Brad Blakeman: Let Steel Cross Rise at Ground Zero

Thursday, 28 Jul 2011 05:30 PM

By Bradley A. Blakeman

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There is no good reason at law or otherwise not to allow the steel beam in the shape of a cross to be placed in the museum at Ground Zero.

I speak as a member of the New York Bar, a Jew, and a family member of a nephew who was a first responder killed on 9/11 and who called himself a Christian. But, equally important, I speak as an American.

Thousands were killed and injured in the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. Victims were rich and poor; and they were of many colors, creeds, and religions.

The fact is that in the rubble of that horrific site, some found solace in the "miracle" of a cross appearing as a piece of steel and consider it an act of faith that should be celebrated by believers and respected by those who are not.

The World Trade Center (WTC) Memorial should be a place to remember, reflect, and pray if you choose to the God of your choice, and to respect and be tolerant of those who perished there regardless of their religious persuasion.

The WTC 9/11 Memorial should stand for everything the perpetrators hated about us — our freedom, our diversity, our tolerance, and our charity.

The fact is that those who were intolerant of religions other than their own were the ones who carried out the attacks on 9/11. Nonbelievers were considered infidels and not worthy of life and they took lives including their own in the name of religion.

Does it make sense to allow religious intolerance to be tolerated in the aftermath of 9/11 against those who were victims? No, it clearly does not.

However, it does make sense that a fitting memorial should contain and represent the iconic fixtures of the day of the attacks and its aftermath including a crushed NYFD Fire Truck, the WTC flag pole, ash, and yes, a steel beam in the shape of a cross.

The steel cross is not being displayed to divide people. It is being displayed as a legitimate fixture of hope and love to a God I may not worship but one that I respect.

America was founded because of religious persecution. We are a tolerant people and "political correctness" does not mean religious avoidance.

The Congress of the United States begins each session with a prayer to God.

Our currency contains the words, "In God We Trust." For nonbelievers to fight against the rights of others to express themselves in appropriate and legitimate ways is just plain wrong and I dare say un-American.

I stand up for the right to display the "Cross of Ground Zero" at the WTC Memorial as a legitimate and proper relic of the attacks on 9/11.

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University.




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