Wounded Vets Make Emotional Trip to Ground Zero

CBS New York

NEW YORK — Nearly two dozen wounded veterans took a life-changing trip to the 9/11 Memorial on Thursday. Emotions ran high as New York’s Finest offered the group of heroes a salute.

[To see a video of the visit, please click here.]

Marine Corporal Christian Brown looked toward the sky as he took in the site for the first time.

“I had never seen any of this, but I was willing to die for it,” he told CBS 2′s Amy Dardashtian.

Cpl. Brown lost both of his legs in 2011 when he stepped on a 28-lb. bomb, in spite of his injuries, Cpl. Brown remains proud of his service.

“Being able to be at ground zero, being able to see the reason we were there, it brings it home,” he said, “I had my 9/11 Memorial bracelet down by my limbs and I said I would do it again, and I absolutely would.”

The group consisted of men who share similar struggles, some of them have experienced multiple amputations.

“They say a lot of guys run away from flying bullets, some guys run to ‘em. All these guys ran to ‘em,” Sgt. Ben Tomlinson said.

A tree that survived the attack on the towers stands at the site to this day, for veterans it is easy to connect to.

“I stepped directly on an IED in Kandahar province during a patrol and my mid-thigh and down was totally vaporized,” Captain Ben Harrow said.

For Captain Harrow just getting around can be a challenge.

“I couldn’t get into some rooms because the door was too small, because of my wheelchair, to go up the stairs. I had to crawl up the stairs,” he said.

The Tunnel To Towers Foundation and The Gary Sinise Foundation are building new homes for dozens of wounded veterans, the so-called ‘smart homes’ will be wheel chair accessible and powered by iPads.

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