Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Image via UCSBRepublicans
Twelve years after 9/11 there is a “memorial” at Ground Zero. It is not a monument or a statue. There is no human form, no representation of the event, its consequences, or our resolve in the face of it. There are two holes in the ground. Water runs into them like storm drains. The names of the dead are inscribed on panels surrounding the . . . drains.
Was this the best we could do?
Yet to open on the site, twelve years after 9/11, is a memorial museum with a “projected $60 million operating budget.”
$60 million a year.
The museum hopes it “can cover 60% of its operating budget with earned revenue, including admissions, gift-shop sales and concessions.”
A 9/11 gift shop.
“The museum plans to charge roughly $20 for adult admission.”
The museum’s “creative director” originally considered Tom Franklin’s iconic photograph of firefighters raising the flag amid the rubble too kitschy and “rah-rah American” to include in the exhibit.
Twelve years later, the new One World Trade Center Building (formerly the “Freedom Tower”) is still not complete. Its office space is only half leased.
Twelve years later, I see 9/11 remembered better elsewhere. Today on West Beach in Santa Barbara, California, the UCSB College Republicans will set out 2,977 flags, one for each person who perished that day. They do it as volunteers so that their generation will never forget.
And on a shady residential street in Montclair, New Jersey can be found, as on every day of the year, a plaque remembering a friend and neighbor. Today the flowers are fresh. And so is the pain of loss.