Kevin Harr and his wife Liz were among the spectators to line the sidewalks around the 911 Memorial in lower Manhattan Friday as Pope Francis delivered a powerful message about the heroism displayed on September 11, 2001.

The couple, who traveled from Virginia in hopes of seeing the pope, sat by the south pool. People nearby stood on construction blockades and parking posts, straining to catch a glimpse of the pontiff.

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“Most of the people we were seriously affected by 911, I think today will help with the healing,” said Harr, who spotted the pope in his Fiat. “It means a lot to be here, especially for someone who remembers what [ground zero] looked like 10, 20 years ago.”

Angeles Gutierrez, 34, travelled from Mexico for the pope’s historic visit to the U.S. Gutierrez, who wore a Pope Francis T-shirt, said the pope meant everything to her. “[He means] my faith. I think he can do everything for us.”

But the pope’s visit to lower Manhattan wasn’t fun for everyone. One vendor outside Chambers Street station said “it’s been a hassle with authorities” because of the barricades. “They told me to go twice, but I circumvented them,” he said.