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Home > World

Fitting Footprints

"A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build..."

(Ecclesiastes 3:3)

8 January 2004

The memorial for the Twin Towers site has been chosen: two square pools (marking the 'footprints' of the collapsed towers) and some trees. The name of the memorial: 'Reflecting Absence'. A slightly wet name, but a pleasant enough design:


The number of trees was a sticking point for a time. Michael Arad's original design only had a smattering, but a smattering wasn't enough for the jury who had been tasked with choosing a fitting memorial. They brought in a veteran architect, Daniel Libeskind, to try and solve the problem of the lack of trees. He suggested more trees. This seemed to do the trick.

According to the chairman of the jury, Vartan Gregorian, there will now be: "teeming groves of trees, traditional affirmations of life and rebirth. The result is a memorial that expresses the incalculable loss of life and its regeneration."

Trees are always a safe bet for symbolising regeneration. Except when they die and have to be dug up.

However, even with the extra trees, the design has not impressed one or two relatives of victims: "This is minimalism, and you can't minimalise the impact and the enormity of September 11," said Anthony Gardner, whose brother died in the September 11th attack. "You can't minimalize the deaths. You can't minimalize the response of New Yorkers."

Presumably Anthony Gardner wanted something a bit more fancy. A bit more ornate. A touch of gothic splendour. Something like this, maybe:



1) the dragon symbolizes the anger of terrorists (supported by rogue states) who see the freedom of America and get livid and bomb stuff.

2) the figure of Death symbolizes death.

3) Death is standing on a giant beachball which symbolizes the triumph of the human spirit (but also the fragility of existence). It's a shame giant beachballs aren't used more in memorials. They've got a lot going for them in the symbolization department.

4) the inverted head of Barry Manilow is suspended by a chain from Death's scythe.

We have forwarded these designs to the committee chairman, Vartan Gregorian, but have yet to hear back from him. Then again, Vartan Gregorian must has a lot on his plate: what with having to judge memorial designs and battle Flash Gordon.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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