City Hall and the 9/11 families are fighting over the site of the upcoming sixth-anniversary commemoration, and the negotiations have now devolved into truly embarrassing haggling. Somehow, each concession manages to sound even more pathetic than the one before. To wit: Today’s Daily News reports that Mayor Bloomberg has backed away from his initial suggestion to move the ceremonies to a nearby park (it’s sort of tough to do it on ground zero itself, given that the thing is a giant construction site); he’s now offering a compromise location with a view of ground zero. The families say they’ll take the matter to federal court on First Amendment grounds if they have to.
What makes the whole mess so deeply stomach-churning is that it forces us to consider some uncomfortable topics. What’s the acceptable time limit on grief? How far should one go to accommodate someone else’s mourning? And what about the highly symbolic detail that the relatives want construction to halt for the ceremony – which pretty much pits their wishes against the entire city’s? And what happens, say, two years from now? Will someone demand a ceremony be held atop a steel-and-concrete skeleton?
Pendulum Swings at Pit [NYDN]