On a side street that runs alongside the World Trade Center, two bronze bas-relief murals depicting rescue scenes from 9/11 are affixed to a wall facing the construction site. One reads, “Dedicated to Those Who Fell and Those Who Carry On.” The other admonishes us to “Never Forget.”
When I had a chance to write my own name of the 90th floor of the new tower going up on the site of the two that were destroyed, I wrote “Remember,” underneath my name. But aside from keeping the sacrifice and bravery of those who died on 9/11 in our thoughts, what was the content of the memory that I was supposed to protect? What are those memories supposed to tell me about how to live now, how to act personally and politically in this world?
To some extent, the struggle over what would replace Ground Zero has been an argument about memory and its uses.