The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, August 01, 2002  

WTC Memorial Proposals Continue Their Downward Slide

Further evidence that the proposals for a World Trade Center memorial continue their perpetual slide from dignity to absurdity comes from novelist Gabriella De Ferrari writing in today’s New York Times (“Solace in the Stars”).

De Ferrari’s idea came to her while flying into New York after a month in Tuscany, where the sun apparently shined upon her with stupefying intensity.

It takes some time for De Ferrari to present us with her suggestion. We must first wade through much chatter about skies and stars, attempts to wax poetic about an old carved wooden bench, and the obligatory quote from a foreign writer, in this case Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz.

De Ferrari comes down to this: “The city is now pondering what to build as a memorial to those killed on Sept. 11. Most of the talk is about a monument at the World Trade Center site. But perhaps the families of those who died may also find comfort in something smaller and more personal.”

The climax: “We could build each family a bench to be placed in a spot of their choosing for their own observatory, a place to meditate and think of those who died. Each bench would be a private shrine in a public universe, each star, at times visible and at times imagined, bringing thoughts of eternity that might help us confront what we have seen.”

Yes. And for pigeons to drop on and vagrants to sleep on. Sounds lovely.

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