The misguided souls and professional whiners determined to keep the New York Police Department handcuffed, blind and silent need a refresher course on terrorism. There are lots of good articles and books on the topic, but for the most powerful reminder of why we must stay vigilant, I recommend a visit to the 9/11 memorial.
There they can rub the nearly 3,000 names carved into the dark bronze panels, being sure to remember that each name represents a human being who went to work on a beautiful September morning and never came home. They should remember, too, the shattered families and friends still dealing with that loss.
They can look into the memorial pools as water cascades from the carved footprints of the Twin Towers. The water falls 30 feet into the pools, then flows deeper into voids where it disappears “into the abyss that can never be filled.”
Those are the haunting words of memorial designer Michael Arad, whose incredibly moving work does the impossible for me. Its starkness evokes the horrible loss on that God-awful day while its serene beauty manages to soothe the beast of emotion. When tears dry, what remains is clarity about the need to make sure 9/11 never happens again in New York or anywhere in America.
The eight-acre memorial, half the World Trade Center site, envelops you in a way that mostly shuts out the construction racket and the busy city nearby. It was a sunny, warm day last week as we walked through the park-like setting, and Arad explained both the big picture and the mind-numbing details of the iconic result.
All around us, visitors from the United States and around the world posed for pictures, rested on the granite seats, touched the names of the departed and stared into the pools. If they spoke, it was quietly. A handful of children scampered about, oblivious to the evil that had taken place on the now-hallowed ground.
The lanky Arad, dressed in a blazer and jeans, went unrecognized except by some employees.
Born in London, son of an Israeli diplomat and himself a veteran of the Israeli army, he attended college and grad school in America and lived in Manhattan for about three years before 9/11.
“I finally felt like a New Yorker,” he remembered. “I got an American flag and put it in my window.”
As a 33-year-old architect working for the city’s Housing Authority, he watched as plans took shape for the site and, when officials opened a design competition for the memorial, he submitted his idea. It was one of more than 5,000. He called it “Reflecting Absence,” and, incredibly, his vision is generally what visitors experience today.
He’s moved on to other work with a private firm, though he hasn’t let go. His hope is that, when the surrounding towers, the truck screening center and the museum finally are built, the fences will come down and visitors can casually enter the site from any direction. He wants the memorial park to be an open part of New York, in keeping with the way the horror connected the whole city 10 years ago.
The irony is that security concerns may never allow that openness. The Islamic fundamentalism that created the need for his memorial is far from extinguished.
Which is why it is distressing that there is a movement to have the NYPD drop its guard. The loudest and most vicious attacks — mostly from The New York Times editorial page, a few professional-victim Muslim groups and extreme libertarians — make it seem as if thousands of Muslims have been rounded up and sent to internment camps.
In fact, the critics have not been able to cite a specific violation of law or police procedure or produce a single individual who alleges a denial of his civil rights. Without evidence, they have recklessly turned their disapproval of necessary war-time security into a smear of the men and women risking their lives to keep New York safe.
Not incidentally, those doing the smearing are being protected by the same blue line they so rabidly denounce.
The critics are wrong, profoundly and dangerously. To cure their amnesia, they should make a pilgrimage to the 9/11 memorial and remember those we must never forget.
Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist. To continue reading his column on other topics including Warren Buffet's decision to sue the IRS, click here.