Friday, April 28, 2006

The Rebuilding Commences

Yesterday was a rather bittersweet day, as construction officially began at Ground Zero on the Freedom Tower, which will be largest building in the world when it is completed. The city and developer Larry Silverstein reached an agreement earlier this week that officially allow work to commence on the rebuilding at the World Trade Center site.

It's been a long hard fight, as it seemed no one could agree on exactly what to build at Ground Zero. Back in 2001, I knew that this would happen. The city and Port Authority wants to revitalize Lower Manhattan and put back as much of the 10 million square feet that was lost in the attacks. That is fine, as it is important to show the world that we've come all the way back since the terror attacks.

My main concern remains the memorial. I have proudly supported the family groups in the fight to make sure that their loved ones are remembered with the best possible memorial at the site. The city and the LMDC still wants to put the memorial underground, which is dangerous and just doesn't make much sense. All the memorials around the United States, from Pearl Harbor to Gettysburg to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, are all soaring remembrances and all beautiful. The one at Ground Zero should likewise be beautiful and soaring. I don't want to go to one years from now where I have to fight crowds and go down BELOW street level to see it.

They also want to put the names of the victims in random order on the memorial. This is beyond stupid. Everyone who died on September 11, 2001 should be remembered TOGETHER, be it firefighters, police officers or office workers. In other words, the Cantor Fitzgerald victims should be together, and not scattered all over the place. They knew each other, worked together and died together. They should be remembered together for eternity.The LMDC feels that we should see everyone's names before we find our loved ones. That's just insane. It's not like we just want to find our loved ones and ignore everyone else. We want to honor everyone who lost their life that day, and it should be done appropriately.

Yesterday's start of construction may also mean that I may have gone down into the pit of the site for the last time. The last four September 11 remembrances, I've gone down there, and it is one of the most heart-wrenching experiences of my life. (The picture above is from the 2005 remembrance on the floor of the site.) But it is something I know I had to do, to remember my lost friend Joyce. I will continue to be there every September 11 for the rest of my life, no matter what is eventually there.

I only hope the memorial that eventually is built there is something we can all be proud of.

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