Portney’s Complaint

Portneys Complaint

Portney’s Complaint

Devon Portney

Currently, the process of building a memorial at ground zero in New York City has been drawn out over the past five years. Disagreements over design, building plans, materials, and size have all affected the most important component- money. While the squabbling continues, other aspects of the memorial design remain up for debate. On the official memorial website, www.takebackthememorial.org, there are links to recent newspaper articles which cover anything regarding the memorial, as well as updated information on the status of its construction.

At this time, on the home page is a vote for the order in which the names should be placed on the memorial. The two choices are ‘by affiliation’ and ‘randomly’. I believe that no victim was a better or more important person than another, and I would support listing the fire fighters and police who gave their lives on 9/11 separately. Why should there be an importance level among everyone on the planes and in the buildings?

After voting for ‘randomly’ and seeing that over 73% of the votes had gone to ‘by affiliation’, I read some posted information on the building process. At this point, the cost of the memorial construction is estimated at $2.78 billion. That is the amount recently granted to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC), by Congress and U.S. taxpayers.

The current design is 31% smaller than the original design, by Michael Arad. The new plan includes only one entrance and one exit, which could create safety issues during high traffic of people, and will certainly create frustrating congestion.

But perhaps the greatest injustice of all is that the central waterfalls will only work for nine months out of the year. Take Back the Memorial asserts that these size and aesthetic changes are unfair to the taxpayers and the future visitors to the site. With the enormous budget allowed for the construction, one would think that LMDC could build better tourist accommodations.

I believe there is even a greater issue here. $2.78 billion? What is enough money to remember? What is enough to tax the hard working Americans suffering through this post 9/11 sunken economy? No matter how much money we waste on buildings, time cannot be reversed. 9/11 happened, and it was a great tragedy. But if we put all that money into our communities, schools, and hospitals, we would increase the strength of America as a people, and increase the individual strength of everyday Americans.

To honor the memory of those who died on September 11, don’t just grab your checkbook and be done with it. Handing over money doesn’t take heart or thought. By examining the world around you, being aware of what your government is doing and how it is affecting your community, and making educated decisions that are your own, you honor those who were victims on that fateful day. Blind donations simply create buildings, but our hearts and minds can bring about knowledge and prevention.

Devon is the managing editor of The Mass Media. You can e-mail her at [email protected]. Send her an angry letter, or a happy one.