NEW YORK (Reuters) - People should stop calling the site of the September 11 attacks "Ground Zero," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Tuesday, urging Americans to move past a term long linked with the World Trade Center's twin towers destruction.

"We will never forget the devastation of the area that came to be known as ground zero. Never. But the time has come to call those 16 acres what they are: The World Trade Center and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum," Bloomberg said in a speech on the rebuilding of lower Manhattan.

Ground Zero originated as a term to describe the site of a nuclear explosion and later was used to refer to the point of any dramatic or violent event.

New Yorkers started calling the World Trade Center site Ground Zero shortly after suicide hijackers destroyed the twin towers and killed nearly 3,000 people.

For several years the site was also known as "the pit" because reconstruction of a new World Trade Center was stalled, leaving a large hole in the ground. But today it is an active construction site with two of four planned skyscrapers under construction and the memorial plaza set to open in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

"The rebirth and revitalization of lower Manhattan will be remembered as one of the greatest comeback stories in American history," Bloomberg said.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Mark Egan and Jackie Frank)




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