The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

7 January 2004

Those who have gone before

There is a fair amount of dissatisfaction with the proposal for the World Trade Center Memorial, and Michele points to an example of How To Do It Right.

In my back yard, more or less.

Last year, the day before 9/11, I found myself at the Fence, where hundreds of small items left by visitors pay silent tribute to the victims of April 19. It is a genuinely moving place, perhaps the most heartbreaking (because it's the simplest) part of the Oklahoma City National Memorial, and if it should inspire someone working on the WTC project, so much the better.

But I remember when I heard the bomb go off at 9:02, and while I'm always pleased to see my hometown recognized for providing a good example, I feel compelled to point out that the Fence, like the rest of the Memorial, is not for us; it's for the 168 friends and neighbors who were taken away in that frightening collision of madness and evil. The WTC planners would do well to remember that their first job is to honor the victims of 9/11, not to produce, as Michele says, "a piece of concept art."

Posted at 7:35 PM to City Scene


It feels strange to say that you love a monument that honors the lives of people we've lost. For all I've seen of the Oklahoma City National Memorial, I think it most strongly conveys the sense of loss associated with an event of that nature. More so than the Vietnam Memorial. Moreso than any proposal for September 11th. It's those damn chairs. Those empty chairs kill me.

I strongly regret that on my one trip through Oklahoma City I wasn't able to see it (because how often do I end up in OKC?).

Posted by: Erica at 3:31 AM on 8 January 2004

I live here, but I can't go very often; sometimes just driving through that part of downtown is more than I can bear.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:53 AM on 8 January 2004