Over 3,000 innocent people were murdered on September 11, 2001. For some, Ground Zero may even be their final resting place. How can one decide as forget this atrocity and subsequently go on without properly commemorating the lives of those who were targeted for being Americans?
I agree with Rieff that a memorial on Ground Zero would not offer closure to the loved ones of victims, but closure is not the intended purpose of this memorial. The memorial will offer recognition, solace, and support to the friends and families of victims, as well as to all Americans.
Imagine if as a nation we decided to move on and put 9/11 in the past. How would the loved one of a victim feel if there was nothing at Ground Zero to even acknowledge that a terrible tragedy happened there? How abandoned would a mourner feel without the national solidarity a memorial always elicits? How much more abandoned would a mourner feel if he or she knew Americans were intentionally trying to put 9/11 behind them?
Rieff writes that the war against jihadis will end, “unimaginable as that may seem at the present moment.” As I understand it, Rieff’s thinking is that if we erect a memorial, we will harbor an extended hatred against our attackers. At whose expense are we removing this obstacle to a currently remote peace? When those grieving feel forsaken with no one to remember those who perished, what will Rieff say? Will he answer that we had to get over 9/11 because of the fear of hindering peace with those who terrorized our country?
Ground Zero was the site of a terrorist attack that had a major impact on American history. We would be remiss not to properly recognize the spot as hallowed ground in the manifestation of a memorial and anniversary commemorations for as long as it naturally takes to grieve a tragedy of the scope. Moving past 9/11 is necessary at some point; however, with or without a memorial, in due time people will fail to properly remember that fateful Tuesday. To rush the mourning period and intentionally forget what happened is in my opinion insolent and offensive.