Ground Zero Memorial Does 9/11 Justice

Many people lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001. Young people, such as the one above, experience grief as well as joy from the new memorial.

Many people lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001. Young people, such as the one above, experience grief as well as joy from the new memorial.

Reese Levine, Staff Writer

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 were some of the most devastating tragedies to occur in America, and the memorial that commemorates them perfectly combines the sense of loss with the rebuilding that has occurred during the past 10 years. Built on the site of the World Trade Center, the memorial is centered around two giant pools that outline the footprints of the former Twin Towers and includes a glade of 400 trees. A museum that is not yet open to the public is also part of the memorial.

Ever since the memorial was announced, critics called it too impersonal or too expensive. Increased tolls on bridges and tunnels, mostly in New Jersey, financed much of the construction.

However, these complaints lose their merit when compared to the tragedy of all the innocent victims and heroic volunteers who lost their lives during the attacks. They deserve to be remembered in the best way possible, and the memorial at ground zero does this.

The memorial is appropriately named “Reflecting Absence;” when one looks down into them, the sunken pools reflect the sky where the Twin Towers stood. Ringing both pools are bronze parapets stencil-cut with the names of those who died in the attacks.

The pools convey an enormous sense of loss, but equally importantly, the trees that surround the central pools serve as symbols of rebirth and rebuilding. A callery pear stands among them; the only surviving tree from the World Trade Center. Like the Survivor Tree at the Oklahoma National Memorial, the callery pear embodies the hope and regrowth that the whole nation went through in the wake of the attacks.

The whole project, when completed, is expected to cost around $700 million, an extravagant amount in some people’s eyes. However, private donations have raised about $400 million, more than half the amount needed.

The non-profit organization that runs the project is hoping to use federal funds for the rest of the building, which, when boiled down, comes out to less than a dollar per person in taxes. This is a more than acceptable amount to help us remember the events that have shaped our lives over the past 10 years.

Almost more controversial than the memorial itself was its opening. First responders and survivors who were in the buildings at the time of the attacks were not invited to the dedication ceremony on 9/11, which was only open to family members of those who died. No religious leaders were allowed to recite prayers during the ceremony.

The people who almost died in the attacks or risked their lives to help others definitely deserved to be included in the dedication ceremony, but unfortunately the logistics of including them were too difficult.

Due to the fact that the 9/11 hijackers were Muslim, in the aftermath of the attacks some people believed that all Muslims were to balme. This led to hate crimes and strained relations between Muslims and people of other religions which still exist today. By not including any religious figures, people can remember the victims by who they were, not what religion they belonged to.

The students at Miramonte today were only four to eight years old at the time of the attacks, and most only have a fuzzy memory. It is important that a large memorial such as the one at ground zero was erected so that we, and the generations that will follow, can remember that day.