Sep 11 2008

7 Years On

7 Years On

My last September 11 as a New York City resident. I walked down to the World Trade Center site this morning as I have each of the last six 9/11s and rang The Bell of the Unforgotten, which is the New York City Fire Department’s port-a-memorial that they bring out for the day. As a long-time member of the lower Manhattan community, the day always bring out a lot of reflection for me. Seeing the memorial flood lights on tonight will do the same and bookend the day.

The main thing I was thinking about this morning was why there’s been nothing really built yet on the site. World Trade Center 7 (which is actually adjacent to the main site) went up in a hurry a few years ago (pictured here under construction four years ago), but nothing else.

My general understanding of the situation is that the holdup has not been around clean-up or pre-construction the last several years, but all about legal, political, and insurance issues. And that smacks to me of a leadership problem. I realize there are a lot of parties involved, and a lot at stake, but it’s just embarrassing to America that we haven’t rebuilt the site — and fast. Set an example to the rest of the world that we react swiftly and don’t let the bad guys knock us down…and keep us down.

It feels to me like a President who actually understood leadership would have gotten all the parties in a room together and not let them out until there was agreement on a plan. Don’t just let “the system” play things out laissez faire, but actually play them out in a hurry so the country and city can move forward. It feels like the kind of thing Reagan or Clinton would have done.

As I reflect on this today, the one thing I’m happy about is that no matter who wins the White House, America will be getting a leadership upgrade.