2004-07-08 / View From the Middle

View From

The Middle
By Charles Rogers
View From The Middle By Charles Rogers


Freedom Tower: Was There Enough Time To Mourn?

The symbol was deep gray — mottled, if you will; a slab of granite, chosen because it is one of the hardest of stones. Inscribed along its side was the tribute to "the enduring spirit of freedom," and it was hoisted and put into place on a special day in this United States of America, July 4, Independence Day.

There were elected officials on hand to officiate at the dedication in a ceremony during which the cornerstone was laid at Ground Zero in lower Manhat-tan last Sunday, the site of what once was the Twin Towers and would eventually be called Freedom Tower. It would symbolically — and fittingly — be 1,776 feet tall.

The ceremony was touching and heart-tugging, especially to those who lost loved ones on Septem-ber 11, 2001.

Governor Pataki was the main speaker, noting that it was symbolic on this day, especially, that the first stone of the tower should be placed in the hallowed ground, 70 feet below street level. He talked of the "revolutionary spirit" that connected the contemporary meeting with the beginning of our nation.There are those who applauded the building of the new tower at this time and in this manner. There are also those who protested that the new edifice is being built too soon — much too soon.

Those who complained, including some whom had loved ones perish in the disaster, said we are not allowing enough time to mourn.

They have a point.

While the Governor, Mayor Bloomberg and New Jersey Governor James McGreevey and others who spoke at the dedication ceremony heralded the day, one must pause to think about the time span between now and that dark September day only three years ago.

Is it enough time?

Of course we will not forget. How could we? But by laying this cornerstone to a building that will be the tallest in the world when it’s completed, supposedly in 2006, with first occupancy in 2008, are we saying, "let’s get on with it?" It almost sounds too much like a Mayor Michael Bloomberg exclamation, uttered without heart and with not an iota of compassion.

No doubt we must "get on with it." But perhaps we could have pondered awhile first. Perhaps there might have been more time allotted for prayers and words of sympathy and acts of compassion.

True, the words inscribed in the granite also says "To honor and remember those who lost their lives..." But is it enough?


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