September 10, 2011

"The National September 11 Memorial — here shown for the first time..."

"... opens tomorrow on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks and is a dazzling tribute to the lives lost..."

58 comments:

TWM said...

I look forward to visiting it one day.

Steve Austin said...

Not sure what to think. Those two empty holes that the water pours into are both stunning and horrifying imagery.

I think I might have wanted something more upbeat. Not sure. I give them credit though for boldness. Those two holes do make a huge statement. Just not sure what it is yet.

Big Mike said...

The Department of Defense showed the right way to do it -- they fixed the Pentagon and it was better than new and back in operation one calendar year later.

Left to me I'd have rebuilt the two towers in their same footprint and at the same height, but reinforced them better so that they'd never come down again.

Or maybe just one tower, with a curved top and something resembling a fingernail -- pointed towards Mecca.

Simon said...

I think it looks great. The potential for botching it was enormous given prevailing aesthetic tastes and political pressures, but this is perfect—clean, simple, moving.

Phil 3:14 said...

Yes, the heavily armed law enforcement officer IS our lasting memorial to 9/11

TWM said...

"I think I might have wanted something more upbeat. Not sure. I give them credit though for boldness. Those two holes do make a huge statement. Just not sure what it is yet."

I understand your point of view, but remember that the very somber Vietnam Memorial was also not what many wanted at first, but now it's the most visited Memorial in the nation.

SJL said...

I think it is perfect.

"Those two empty holes that the water pours into are both stunning and horrifying imagery."

Yes, that is just what we need. We cannot forget the horror.

There is no need to be upbeat....unless, of course, there would be a memorial to the firefighters - but that would be horrifying, as well, even if uplifting.

Darcy said...

This is beyond anything I'd hoped for. I agree with Steve that the imagery it evokes is, well, I would say breathtakingly beautiful and solemn and heartbreaking at the same time. I didn't think they would get there with all the politics involved. But they did, and I'm grateful.

I want to go see it and put my hands on it. And remember always. Not the anger, but the loss.

Simon said...

Bigger picture.

Quayle said...

I agree with Steve Austin.

At first I liked the two footprint holes.

Now, not much at all.

I much prefer Bruce Springsteen's imagery in "The Rising".

Can't see nothin' in front of me
Can't see nothin' coming up behind
I make my way through this darkness
I can't feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I've gone
How far I've gone, how high I've climbed
On my back's a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile line

Come on up for the rising
Com on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

...

Spirits above and behind me
Faces gone, black eyes burnin' bright
May their precious blood forever bind me
Lord as I stand before your fiery light

rhhardin said...

I can't keep the memorials straight.

Steve Austin said...

Good point on the Vietnam memorial. This 9-11 memorial will be one of the most visited places in the country. I don't question the power of what they created.

But one interpretation of the water going "down" into that endless pit might give an interpretation of those who died as going into "hell" so to speak. Although I realize the bleakness of it vividly portrays the bleakness of that day.

It is a brilliant piece of art. Just trying to make sense of the interpretations the designers wanted.

On a somewhat snide rhetorical note, will there be an interactive kiosk nearby on radical Islam? Based on all modern memorial and museum design, don't we need something like that so people 40 years from now can understand this wasn't just some random act?

Ann Althouse said...

This is the sort of thing that defies critics, now that it's there.

But ever since the Vietnam Memorial, it's assumed that if many people died, what we need is a black gash in the earth and all the names displayed. It's both abstract and literal.

Maybe some day, some new artist will move us beyond the Maya Lin Era.

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Ann's mention of the Vietnam Memorial makes me think of the demand by the vets to have something more then The Wall - what they called a "hole in the ground" - and the creation of the statue.

It might serve Bloomie right if something similar happens in Gotham, with a statue of a cop, a fireman, and a clergyman gets put up some day.

Quayle said...

OK, as usual I spoke too hastily. After further thought I want to modify my opinion.

(And I'm writing as one who worked at 4 WTC for a few years, and whose parents went through the WTC every weekday for 20 years.)

The total effect of the memorial and site won't really come together until towers 2, 3 and 5 are completed.

Currently, towers 1 and 4 are the only ones above ground, so the subterranean footprints are over prominent.

