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Jim Cramer reflects on 'Ground Zero Rising': Merging commerce & remembrance

The title of CNBC's documentary "Ground Zero Rising: Freedom vs. Fear" encompassed the wide range of emotions Jim Cramer felt as he reported on the rebirth of the World Trade Center.

"As someone who has worked downtown most of my life — including that day 15 years ago — I have watched as a hallowed hole in the ground, a grave site, has been turned into a thoughtful memorial and bustling center of commerce," the "Mad Money" host said.

Cramer said he began reporting on the documentary with two misconceptions. The first was that it would take forever to rebuild a site that could meld both commerce and remembrance in a dignified way.

He was also a bit fearful to go to the location. He cited one instance when he first began filming at the World Trade Center and instinctively ducked his head when he saw a plane reflected in the glass of One World Trade.





Jim Cramer at One World Trade Center for his new documentary Ground Zero Rising.
CNBC
Jim Cramer at One World Trade Center for his new documentary Ground Zero Rising.
"The new construction dovetails with the reflection pools that fit the footprint of the original towers far more tastefully and respectably than I thought possible." -Jim Cramer

As Cramer did interview after interview at the site, he soon learned that the noisy coalition of interests did come together in what he described as a "uniquely democratic way."

"One World Trade was successful in accomplishing the impossible: building a respectful memorial to those who lost their lives, as well as erecting a wondrous and secure tower that serves as a monumental statement of defiance and resilience that made me proud of our city and our country," he said.

The ability to merge commerce and remembrance in an honorable way seemed an impossible goal for Cramer. He hopes viewers who watch the documentary agree that the project succeeded in doing both.

"That is a uniquely personal judgment that you must make on your own, so I urge you to go see it for yourself," Cramer said.

Cramer also found that the people he interviewed were both thoughtful and trenchant in their remembrance, and were simultaneously proud to look forward to the day when the work was finished.

"The new construction dovetails with the reflection pools that fit the footprint of the original towers far more tastefully and respectably than I thought possible."

Most important, Cramer noted, was that he began reporting the documentary thinking he would be fearful of working with the tower. He finished with the realization that he was too fearful of the address of the building, and recognized that there is a risk of terrorism everywhere.

"Ground Zero is indeed rising in its own unique way. A story I am proud to have reported on and honored to get to share with you … Take a look at this moment and be sure to tune in for the rest tonight," Cramer said.

Programming note: "Ground Zero Rising: Fear vs. Freedom" airs on CNBC on Sept. 1 at 10 p EST

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