FI-EditorialWhen Greenwich pauses to remember the horrific terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 today it will not just be empty words. The wounds are still fresh in a community that lost 32 people that terrible day.

This is a community that doesn’t just remember because of an obligation to doing the right thing. This isn’t a community that cares just because to simply ignore it would be unseemly. This is a community that does it because families still grieve, 13 years later. This day means something in Greenwich.

So it’s comforting to see so much effort put into the yearly ceremony done by the September 11th Remembrance Committee and the Greenwich American Legion Post 29, which is tonight at 6:30 sharp at the Glenville Fire Station. And it’s heartening to see efforts moving forward to build a memorial in Cos Cob Park that will provide a tribute to those who were lost while creating an area for quiet introspection and education, particularly important for those born after the attacks or are too young to remember.

James Ritman, one of the leading forces behind the memorial, described it best last week when he talked about the memorial’s design and placement as one that both looks back and forward. The design has been highly and justifiably praised and has only $500,000 outstanding. It has support not only from all levels of government but the families of Greenwich’s victims, and there’s no reason it can’t be completed by next year.

This is the kind of project that truly shows the spirit of Greenwich, one that shows everyone working together for the common good, because this is a day that should not be forgotten. While it’s true life moves on and it’s not surprising to see Sept. 11 in many ways treated as just another day on the calendar, as Dec. 7 is, it’s vital that people work to make sure it’s more than that.

So it was disturbing to overhear a sentiment at the Riverside Yacht Club last week when the plans for the memorial were being discussed. A few members of the club were having some morning coffee and wanted to know what the fuss was about inside. When told, they seemed less than enthused by the idea. “Don’t we have enough of those?” they practically said when told about the memorial.

Even more than Sept. 11 becoming just another day of the year, it’s troubling to be confronted by the idea that the grief and sadness is something that should have been dealt with already and that by now, 13 years later, it should have run its course. Frankly, that’s stupefying. How can anyone feel that way?

Yes, there are ways of fetishizing and commercializing grief that leave you uncomfortable at best and wanting to flee humanity at worst. But this memorial is so far from that that the idea of people thinking it’s something to dismiss as unnecessary leaves one stunned. True, there’s a memorial on Great Captain’s Island, but that’s more a private tribute to a lost resident. And there’s the steel outside the Glenville Fire Station, but that’s by a busy street near where fire engines regularly roll out.

This memorial will bring serenity and a chance to privately express grief like nothing else in town. This is a gift from the town to the town, as Mr. Ritman put it. It should be strongly supported. One hopes the idea that this is a waste of time is an isolated feeling among grumpy men early on a Friday.

If it’s anything more, then it’s not what this community is about.

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress