area. Some of the people who live there say they had filed complaints with the gas company before the fire about a suspicious smell. The company says, so far, it hasn't found any records of those complaints.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm a type of transportation used by around 25 million people. I operate in all 50 U.S. states. My standard color has been yellow since the 1930s. I'm a school bus, and I'm the most popular way of getting to school.
AZUZ: Well, it might be the most popular way of getting to school, but it can also be expensive for school districts; they have to pay for fuel and maintenance on the buses. One Massachusetts city is thinking about asking parents to help pay the bus bill. Jonathan Hall of affiliate WHDH drives us through the details.
JONATHAN HALL, REPORTER, WHDH: Just look at this traffic jam outside the Barbieri Elementary School, as parents who find themselves without school bus service wait to pick up their young kids. Cars back up outside, with some impatient drivers zipping into the wrong lane just to get by. And there is not a cop nor crossing guard anywhere in sight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait until the winter comes. This could be even worse.
HALL: In an effort to cut costs, Framingham announced over the summer school bus service would be severely cut. The original plan was to do away with ten buses, saving $500,000. But that would mean no student who lives within two miles of his or her school would get bus transportation, free or otherwise. Outraged parents called their opposition a safety issue.
KAREN AVERY, PARENT: I think two miles is kind of far to ask young children to walk.
MARY ANN WILSON, OPPOSES BUS PLAN: It's horrible, and I think it's terrible. And given the fact Framingham, a lot of streets in Framingham don't have sidewalks, I think it's another huge issue. And they didn't hire any extra crossing guards. So, you know, not a good plan.
HALL: Now, it could be a money issue. The school committee looking at restoring bus service, but at a big cost: $400 to $500 per student depending on how many people sign up. This woman has two kids.
Can you afford $1,000 bucks?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Heck no.
WILSON: I think it's outrageous what they're charging. I don't think it should be that much. You are really penalizing the parents and it's not fair.
HALL: School officials say they're looking at reality, $6 million worth of cuts that have to come from somewhere.
STEVEN HIERSCHE, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS: We're trying to do the best we can. The biggest issue is how do we get better funding for schools so that we're not put in this situation of making a series of really bad decisions.
AZUZ: All right, you know what the bus service could cost. You saw all the parents' cars lined up. We're not sure yet how this'll affect the district's schools, but we have an interesting question for you: What would you do in this situation? Would you earn the money to pay for the bus, carpool or just start walkin'? Share your solutions on our blog, CNNStudentNews.com!
Before We Go
AZUZ: We wanted to make sure to carve out some time for today's Before We Go segment. This bearly qualifies as art, but it absolutely qualifies as awesome! A chainsaw carving festival. These wood carvers flocked to Indiana to show off their sawing skills last week. Takes a lot of time and talent. Most of these guys are amateurs, although some make enough money off their sculptures that this is their full-time job.
AZUZ: It's pretty cool to carve out a living making something most people never saw before. I mean, some of those sculptures were off the chain. Anyway, we know that some of you wanna get on our show. You want to see your schools on our Shoutout segment. We did that last year, we're doing them again this year. To find out how to get a Shoutout dedicated to you, go to CNNStudentNews.com. You'll find directions for how your teacher can send us an iReport photo of your school. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.