Posts from November 2003

What should inspire

What should inspire
: The New York Times adds to the collective shrug that has met the World Trade Center memorial designs.

The eight memorial designs being considered for the World Trade Center site seem to have done almost everything they were supposed to do. Except resonate in the public imagination.

They may not have been greeted with the impassioned hostility from some quarters that first met Maya Lin’s design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. But neither have they been fervently embraced….

Yet the plans seem to have left people hungering for something else.

“There is a remarkable sameness to these designs,” said the New York metropolitan chapter of the American Planning Association.

“None provide a well-designed urban public gathering space, none make use of the artifacts from the World Trade Center buildings and none convey the urban and international texture of the place that made it a target for attack… Most glaring, the designs as they stand do little to recall the actual horror of the destruction of the towers or the void left at ground zero.”

In general, said Michael Kuo of the Municipal Art Society, the public feels the designs “did not communicate really what happened here, at this place” and “did not go beyond the victims to reflect the sense of community that held us together after our city and our lives were torn apart.”

The Times questions whether one memorial can do everything it should. It goes on to argue that the memorial is already being built:

…start thinking of the memorial collectively – the sphere, the pit, the chapel, the wall, the cross, each and every firehouse and all the other unplanned shrines where 9/11 has already been marked. Because in some respects, while the city has been planning a memorial, the memorial has already been built.

I don’t agree that the memorial already exists. But I do fervently agree that the elements listed there in New York’s ad hoc memorial are exactly what are missing from the proposals: Contributions from us.

I don’t mean to keep coming back to my proposal, as if plugging it, but this is why I included a place where people could leave their memories and this is why I devised a video memorial that could be updated with new views and new perspectives over time, because we must help build this memorial.

We are all mourners. We are, together, the memory of that event.

: MommaBear also comes out against the proposals, saying that the World Trade Center site is a battleground and should have a battleground memorial.

: In some ways, it would have been better if the proposals had evoked the strong emotions of Maya Lin’s Vietnam memorial.

Evoking a shrug is the last thing this memorial should do.

The war we must win

The war we must win
: Tom Friedman wrote an important column today that he should have saved for Sunday, not a holiday. Writing as if he were Saddam Hussein sending a note to George Bush, he says:

You see, Bush, this really is “The Mother of All Battles.” You may not have meant to, but you have triggered a huge civilizational war


: What a great move:

In a stunning mission conducted under enormous secrecy, President Bush flew into Baghdad today aboard Air Force One to have dinner with United States officials and a group of astonished American troops.

His trip — the first ever to Iraq by an American president — had been kept a matter of absolute secrecy by the White House, which had said that he would be spending the Thanksgiving weekend at his ranch outside Crawford, Tex….

The trip was an extraordinary gesture, with scant precedent, and was seen as an effort by Mr. Bush to show the importance he attaches to the embattled United States-led effort to pacify and democratize Iraq.

Bravo. [AP pool photo]

: Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton goes to Afghanistan.

: Ryan Pitts says he doesn’t much care how much Bush’s team calculated the political benefits of the trip.

Right. This is above politics. This is presidential. This shows the support for the troops that they need and deserve.


: A flight attendant who should have been on one of the death flights of September 11 — but who took a vacation day — has been unable to work since but she was just denied workers’ comp. From the Star-Ledger:

This is the legacy of Sept. 11, 2001: Even the lucky ones suffer.

United Airlines flight attendant Kim Stroka had been scheduled to work Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco, but took the day off to look after her daughter. She was on her way to pick up the girl from school when she learned the plane had been hijacked by terrorists and crashed in Shanksville, Pa., killing all aboard.

Distraught that a co-worker had died in her place, Stroka had difficulty eating and sleeping. She could not return to work. A psychologist treated her for post-traumatic stress disorder and a workers’ compensation judge awarded her medical and disability payments.

Yesterday brought her more bad news. A state appeals court ruled Stroka, 43, of Howell is not entitled to collect workers’ compensation because “her disability did not arise in the course of her employment.”

They’re afraid of setting a precedent. Jeesh. The judges and the airline should be ashamed.

Flim flam at 11

Flim flam at 11
: Will Farrell is lampooning TV news in Anchorman, a movie coming out next summer. But you can see the trailer now. [via Lost Remote]