I have had plenty of time to sort out my thoughts and feelings on the terror strikes of four years ago, and the rebuilding.
The Pentagon has been rebuilt. I imagine and hope that if the White House, the Capitol, Washington Monument, or any other D.C. landmark were struck (heaven forbid) that these would all be built to the original specifications, except maybe reinforced or otherwise made stronger.
Thus, my dissatisfaction with the treatment of the World Trade Center and the Twin Towers.
The following essay has been revised only slightly from my posting on Blogcritics last year. The sentiment is 100% unchanged.
My feelings about the terror attacks three years ago are as fresh as the day after. My palms still sweat when I think about it. When I saw the first images on TV, before the second Tower was struck, my mind was on the ground in Manhattan, where I had a dozen friends working and making their homes. I felt that sick choking feeling until I knew each of them was okay. Then I felt raging anger.
Even though the attacks weren't personal, I felt as though they were. My friends being in Manhattan was just part of it. The World Trade Center was a personal favorite of mine. I thrilled to the sight of them from any angle, but especially when viewed from atop the Empire State Building, or from the Statue of Liberty. I am a capitalist, and no place on earth defines capitalism better than Wall Street and southwestern Manhattan.
So, try as I might to like the proposed designs for the memorialized World Trade Center site, I still absolutely detest them. The memorials fail to memorialize what the Towers were about.
They were selected for destruction by the terrorists for being symbols of capitalism. The Twin Towers were the defining skyscrapers in the defining skyline of the world's definitive financial center. To stand today at the Statue of Liberty and look across the River is to feel the void like a lost love as much as to see the void.
There was a lot of talk in the days following the attacks that the American people must not allow the terrorists win, that we must proceed in the spirit of that hated capitalist mantra, 'business as usual'. How right that common wisdom was.
Well, THE TERRORISTS HAVE WON. It isn't that they ended business as usual. Thankfully, that has resumed. But the premier symbol of capitalism is gone and won't be replaced.
I know that the primary focus of the memorials is those who lost their lives at the site. I have every interest in the world in seeing a fitting tribute paid to them. However, I would be sure to include the spirit that was attacked.
If I was in charge of the process, I would give the greatest tribute to those firefighters who ran up the stairs and to the people who perished while conducting business as usual. I would rebuild the Twin Towers IN EXACTLY THE SAME PLACES UPON WHICH THEY ONCE STOOD, with all dimensions exactly as before save one: the buildings would finish one story higher.
To let the terrorists know that they will not win, they must be given the symbolic 'up yours' that they gave to the American Spirit. Raising the Twin Towers for all to see is the greatest pair of raised middle fingers the haters of America would ever see.
THAT would be the greatest tribute to those who died in the World Trade Center attacks. No candles or mirrors or list of names will EVER come close to honoring them- or the American Spirit- as new Towers would.
In contrast, observe the treatment given the Pentagon, the greatest symbol of the American military. While the scale of destruction visited that building was not nearly as total as that brought to the Twin Towers, what was damaged was repaired and fully operational without any hesitation or debate. Business as usual prevailed at the Pentagon.
It shows you symbolically what is sacred in our country (the military) and what is subject to demolition by group-think (capitalism).