New York City to Terrorists: We’re Back
That message was sent to every corner of the globe where terrorists gather in the darkness when on Monday November 3rd, 2014, history was made. One World Trade Center (also referred to as “Freedom Tower”) officially opened for business. Conde Nast started moving into the building on Monday.
Standing at 1776 feet tall, a number symbolic in and of itself, Freedom Tower is a tangible symbol of American defiance and our commitment to bounce back from any and every disaster. On September 11th, 2001, terrorists tried to alter our way of life. They destroyed a swath of buildings in Manhattan, damaged the Pentagon, and murdered thousands of people. They wounded our pride, but not our spirit – and never our soul. Now, on November 3rd, 2014, Freedom Tower is open, as a city that never sleeps showed us that it is one that also never gives up.
Despite years of political bickering, and bucket loads of typical bureaucracy, One World Trade Center is now open for business. Now the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, the Freedom Tower is an American triumph over the forces of darkness that tried to defeat us. Rather than abandoning the area where the Twin Towers once stood, America chose to rebuild. We chose to not only memorialize the darkest day in our history, but also to rebuild, to come back stronger than ever. The past and present coexist in one space that will always hold a special place in Americans’ hearts; Ground Zero. We have managed to honor the dead with the 9/11 memorial and the reflecting pools, but we have built a building that will become a major source of business in New York City. Every day, as men and women pursue their American dreams in offices and nearby shops, they prove to the world that the dream is stronger than the darkness that wants to destroy it.
Americans have always overcome tragedy. After the attacks at Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941, we fixed what we could, and rebuilt the rest from scrap. We memorialized the attack in the simple beauty of the Memorial over the USS Arizona, and we moved on. Moving on doesn’t imply we’ve forgotten about that day, it means that we have accepted that it happened. We got revenge, we avenged our dead, and we remember. The same will happen with 9/11, and the opening of the Freedom Tower is the first step.
The Freedom Tower will always be more than a building. It reminds us what came before – both an attack we can never forget, and a recovery we shall always remember. The days of heroism on the streets below where the tower now rises are part of the American story with Lexington and Concord. We can move on, and as a nation we must move on. That is a natural part of the grieving process. However, the day that we forget what happened is the day we are no longer Americans. Americans always remember our darkest days. We learn from them, we teach our children about them so they can remember too. We honor the dead, we remember the images of smoke and fire, and we do our best so that future generations never have to experience something like that again.
Millions of Americans will never forget the images broadcast that fateful September day. They are seared into our national conscious. That was a day that changed America, and we can never forget it. We lived it. Future generations will read the words and see the videos. They will never experience the fear, the anger, and the anguish that millions upon millions of Americans experienced that day, and they should never have too. Once was enough.
Freedom Tower is more than a building, and symbol of American perseverance, it is a reminder for every future generation. It should remind all of us of what happens when we let down our guard. It should remind all of us of the terrible price this nation paid for freedom. Enemies of our freedom are everywhere, and will stop at nothing to hurt us. Freedom Tower is a reminder both of what can happen when they succeed, and what can happen when Americans unite, refuse to accept defeat, and decide to not let our enemies dictate our way of life.
If Freedom Tower stands on holy ground, its construction has been an unholy mess of bureaucracy and political grandstanding. One can argue that government without bureaucracy is like a city without potholes. However, there are some things where bureaucrats should be neither seen nor heard, and the building of One World Trade Center is one of them. One World Trade Center could have opened years ago, but politicians with their endless bickering delayed it. If the politicians of our time could not leave their egos and press agents at the door for a project where thousands died, it is a sad commentary upon the government of the city so many died to help save.
Freedom Tower now rises over New York City, a breath-taking reminder of that dark day. It is more than just glass and steel. It’s a symbol of America. It’s a symbol of what we do. It’s a monument to freedom.
Form the right perspective, the giant Freedom Tower rising over the steel canyons of Manhattan can be likened to an extended finger, often used in a disreputable gesture, pointed directly at those that would do us harm.
At whatever level the symbolism works, it is what America is, and it’s beautiful.
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