Misty, damp weather and a small crowd awaited Pope Benedict XVI at Ground Zero Sunday morning, befitting the mood of the site where nearly 3,000 people died in 2001 at terrorists' hands. ( dpa )
The area, now a building site for Freedom Tower which is to replace the destroyed World Trade Center, was cordoned off with tight security on the final day of Benedict's six-day historic sojourn in the US that has been overshadowed by his quest for reconciliation over the child sex abuse scandals.
Benedict was expected to pray at Ground Zero not only for the thousands who died here, but also for God's help in healing the hate that propelled Islamist hijackers to kill so many.
Little more than 100 well-wishers waited outside the secure area to catch a glimpse of the pontiff, who has been greeted by large crowds as he moved through the sun-drenched streets of Washington and New York over the past five days.
After his prayers at Ground Zero, Benedict, 81, will head to Yankee baseball stadium to hold Mass for tens of thousands before heading back to Rome Sunday evening.