Cross From 9-11 Must Be Displayed

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - August 03, 2011

A lawsuit has been filed in New York City to prevent the display of the famous World Trade Center Cross. Yes, it’s exactly as the name implies it’s a cross. So, of course, atheists are rising up and crying foul that a cross shouldn’t be displayed at a public memorial. This cross, however, is not just any cross.

When the devastation of the attacks of 9/11 were realized, rubble and twisted metal comprised the site where the Twin Towers previously loomed. As rescuers and construction crews did their jobs, they happened across a pair of T-joints that produced a proportionately, and eerily, correct cross.

What makes the story even more compelling is the cross was found upright in the ruins.

The man who found the cross on Sept. 13, 2001, recalls his encounter. Frank Silecchia, who had just dug three bodies out of the rubble of the collapsed Twin Towers, said, “I was overwhelmed with the image of my faith ... It brought me to my knees.” However, he believes the WTC is “not just a symbol of faith, but also a symbol of our freedom.”

Jane Everhart, communications director for the New York chapter of American Atheists, has a different opinion. The cross is nothing more than “an ugly piece of wreckage that does not represent anything ... but horror and death.”

Here is the bottom line. The WTC cross is an artifact of a historical event. It has been part of the conversation since the second day after the attacks and is representative of what emerged from the wreckage.

Yes, it can be interpreted as a religious icon, but it’s more than that. It’s a symbol that instills hope and solace in the hearts of a vast majority of people, not only in New York, but around the world. It’s inclusion into the 9/11 Memorial should not be denied on religious grounds, but should be included based on historic grounds.

Now, the premise that other religious symbols should be included in the Memorial is well-advised. So if there is a Koran that survived the attacks or a Yarmulke or Star of David that was found, or any other iconic figure with the provenance of the WTC, then of course there should be inclusion.

But this cross, this symbol, is a direct by-product of the carnage of the murderous attacks on our nation. It stands not to divide, but to remind.

It’s astounding and quite sad that some Americans cannot re-calibrate their biases and be magnanimous in their consideration of others.

* Is it just me, or should people who get lost on a hiking trail be required to pay for their rescue? Now, I understand that the Honolulu Fire Department does not want to charge for rescues because they want people to call if they’re in trouble. OK.

Well, how about this? Each rescue can cost into the tens of thousands of dollars. If you are going to hike, then you should be required to carry “Hikers Insurance.”

Yes, similar to mandatory auto insurance, all hikers would be required to have a policy that would insure that if there is any difficulty, then the insurance policy would cover all rescue costs.

Unfair? Is it fair that those who choose to engage in a semi-dangerous exercise and who simply misjudge, miscalculate or misstep leave taxpayers footing their bill and diverting emergency personnel from their core responsibilities? I’m not trying to be harsh, but if you engage in an activity that puts you in harm’s way, you should be directly financially responsible.

* The recent dispute between the HSTA and the state demonstrates one clear necessity. There must be a full performance and budget audit of the state Department of Education. It’s not a game of “gotcha,” but there should be an examination whereby the billions of tax dollars allocated to public education are not only accounted for, but the administration, legislature and general public have a transparent look at the department’s financials.

Perhaps with this fiscal clarity, a true determination of sufficient budgeting will find more capital is available to remunerate our teachers to a level they deserve and one that we can afford.

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