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Following the attacks, a massive operation was launched to clear the site and attempt to find any survivors amongst the rubble. On September 13 one of the workers at the site, Frank Silecchia discovered a 20 feet (6.1 m) cross of two steel beams amongst the debris of 6 World Trade Center. Those with access to the site used the cross as a shrine of sorts, leaving messages on it or praying before it.
After a few weeks within the cleanup site the cross was an impediment to nearby work, so Silecchia and others working on the project received an expedited approval from the office of New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to erect it on a pedestal on a portion of the former plaza on Church Street near Liberty