But with the completion of towers 2 and 3 planned for the east side of the square and tower 5 on the south side, added to the Freedom tower on the north side, tower 4 on the south east side, and the Calatrava train station, the total effect will likely be stunning - five tall new buildings pushing upward, very closely surrounding the dark holes going down.

That will probably be pretty amazing - when the full plan is completed.

paminwi said...

The memorial seems fine and I am sure I will visit it someday. I am concerned the Father Mychal Judge, the Chaplain of the the NYFD is not noted as a "Father" where his name is inscribed on the memorial. I understand the FD and his family wanted his name listed as "Father" and the powers that be decided it might not be appropriate. Political correctness run amok if you ask me.

foxlets14 said...

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

"The story of September 11 must for all time become the story of how a certain date became unspeakable to al-Qaeda and its followers; a tale of how this day of all others, became the blackest day in the history of Islam. It should forever be a date that can never be mentioned without arousing a deep sense of shame throughout the Middle East so that in generations hence, people should still come up to strangers unbidden and say, “I’m sorry for September 11. “ Until then it is unfinished business.

'We have no right to forgive. We have no right to forget. We have no right to move on until this final condition is met. That in the holy of holies of our civilization’s enemies, in the innermost recesses of their sanctum sanctorum they should say with heartfelt ardor: never again. Never again. Never, ever again."

http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2011/09/10/the-unfinished-business-of-september-11/#more-17075

edutcher said...

pam, mentioning that Mychal Judge was a Catholic priest would be exclusionary - especially to all the Muzzzlims.

Quayle said...

.....with all towers the message seems to be 'you knock down two, we'll rebuild four.'

Darcy said...

And yet a literal (and profound) black gash in the earth is exactly what it was.

Darcy said...

@Quayle

I liked it even before your reminder of the buildings to come. Tall buildings. Remembrance, renewal and defiance.

edutcher said...

I've always thought a park would be the best memorial. Nothing fancy, but green trees and grass in that part of Manhattan seems to be something worth having.

Then, too, I think the kind of office building represented by the Twin Towers is obsolete in an age of wireless communication and telecommuting.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann's mention of the Vietnam Memorial makes me think of the demand by the vets to have something more then The Wall - what they called a "hole in the ground" - and the creation of the statue."

The combination of the Maya Lin wall and that statue is, artistically, terrible. The 2 sculptures together make a monument to a controversy about taste. That's an inappropriate intrusion into the somber space.

Ann Althouse said...

"Political correctness run amok if you ask me."

Isn't it just some neutral rule like: names only, no titles.

Would you have wanted the families dictating the addition of "Dr." or "PhD" or "Esq." to the different names?

It seems to me that it was right to chose simplicity and uniformity, and reading hostility toward religion or political correctness into it is... not the best way to go.

Quayle said...

It seems to me that it was right to chose simplicity and uniformity

I agree.

During the middle of the worst of it, to each other the people were just people.

From what I've seen and read, some executives became the helped, and other admin assistants became leaders.

Palladian said...

The memorial is perfect.

And the scowling paramilitary cop in the foreground with the automatic weapon is a brilliant counterpoint. If Duane Hanson wasn't dead, we could have him make a life-like fiberglass version to keep there permanently. There's your statue.

George said...

It reminds us of the horror and for that I am glad.

Every 9/11 I watch the videos of the planes, the towers collapsing and finish with videos of the jumpers.

It makes me angry, again. I never, ever want to lose that core of incandescent rage.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann's mention of the Vietnam Memorial makes me think of the demand by the vets to have something more then The Wall - what they called a "hole in the ground" - and the creation of the statue."

The combination of the Maya Lin wall and that statue is, artistically, terrible. The 2 sculptures together make a monument to a controversy about taste. That's an inappropriate intrusion into the somber space.


The vets, IIRC, considered the statue "their" memorial and its dedication was the occasion of their coming home parade.

Aesthetics notwithstanding, I think what the vets wanted, they more than had coming. I remember one of them saying, "Hell, man, they ain't never gonna let us come home". A lot of what we've seen the last 20 years or so is ordinary Americans trying to make it up to them.

When you consider that the Lefties were all too eager to go into baby killer mode in the current war when they thought they had an excuse, you can see their point. I'm not trying to hijack the thread here, just say what I think was a necessity that overruled the usual demands of public art.

