Sunday, September 11, 2005


My original agenda for today was to go downtown to J&R and buy a subcompact digital camera, and then go down the street to Ground Zero to take some snapshots of the ceremonies there. I changed my mind when I realized that a block was, at the very least, the closest I would get, and that most of the activity would be taking place at the bottom of a pit six stories deep. No matter how good you think your camera is or what you think you can see with your eyes, your photographs, under these circumstances, look like a bunch of dots.

So Jim and I watched here at home on TV, where we could see and hear the siblings of the people killed that day reading off all the names.

Some of the readers, after saying "we miss you and we love you," added "and we will fight to see that you get the memorial that you deserve."

These comments reflect a conflict that's going on with the plans for a Cultural Center to be built on the site, especially with a part called the International Freedom Center. A family member from the campaign to Take Back The Memorial says:

"The organizers of the International Freedom Center say that in order to understand 9/11, we must see exhibits about slavery, segregation and genocide and its impact around the world. This is a history that we all should know and learn, but not here -- not on sacred ground," said Michael Burke, whose brother, Billy, was one of the 343 firefighters killed responding to the attacks.

"Nobody is coming to this place to learn about Ukraine democracy or to be inspired by the courage of Tibetan monks. They're coming for September 11."

The theme of the IFC, especially since I'm hearing about it through the objections of a lot of working-class families, seems to have a whiff of politically correct "Can You Blaaaaaaame Them?" to it. Proponents of the Center say that it is "entirely non-partisan and outside of politics" and also has "bi-partisan advisors."

Be that as it may, I don't feel it's appropriate to have anything political at the site, even marionettes singing "It's A Small World After All." If you open the door to "multi-culti" exhibits, you have to open the door to the Bushies going "They Hate Our Freedoms...So Let's Invade Canada."

There are places for all those agendas, but it's not Ground Zero.

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