In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, many beloved public spaces were abruptly closed or had their access severely restricted. At the time, the public generally resigned itself to the new restrictions as a necessary evil in a time of war.

Fifteen years later, the public has stopped noticing. In some cases, such as scenic overlooks at certain dams, the government spent millions on new roads and bridges to allow the public access from less risky positions. But in other places, the restrictions remain, and it's the public space itself that has faded from view.

Before Scott Kopytko joined the New York City Fire Department, he worked as a commodities broker in the South Tower at the World Trade Center. On Sept. 11, he rushed up the stairs of his old office building, trying to save lives with his fellow firefighters before the towers fell.

"He went to work, and he never came back," says his stepfather, Russell Mercer.

Danny Nolan was the first man to swing a wrecking ball in Manhattan in 25 years. Wrecking balls hadn't been allowed on the island for a very simple reason: The buildings are much too close together to allow a huge ball to swing back and forth.

An exception was made for Nolan because he, and the other construction workers of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 14, were "working the pile" — hauling away what was left in the World Trade Center towers after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Fifteen years after the attacks of Sept. 11, Americans have grown aware not only of the danger of terrorism but also of the reality that their nation is far less white, Christian and European than it used to be.

"Culturally, we're a country of Bollywood and bhangra and tai chi and yoga and salsa and burritos and halal and kosher," says Diana Eck, professor of comparative religion at Harvard University and author of A New Religious America.

Bretagne, a 16-year-old golden retriever and the last known remaining Sept. 11 search dog, was euthanized Monday in Texas.

Wilson Sayre

At a solemn ceremony today, the North Campus of Miami Dade College dedicated a new memorial to honor those lost in the attacks on 9/11. 

The memorial is about 10 feet high. On top of the base, which is supposed to represent the Pentagon, there is a granite column with three sides. Each side has the name of a place that was attacked on Sept. 11 along with a quote of remembrance. On top of the column is a two foot piece of what looks like an I-beam with a large nail sticking out of it.