Mike K said...

It seems to me that it was right to chose simplicity and uniformity, and reading hostility toward religion or political correctness into it is... not the best way to go.

The only reason he was there was because he was a priest. This country has sure gotten squeamish about religion in the past 50 years.

Cedarford said...

Left to me I'd have rebuilt the two towers in their same footprint and at the same height, but reinforced them better so that they'd never come down again.

===============
Left to some people, they would have rebuilt the sunk battleships of Pearl Harbor rather than aircraft carriers to show defiance to the Japanese.

David said...

Is it really "dazzling?"

If so it's a complete failure.

Cedarford said...

sjl - "There is no need to be upbeat....unless, of course, there would be a memorial to the firefighters..."

"the creation of the statue.

It might serve Bloomie right if something similar happens in Gotham, with a statue of a cop, a fireman, and a clergyman gets put up some day."

==================
We really got sucked up into a "Heroes Narrative" right after 9/11. We all thought we had to create them, fast, to make a 2nd Pearl Harbor a more glorious than tragic thing.
So we soon came up with the hero cops,firefighters, EMTs, just about anyone else wearing a government uniform who "is paid to keep us safe". The media, Bush, Congress - pushed hard to add the Heroes of Flight 93 - because some of them fought to save their butts rather than lay down and die - just as anyone battling cancer rather than giving in is now called "a hero". Or "died after a heroic struggle against X,Y,Z illness".
Later, the need to add heroes unsatiated, we talked of hero victims, hero victim families, hero rescue dogs. We made reference to all soldiers even a E-3 dental tech or a clerk on a Navy base on Guam - as a Hero who risks everything to Keep Us All Safe.

But the narrative Rudy started about the Hero cops and Hero Firefighters that "died so that we may live" or "ran into burning buildings when mere lesser human beings fled them" persisted. This ignores some cruel facts - the cops were effective that day, but the firefighters were like 25 badly led and organized people that rushed into a coal mine explosion in 1897 to save 160 miners and didn't save any but who also all asphixiated in minutes on lack of knowledge of dangers. Reckless. Brave. But more like meat marching on the Somme to be mowed down and accomplishing nothing in their tens of thousands of brave deaths..They saved few if any. They lost every building that caught on fire. They had serious leadership and command and control problems - like the soldiers on the Somme did.
Not all people who die in uniform are heroes. They are for the most part ordinary people trained and conditioned to perform in an arena of risk and danger. They like the job and money and elect to do the work - save military draftees - and "I chose this job mainly so I could be saving lives, serving humanity" is not high on the list of any poll taken of such job-holders. Risk and danger is inherent in many "non-uniformed hero" jobs. Loggers, coal miners, heavy construction, commercial fishing, electrical line workers, farming.

For that sort of reasoning...I reject the demands of the hero-worshippers that all names of cops and firefighters should be inscribed in gold while lesser humans are noted in carved base stone. That the site sort of not focus on any statue of "mere victims lives" but instead the only statues should be of "media and politician designated Heroes". A 20 foot cop, a 20 foot firefighter, the lone dead priest (for edutchers mystical reasons..), maybe a gold statue of some Hero rescue dog who advocates say "bravely died later from lung problems associated with dog heroism at Ground Zero".

And by my reasoning, some people of Flight 93 showed an admirable desperation and willingness to fight to save their asses rather than quit and die. But heroism? No more than a person who has NO CHOICE in the dire situation they are in - suddenly dragged into the bushes by a sex assaulter ...but the choice to try and fight off a rapist or give in.
Or the abovementioned "Cancer has spread..you have a choice of fighting it with some extremely unpleasant treatment that might actually kill you before the cancer does, or recognize the survival odds are very small and you are better with pallative care and enjoying the time you have left."

Gary Rosen said...

I don't know if I'd call the cops and firefighters who gave their lies on 9/11 "winners", but C-fudd's post reminds me a lot of the saying "Winners admire winners, losers resent winners and try to find fault with them".

C-fudd is such a bitter, empty shell and miserable excuse for a human being that he can't find anything noble in the actions of the 9/11 rescuers. As a Jew I'm very proud of the fact that this patheteic douchebag and failure is such an hysterical, compulsive ranting antisemite.

Cedarford said...

