Eight years ago today a terrorist group attacked and killed more than three thousand people. Nothing I can say can improve on what other have said in the memory of this horror, and nothing I can say will change any opinions about what followed.
I would, however, like to express my bitterness and disappointment on the failure to do the one thing almost everyone agreed upon even before the smoke cleared. There was only one right, proper, and American thing to do: rebuild. Rebuild the twin towers as they were, with an extra few feet in height as an act of defiance. Even building a different structure would be better than nothing as long as it was a taller and prouder symbol of American resilience, built with speed and efficiency.
Today – eight years after the towers fell – we have the bare beginnings of scaffolding for what will become a dreadfully cowering structure. The new 1 World Trade Center (formerly the Freedom Tower) will have only half the floor space of either of the Twin Towers taken individually. It will have fewer floors than either of the originals, and its comparable height is only the result of the structure sitting on an ugly and paranoid bunker of a base. Completion is not officially expected until 2013, and recent reports indicate that the actual date of topping out may be as late as 2018.
The original Twin Towers – both of them – went from groundbreaking to completion in a little over four years. The Sears Tower took two years. The current world’s tallest building is the Burj Dubai, and is scheduled for completion this year. Construction started in 2004.
That what should be the most important and symbolic skyscraper in the hemisphere is a tiny shell of an eventual anemic building is nothing less than a national embarrassment. If this were a just world everyone involved would be tarred and feathered. Regrettably this is not a just world, so all I can do is heap scorn and contempt on them from my internet soapbox. What has been allowed to happen is an insult to the memory of those who died. We owed them better.