Since 2001 in the United States, especially in the media, “Ground Zero” is generally understood the site of the World Trade Center, destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks. The phrase was applied to the World Trade Center within hours after the towers collapsed. It seems that the first use of the term in current output in North America media in reference to the September 11 attacks was that at about 16:41 In an interview with Peter Jennings of ABC News, the lawyer and survivor of the attacks Tom Humphreys (spelled “Humphries” in the air), he said, referring to the fall of the south tower, which
“The tragedy is that the police officers and firefighters who tried to help people in that building were right at Ground Zero when it happened “
The next known reference occurred at 7: 47 pm (EDT) on that day, when CBS News reporter Jim Axelrod said:
“Less than four miles behind me is that the Twin Towers were this morning. But not tonight. Ground Zero, as is being reported in today’s terrorist attacks that have sent aftershocks rippling across the country “.
The term “Ground Zero” was used simultaneously by NBC News reporter Rehema Ellis in its report was broadcast on NBC at the same time as Jim Axelrod report on CBS News. She said:
“We’re just a block from the World Trade Center and the closer we get to” ground zero “is more difficult to breathe and see.”
Rescuers also used the phrase “The Pile”, referring to the pile of debris that remained after the buildings collapsed.