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Letter: Put UN on 9/11 site

Dear Editor,

I lost two former military-CIA friends in the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11/01.

During a recent visit to New York, I had opportunity to visit the site and spend some time reviewing the various proposals now on the table for the future of this iconic piece of real estate. Eight years have passed since the Twin Towers fell, and there yet remains a massive hole in the ground, an unhealed wound for all to see, caught up still today in bitter controversy over how the site should be developed.

Relentlessly, hopefully idealistic, I return to the idea that I began promoting to anyone who would listen less than a year after the loss of my friends and thousands of other Americans.

A true measure of character in individuals and nations is the strength and wisdom to turn tragedy into triumph. The events of 9/11 have placed our country in an extraordinary position to demonstrate to the world who we really are. The opportunity comes at a time when a large portion of the earth's inhabitants view us in a very negative light. This could well be our rendezvous with destiny.

The present United Nations Headquarters Building in New York City was completed in 1953. Over the ensuing 50 years the UN has dramatically expanded in membership, staffing and tasking. The existing building is uncomfortably and inefficiently crowded and the structure has slipped into functional obsolescence.

Since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and related developments have been presented to us as an assault on not only America but the civilized world community, why not think in terms of creating an international monument that would not only memorialize the dead but also clearly demonstrate mankind's collective rejection of terrorism and dedication to the world order?

The commitment of the WTC site by its owners and the city of New York as a magnificent new United Nations headquarters, with appropriate ground set aside specifically to perpetuate the memory of those who died there on 9/11 would, in my opinion, clearly define America's true character and vision for a better world.

The gruesome ground zero site could be converted to a beautiful and impressive, vibrant work and meeting place standing where once was manifest the most evil as well as the most noble qualities of mankind.

Somehow, I think that those who died there would approve.