Five years on, and I have come to think that nothing at all should be built in their place. The quiet dust, the exposed girders, the chain-link fences, the empty hole in the city’s heart: this is the best of all possible memorials. In a place where real estate is the most valuable commodity of all, choosing emptiness is the hardest and greatest thing. Cool pools of water surrounded by discreetly placed gift shops and soaring office towers: no. It would be a lie, a glossing-over, a deliberate choice not to remember.
When we are all dead, when those people who lost and grieved and wept on that day have left the earth, then let the imagineers come with their polished marble and their carefully chosen tear-jerking but inoffensive images and their dramatic re-enactments and turn this place into another Gettysburg, another Lexington Green: a place where blood was shed once, but now park rangers walk slackly and tourists gawk. It will happen, but let it happen after I am gone.
Five years on, I am in a place I never would have predicted: I am somewhere else. But part of me stays, always.