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WTC and Other Memorials

Today's NY Daily News has a story about the floundering effort to raise money for the WTC Memorial. " Five Blunders that Plunged the Memorial Into Crisis ". The reasons stated are 1) errors in the time of the fund-raising, 2) budgetary carelessness, 3) developmental problems and infighting, 4 ) no star power to attract donors, and 5) lack of a leader to take charge.

I don't doubt any of this. But my problem with the memorial is a more fundamental one.

The proposed World Trade Center Memorial, and the other alternatives that were considered, were for large and expensive facilities. I question this. Not the need for a Memorial, but for such a large one. There is talk that the WTC Memorial could cost up to $1 billion. That's far too much.

A larger memorial will not make for a more vivid memory of what happened in 2001, not for me. If the memorial were to be one-tenth of the size, I would still think of that day often, and of the friends we all lost.

I don't like the idea of this memorial, or the one proposed for Shanksville, PA being large tourist destinations. The magnitude of what happened in NY, and of the large number of tourists that we see makes it unavoidable here. Tourists come to the WTC site every day, even now when it remains just a pit. When the large Memorial is there, I could see that number going up ten or twenty times.

There was great heroism that took place that day, and that's a huge story. But the essence of what happened was a mass murder. I want to remember it all, the heroism and the horror. Rick Rescorla, and the poor jumpers. The FDNY and the no good sons of bitches who hijacked the planes. I don't need anything to do this. And a far smaller memorial would have suited me fine.

Shanksville, Pennsylvania is in a rural area. There will be a memorial there. I am afraid that the memorial will be proportiontely large for such an area. It will attract tourists, and I could see that changing the character of the area. When I think of a visitors center, and hotels, and people selling " Lets Roll " t shirts, I am sickened. I think that the best memorial to the brave people on that plane who saved so many others would be a small, simple, spare memorial.

There will be more large terrorist acts in this country, and there will be more heroism in response to it. Will we build memorials to all of them? The best memorial is in our minds and hearts. I don't very much need big memorials of steel and concrete and finely-polished marble.

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