Facing Reality II-WTC Memorial

And then, there’s the planned WTC Memorial.

When the Port Authority reported that the projects on the World Trade Center site were seriously delayed, the head of the foundation building the memorial insisted that it was ‘essential’ that the memorial be completed by 2011. Apparently wishful thinking will make it so. Or is it that he fears that the rest of us will have moved on with our lives?

Of course there should be a memorial to the original Twin Towers and the people who lost their lives on 11 September. But does that mean that a dozen acres of prime Manhattan real estate should be given over in perpetuity for moaning and wailing?

After the events of 11 September, we were all in a state of shock. Some people suggested that the site be left alone. There were letters to the newspaper editors, full of resentment that the subway and PATH people set to work in the depths of the Pit to restore their respective facilities: how dare they take my loved one’s resting place for a train station!

Eventually, in this overheated atmosphere, a plan emerged, with two reflecting pools covering the footprints of the original Towers. It effectively precludes the use of the site for other purposes. While there is green space and (I’d like to imagine) places to sit, I can imagine that there will be howls of protests about letting hod dog vendors into the area, lest it spoil the somber mood of the place.

The foundation responsible for the memorial (you can read more about it at http://www.national911memorial.org/) reported in March that they had met their $350 million fundraising goal for the project. That sounds like a lot of popular support until you read a little further: about 80% of the total comes from donations of $5 million or more, and over 95% comes from donations of $1 million or more. Only a relative handful came from ordinary people who sent in a few dollars for the cause.

So I guess it will get built, eventually. But I’d rather have a useful park, where one might go for a twilight concert or something, than a monument to our pain and suffering.

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