The Corner

Politics & Policy

One World Trade Center Should Not Promote a Culture of Death

The One World Trade Center tower stands through the fog in New York City, N.Y., January 24, 2019. (Mike Segar/REUTERS)

On September 11, 2018, I visited the 9/11 Memorial located at the site of the former World Trade Center buildings to pay my respects. As one approaches the site, the discordant backdrop of New York City is replaced with the hum of water, coming from two cavernous pools, framed by bronze panels engraved with the names of those killed that day in 2001. Michael Aradthe architect whose World Trade Center Memorial design was chosen from a design competition with more than 5,000 entries from 63 countries, said that he got his inspiration for the design from the solace that the Hudson River gave him. He said that he imagined “two voids tearing open a surface of water and the river failing to fill it up.” He wanted to capture a sense of rupture and continued absence, and he wanted it to unite the world in its public space, paralleling his artistic vision to the solidarity following 9/11 against the evil that had claimed so much innocent life. He insisted on a below-ground memorial because it represented the separation between life and death, which he called “a threshold that one cannot cross.”

One World Trade Center itself stands at a vertiginous and symbolic 1,776 feet and is the tallest building in the United States, with a spire that punctuates Manhattan’s skyline and punctures through Gotham’s gauzy clouds. The building isn’t only a repository for office space, like much of New York City’s buildings are. It’s a symbol of a trauma to the American identity, and a promise to never forget it.

David Childs is the architect of One World Trade Center, and has emphasized that the building isn’t only intended to mark the site of the old towers. It’s a memorial of what once stood there, but its height also encourages us to look up once more at the sky — he called it a beacon for the future, like a lighthouse. Like a north star, it should guide us.

The spire has been lit a variety of colors, including purple for Domestic Violence Awareness Day and red to honor fallen firefighters, along with other colors to spread awareness for various diseases. The spire has been lit to commemorate anniversaries and celebrations.

On Tuesday, the One World Trade Center’s spire was lit pink, as directed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, to “celebrate” the passing of the Reproductive Health Act, which makes it legal for women to abort their babies up until birth.

It’s not only perverse to “celebrate” this inhumane legislation on the site where thousands of innocent lives were lost, including the lives of the eleven unborn children who were killed that day and whose names are engraved in the memorial. It’s a testament to the culture of death and the insidious attempts of those who flaunt abortion as anything other than the forsaking of human dignity to deceive us into believing that some humans are just not enough. It’s evidence that the most pressing social-justice issue of not only our time but possibly the next generation’s will be the mass slaughter of unborn infants and the exploitation of poor and minority women, who deserve a feminism that is nonviolent and just.

Abortion creates a rupture in our most sacred values that protect personhood and the right to life. It creates a void in the lives of many women , who the abortion industry uses to their advantage. It creates an absence of innocent life that can never be replaced.

There is indeed a separation between life and death that deserves and demands respect, and we can not decide who is worthy of one but not the other without undermining our proclaimed pursuit of a just society.

Our country can’t serve as a beacon of equality today or in the future when those at the highest levels of government and the abortion industry are pushing the canard of liberation via abortion, sanitizing the language they use to describe it in order to convince women that they have no other options, which is a pernicious lie.

Women deserve better than the abortion industry not only today, but in the future. The site of One World Trade Center has suffered enough innocent death.

Marlo Safi is a Collegiate Network Fellow with National Review.

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