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VOICES position on the WTC Memorial:  

 

VOICES is encouraged by recent progress on an appropriate memorial to the victims of 9/11 at the WTC site, especially the release of the Sciame report (read the full report) and the expanded role of the Port Authority in construction. However, many questions remain to be answered, and VOICES continues to have concerns about final form of “Reflecting Absence,” (shown above) designed by Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker.  

 

We believe visitors should have an opportunity to experience the memorial on many different levels. Since the names will be placed at street level, a quiet place below grade should be provided away from the hustle and bustle of the city. As visitors descend into the memorial I envision that photographs of the victims would be displayed to reinforce the enormity of the loss of life. Pictures are worth a thousands words – they provide a deeper understanding the people who perished. We need clarity about the access to bedrock and preservation of the footprints of the building. I believe the unidentified remains should be placed at bedrock in a central location between the footprints of the two buildings along with a private place for families to gather together and pay their respects. Finally, we must keep a keen focus on the highest standards of safety and security.  

 

It is crucial that those making decisions recognize they have a responsibility to keep us all informed as refinements are made to the memorial design. Careful consideration must be given to the families' concerns to avoid changes that would detract from the grace, power and dignity of the memorial. Most importantly, open minds will be required on the part of everyone involved - from our leaders to our families.  

 

We were impressed with the heartfelt comments made by Harold Meyers, assistant chief of the FDNY and the Manhattan borough commander, at the dedication in June of the Firefighters' Memorial at Ten House. Assistant Chief Meyers said: "We wanted it to tell a story. One hundred years from now, we want you to look at this and say, 'This is what happened.'" We are hopeful that those tasked with making the decisions for the redesign of the WTC Memorial will also have those same standards. We know how important the WTC Memorial is to VOICES families and will continue to keep you informed as the process evolves.  

 

Information from the WTC Memorial Foundation Website:  

 


The Memorial: Reflecting Absence  

To open on September 11, 2009, the Memorial consists of two voids that reside in the original footprints of the Twin Towers surrounded by a forest of oak trees. Each void holds a pool of water filled by waterfalls on all sides. Designed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, Reflecting Absence, was selected from more than 5000 entrants from 63 nations which itself was a testament to the universality of the loss.  

 

 


The Memorial Museum  

Adjacent to the two voids, the Memorial Museum will retell the events of the day, display powerful artifacts, and celebrate the lives of those who died. Visitors will be able to touch bedrock and see the slurry wall that so vividly conveys the enormity of the buildings and the enormity of the loss.

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