The World Trade Center towers proved to be an irresistible target to Islamic terrorists. They attacked it first in 1993, hoping to topple the North Tower into the South Tower. Fortunately, “only” six people were killed. But we didn’t take them seriously. So on September 11, 2002, they finished the job they’d started, this time killing nearly 3,000.
It’s important not to forget the details of those traumatic and treacherous strikes, because those attacks were on us. Not on military professionals who accepted danger as part of their mission, but on civilians. They were our wives and husbands, our parents and children, our friends and co-workers. They were at work, providing for their families, building their futures. They held no particular animosity toward Islam, probably never gave world religions or their grievances a thought.
Also among the dead were brave New York firefighters and police officers, men and women who embodied the concepts of honor, duty, and valor. They knew their jobs and did them, without regard to their own personal safety. If you ever need an example of what a hero embodies, look no further than those who served so selflessly on September 11.
Ever since the country recovered from its initial shock, it was clear that Ground Zero is a living monument. Yet even now, eight years later, there’s not complete agreement on what should be built on the site. New York apparently sees the practical need to replace some of the office space that was eliminated. But the initial plan called for a number of towers to be built, and the current economic climate doesn’t support that much space. And as one person observed, would you place an office tower over the Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor? Or allow an IHOP to be built at Auschwitz?
I think the site should be used solely as a monument to the people who lost their lives there on September 11. The rest should be a memorial park. Anything else risks turning an important part of American history into a commercial enterprise – and that could be an unforgivable desecration of hallowed ground.