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Courage and Consequences

(Posted soon after Memorial Day, 2006.)

Theodore Roosevelt said: “I think there is only one quality worse than hardness of heart, and that is softness of head.” We would add to that “smallness of spirit”, which is what is behind the measly “Freedom Tower” and all the attempts to ram it down our throats.

Logic, passion, principle and respect are all on the side of rebuilding the Towers. What is finally built in their place is going to reflect on us all and will set the tone of our engagement with the fanatics who mean to destroy us and our way of life. To erect anything less than what was there on September 10th would hand the enemy an enormous propaganda trophy for their cause. It’s our choice: we can embolden them or defy them.

Too many Americans, across the political spectrum, have made defiance their choice to let that be swept under the rug by politicians. Five years of backroom politicking have left Ground Zero in a pitiful state with nothing redeeming in sight. The Twin Towers Alliance has constructed a platform for change and in the next two months we will go all out to make it clear that what gets built is really up to us and that this is not just “a New York thing”. The consequences of our decision will ultimately be borne by all Americans — and throughout the free world. The World Trade Center is no place for a featherweight design. We need to conduct the national dialogue that was squelched from the beginning and we need to do it now.

On a recent visit to half the police precincts and fire houses in Manhattan one firefighter in particular told us that “there is nothing the guys would love better…” Most of them are strongly supportive of rebuilding the Twin Towers, but think that signing the Twin Towers Alliance petition could cause them problems, which is the last thing we want. But you can take our word for it: Those guys know that rebuilding is not what would make us a target — it is not having the courage to rebuild that would make us a target — maybe not at Ground Zero, but in our communities and in our malls. It is our way of life that is the target and the danger will only recede when we prove that Americans will not be defeated or diminished — that we don’t back down.

Affirming that we have nothing to fear but fear itself is still the key to living victoriously in dangerous times. Being fearful invites disaster. Like it or not, the Western world got pushed onto a tightrope on September 11, 2001, and if we don’t extol the virtue of courage, of actively refusing to give in to our fears, then the future isn’t bright. Our enemy is counting on our knees to buckle, and in denying them that satisfaction we would gain a critical advantage. Rebuilding the Twin Towers would do so much to prove our mettle — why would we do anything else?

The Twin Towers must rise as beacons of our resolve. If we have to live in a dangerous world, let’s face it with all the heart we can muster and the will to overcome.

Nothing else makes sense, which is the reason for all the missteps and false starts at Ground Zero. It is time to put the cart behind the horse. Once we decide to rebuild the Towers, a new vision for a truly noble memorial will fall into place. We have gained five years’ worth of perspective and experience and now there is no reason to be locked in to anything that doesn’t serve our highest interests, just because we made some unwise choices back when we were all still reeling. It is time to clear the decks.

If you haven’t done so already, please take a stand by signing our petition. It is one sure way to take your own shot at the terrorists. The battle for Ground Zero is worth fighting and really ours to lose. If we let the pols and special interests get away with denying us a real say in this matter, we will surely regret it — but it’s not too late and once we get the vision right the progress will be swift.

Please pass this message on to your network of family and friends. The outcome will touch everyone.

We will always have soft targets, because we are free, but we don’t have to have soft heads. That is the legacy of September 11th.



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