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A national shame

September 8th, 2011

There are few people who cannot recall exactly where they were on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 when they heard a plane had crashed into the first World Trade Center tower. The memory of what they were doing at the exact moment is still fresh in almost every person’s mind, just as it was when our parents learned of JFK’s assassination in 1963. For the following weeks after the towers came down, my sixth grade history assignments revolved around doing research on the missing, history lessons on the towers, and stories told by my teacher about the heroes who ran into the burning towers and not out of them.

Ten years later, and I can still remember the exact desk I was sitting in when my principal announced the news.

A decade has passed, and perhaps the saddest fact besides the anniversary is that I cannot remember where I was when the reconstruction of the site was broadcasted.  No one can, because it has yet to happen, and will not happen for another two years.

Is this not 100 percent inconsistent with America’s capabilities? It took five years to build the Hoover Dam, eight years and two months to put a man on the moon and just 400 days to build the Empire State Building. Rome wasn’t built in a day, yet it has been 3,649 days since 9/11 and the World Trade Center site has not been completely reconstructed.

I visited the site in 2002 and again recently this past August. While the site has changed with the construction of the new towers, it is a shame there will be nothing completed to present to the public this Sunday. According to the World Trade Center website, there will be five new skyscrapers, (named 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 WTC), The National September 11 Memorial and Museum, a transportation hub, retail space and a performing arts center. What I witnessed this August was a fenced in construction area enclosing a hole in the ground and the five incomplete skyscrapers. I walked around with the thought, “How much longer?” running through my mind; a thought most likely consistent with that of many of the thousands of others viewing the same thing.

As a 12-year-old visiting the site nine years ago, the thought of it being incomplete at age 21 would have never crossed my mind. On the verge of adolescence I was hopeful of the American spirit. Now, I’m frustrated with the politicians, the Union work rules and the constant need to be politically correct. The rebuilding of Ground Zero was supposed to be the symbol of our never-ending perseverance and strength against those who threatened to destroy it. This Sunday, those who gather in lower Manhattan will look up from Ground Zero to see incomplete towers, a symbol of a fervent American spirit gone lukewarm.