Rosen - Crawled out from under your rock, or was the embassy in Cairo getting a little too uncomfortable for craven little you to linger there??

The Drill SGT said...

Steve Austin said...
Not sure what to think. Those two empty holes that the water pours into are both stunning and horrifying imagery.


I think it sucks... Samr thing I think about the Vietnam Memorial. Just cause we visit, doesn't mean folks like it.

In reading the article, there were far to many "this represents that" references"

I'm a simple guy. I love the classic European granite Obelisks that you find in every town.

My 9-11 memorial would have been up 365 days latter, 2 twin granite or marble WTC shaped stones with the names engraved.

Gary Rosen said...

LOL, thanks for proving my point C-fudd. You're so stupid you don't even know how stupid you are. Point taken though that you couldn't refute my post.

Gary Rosen said...

"was the embassy in Cairo getting a little too uncomfortable for craven little you to linger there??"

Right, the only reason the cowardly Jooos have been able to hold off Fudd's brave Arab pals all these decades is because they outnumber them 40:1. Oh wait ...

Mary Martha said...

The refusal to list Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM really sticks in my craw too.

It's not political correctness, it's anti Christian and a misrepresentation of reality.

To remove that from his name on the memorial is to deny who he was, and how he lived his life. It also denies the very reason he was there that day. He wasn't a fireman, or a cop - but he ran towards those towers as a first responder as a priest to offer last rights and confession.

Being ordained into the priesthood is more than just having a job or degree that confers a title. I understand that is something that non religious people might not get, however if his family and others requested the name be listed as Fr. Mychal Judge why not?

If other families ant titles or degrees (PhD or Dr.) so what? I really don't see what would be so bad about that.

Ralph L said...

The combination of the Maya Lin wall and that statue is, artistically, terrible
They were trying to do two different things:
Honor all who went
Memorialize those who didn't return

Lin's sunked gravestone didn't do the first, so she failed the assignment. If the statues were closer to the wall, I'd agree with you, but you normally see one without the other. Something more than the wall was needed for the distant future, after all the veterans are dead.

JAL said...

@ Simon Link (eSchool)doesn't work

C4 What is the matter with you? Seriously.

Cedarford said...

Mary Martha said...
The refusal to list Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM really sticks in my craw too.
===============
My understanding is that no one is listed with their job titles included.
A little different situation than a pure military memorial where saying "SGT, seaman 3rd class, col." is a lot easier than Father Mychal Judge, or "Accounts Supervisor at Kravis and Lewis - Jacob M. Turner", "apprentice arms licensed security guard" Jamal W. Shabazz.

Palladian said...

"Is it really "dazzling?"

If so it's a complete failure."

Really? Have you been there?

I thought not.

The problem with "statues" is that there are so few people left who could design/sculpt a good one.

Has anyone seen a really good figurative, representational sculpture made in the last, say, 70 years?

The sentimentalist, animist impulses of people with crude aesthetic sensibilities should not dictate what gets built and what doesn't. When you allow that to happen, you get things like the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C...

Palladian said...

My idea for a 9/11/01 memorial (that would please the "statue" lovers) was to have a life-size bronze figurative sculpture made of each and every victim of the attacks and fill the plaza with them, so you could walk around and among them, sort of like the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang.

Sadly, my idea was rejected. Not enough willpower, manpower, talent or money.

frank said...

Cfudd, you are the most rational argument for abortion a devout Catholic could conceive.

Cedarford said...

Palladian said...
My idea for a 9/11/01 memorial (that would please the "statue" lovers) was to have a life-size bronze figurative sculpture made of each and every victim of the attacks and fill the plaza with them, so you could walk around and among them, sort of like the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang.

Sadly, my idea was rejected. Not enough willpower, manpower, talent or money.

=================
Imagine how impressive it would be if each year we had a bronze statue put up of everyone who died in 2001 and all subsequent years.. About 2.4 million people each year die. All heroes and noble victims to some extent. Leaving about 20ft2 to walk around and admire ALL the fallen heroes and victims, that would be 2,180 statues per acre.

It would bankrupt us if we did them in bronze, so perhaps ceramic ones like the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang. Before we went under in worshipful statues of ALL the heroes and victims - maybe we could stretch out the day when we were broke by outsourcing the statue-making business to China. As we did with the Mao Ling King statue in DC.

