Paying Homage

Arial view of the site of collapsed World Trade Center towers, New York City, WTC, Ground Zero, March 2002 AP

They are starting to talk seriously now about what to do with Ground Zero, where the World Trade Towers once stood. Should new skyscrapers be built there? Or should the subway lines that once ran beneath it and the roads that crossed over it be restored? And what kind of monument should be there for those who died?

There are questions, all of them, and they're good questions. But for a while, anyway, here is my answer: Do nothing. Because nothing we can do can adequately express or memorialize what happened there.

I went to Ground Zero several weeks ago, and as I looked out on those 16 acres of rubble, I could not help but think of Lincoln's words at Gettysburg, the words that all of us memorized as school children. That those who died there have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.

I'm told that people who lose a hand or a limb can still feel it, and as I looked across that gray field where the towers once stood, I could still feel them -- the buildings, the people. But they were not there.

Only when you look across that vast expanse can you comprehend the enormity of what happened there, how big those buildings were, how much death there was, how much heroism there had to be to save so many lives.

In time, someone will think of a proper memorial, but for now, leave it alone. It is a scene we must never forget, and we should give as many Americans as possible a chance to see it just as it is.
  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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