Thursday, May 30, 2002

World Trade Center: Act II

With the final beam removed and the cleanup completed, the debate over what to do with the World Trade Center site is set to begin. Doubtless there will be an array of misty-eyed survivors, using their loss as a bludgeon to force a permanent graveyard of a memorial. In the last several months, you have seen their occasional glare on TV news programs - "How dare you disagree with me? I lost my husband!" There will also be developers and politicians hiding behind arguments of necessity that we must rebuild in a certain way and to certain specifications. The answer, to me, seems clear - rebuild and get on with business as soon as possible, in whatever way can be quickly financed. Set aside an area for a memorial, certainly, but allow the engine of commerce to regain its rightful place. We will be told that just putting up more office towers where people will be seeking profit at a hundred different companies will profane the memory of those who died. That despite the fact that gainful employment and profit are what everyone at the World Trade Center was pursuing when they died.

But before things get unpleasant between the Memorial Park and WTC2 camps, let's take a moment to remember the day and review the progress the site has made since September 11.

Final figures:

2,823 people killed
19,500 body parts collected
1,092 victims identified
1,616 death certificates issued without a body at the request of victims' families
105 people still missing


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