Gary Rosen said...

You should quit while you're behind, Fudd. Just log off and then go back to the flophouse and flog the log. It's the best you'll ever do. Trust me.

Almost Ali said...

Dick Cavett is telling jokes over at the NYT, but he started with this:

"Have you, perchance, decided — as I have — not to spend the weekend re-wallowing in 9/11 with the media? Aside from allowing Saint Rudolph, former tenant of Gracie Mansion, to trumpet once again his self-inflated heroism on that nightmare day, the worst feature of this relentlessly repeated carnival of bitter sights and memories is that it glamorizes the terrorists."

Almost Ali said...

And I'm still upset about those two holes in the ground.

Dustin said...

So it's a scar. Like the Vietnam memorial, it's a deliberate scar.

It makes sense, and it's moving and, for a scar, beautiful.

I think it's well done, but it makes me feel very sad. That's a good sign it's effective, as to remember 9/11 should be painful.

This is the direct opposite of those jumper images being censored. It's very raw, and I'm sure will be controversial forever.

Like others, I would have just tried to rebuild the towers. But that's a bit childish... like an attempt to put a dead pet back together. There's no going back.

I do hope we get some of that freedom back, though.

Aridog said...

First thing off my mind: The Vietnam Wall and Memorial statues are NOT "art" to those of us who served there. They are much more than art. In those days a hand lettered placard saying "welcome home" would have been welcome.

Next would be Muslims apologizing: just after 1:00 PM on 9-11-2001, I arrived home in to my 90% Muslim neighborhood. They all knew I worked for the Army and where I worked ... the place where I had to send my staff home starting around 10:30 AM due to the palpable fear I could sense and see in their eyes. Upon arriving home, the first neighbor I met said to me, with tears in her eyes (paraphrasing here): "We are so sorry, the very thing we fled in our homeland has followed us here. Is there no escape?"

Coincidently my staff and I had seen most of the TV coverage on scene on a small TV one of my people had. By the time the Pentagon was hit, we all knew it was an attack without any lingering doubt. Our secure phones were ringing off their hooks, and the message traffic nearly overwhelmed out computer systems. Every one I saw wanted to get home to be with their families ... we didn't know what might come next. I stayed put until the federal building was closed down by the FBI and Secret Service authorities.

Then I went home and just sat in my yard with my dogs. I had a similar sensation to that of my neighbors ... "is there no escape?"

Shortly thereafter, from home, we'd begun sending first responders from our local office to NYC or Caven Point, New Jersey, where we had access to lower Manhattan by vessel across the river without the hassle of traffic on surface roads.

Then things seemed to become more normal ....

Ralph L said...

Sadly, my idea was rejected
You shouldn't have insisted the firemen have nude statues.

Frederick Hart did some OK work, but he's dead.

The Drill SGT said...

Ralph L said...
Frederick Hart did some OK work,


He did the three soldiers, which we Vets consider to be our Vietnam Memorial? That black hateful wall brings out emotions, sure, but most of us don't like it much.

As for the three Nurses, much too PC. Get a sense of proportion. I like the statute and appreciate that women served. (my wife is a retired Colonel) But, Not every interest group deserves its own statute

I mean 58 thousand men died and 58 nurses/Doughnut Dolly's, only 3 from combat. The rest from jeep crashes, plane crashes, or natural causes.

rip it all out, and give me a statue of Rick Rescorla at Ia Drang....

Ralph L said...

Just one nurse, I believe.

I like to think of the wall as the dark underbelly of Washington's white marble--because that's where the War was lost.

Michael said...

Is ther one photograph of a person falling from the building? I doubt it. That would be yukky.

The Drill SGT said...

1 Nurse by Shrapnel

1 CIA officer by car bomb

1 Catholic Relief worker shot

Ralph L said...

I thought you were talking about the statue, not the actual dead nurses.

JAL said...

@ Palladian When you allow that to happen, you get things like the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C...

Is it true that the "memorial" was designed by a Chinese artist and Made in China?

I hate it. (I usually am not so opinionated about things like statues or memorials, but ..)

It screams at me 1930s Soviet art and Chinese Mao statues. We don't do that to our statesmen/heroes.

It has got to be the ugliest thing in DC.

(And a major FAIL economically.)