The Twin Towers Project: Part Two



343 FDNY personnel, firefighters and emergency medical technicians died at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. It is not an exaggeration to state that these public servants died in an enormously successful effort to evacuate the wounded Towers. Indeed, despite the chaos of that morning, exacerbated by the destruction of much of New York’s emergency facilities, which had been defiantly placed at the Trade Center, FDNY, along with NYPD and Port Authority personnel, were responsible for saving thousands of lives. Only 18 people above the crash zones survived he collapse of the Towers, escaping via a twisted, but passable, staircase at the northwest corner of the South Tower; 1946 people perished on those floors.

However, of the roughly 10,000 people who were in the Towers below the crash zones, the vast majority survived thanks to the Herculean efforts of emergency personnel. One can imagine, therefore, the FDNY’s reluctance to changing their logo (pictured, top left) which includes silhouettes of the now-fallen Towers. Indeed, the City as a whole has kept the image of the Towers in its logos-from the Manhattanville Bus Depot (pictured, middle left), to the Downtown Alliance which has officially changed its logo, but whose trash bags, purchased by the millions in the 1990s, eerily retain the Towers’ image.

In some ways, the endless delays at the World Trade Center site have delayed the decisions New York officials must make with regard to the official acknowledgement of the Towers. But there will undoubtedly come a time, perhaps as early as 2012, when the Freedom Tower is scheduled to be completed, when New Yorkers begin to identify with what is instead of what was; a time when the city is run by children of the 21st century, for whom the Towers are not points of pride, but are instead tragic tales told in history class.

As Tower 1 succumbed to the violent attack perpetrated against it, a news anchor stated, “The World Trade Center has been completely erased from our memories.”?She was quickly corrected by a colleague, who noted that while the Towers had been erased from our skies, they would remain in our hearts forever. For those who lived through that awful day, the latter comment is undoubtedly true. Perhaps then it is only appropriate that our children, separated emotionally and temporally from the Towers, be the ones to move us beyond the tragedies of the past and take pride in the beauty of rebuilding and rebirth.

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