Using the innocents, continued
: To be blunt: The so-called International Freedom Center at the World Trade Center should be nothing less than a temple to democracy, modernity, tolerance, separation of church-and-state, capitalism, and America — yes, damnit, America.
I couldn’t get the reputed Freedom Center out of my mind this morning because, as our church year ends, we talked about the start of the next, which happens to fall on September 11, the four-year anniversary. On that date, I know I will debate whether to mark the moment, memories, and memorial at one holy place or another: at church or at the site of the crime and sacrifice of our innocents.
The World Trade Center is a sacred place and so I hate to see it used as a monument not just to those innocents and to freedom but also to those who try to deprive others of freedom. Oh, yes, you can argue that they are two sides of the same card, two ends of the same lesson. But I agree with those who say that lesson can and should be taught elsewhere. And wherever it is taught, it must be completely: It must include all the many affronts to freedom, democracy, and human rights that occur in the lands that allegedly hate us. And I don’t care if they hate us. I don’t care, not at that place, not at that moment.
The World Trade Center should be the one place where America and what it stands for is defended against any assault. It should be like the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetary, and the Statue of Liberty: a place to be proud of our nation and what we stand for against those who would try to defeat us.
The more I think about the so-called Freedom Center, the more offended I am. But I didn’t say it as bluntly as this before; I mistakenly saw that we needed to edit the plan that was presented to us. No, we need to start over with a proper plan.
Between now and September 11th, Gov. Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg, the LMDC, and other officials should assure that the Freedom Center will, in fact, celebrate Freedom and mean it.