Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cross-ing Boundaries?

After September 11, 2001 many found it difficult to show signs of hope, or optimism after the tragic events that had occurred earlier that day. However, during the removal of what remained of the World Trade buildings on September 13, 2001 one man, Frank Silecchia, found something that would instill faith and hope in many Americans. What he found, was two metal beams twisted into what appeared to be a cross. This cross has remained at Ground Zero for the past ten years, and if everything goes accordingly, is to be relocated in the 9/11 Memorial Museum in the near future. However, the American Atheists organization is protesting the inclusion of this religious symbol stating the necessity for “absolute separation of government and religion”. The organization claims that adding the cross to the museum is a “’repugnant’ attempt to promote religion on public land”.

This cross, has been at Ground Zero for the past ten years. It has been a symbol of hope and faith for many of those who have visited the site, whether or not they see it as a symbol of God’s existence. Now, this organization of atheists is claiming the placement of the cross within the 9/11 Memorial Museum would be unconstitutional and is an uncalled for mixture of religion and state. In their presented case, the American Atheist organization protests the inclusion of the cross unless equal space is provided for Non-Christian memorials within the museum as well.

I believe that the cross should be included in the 9/11 Memorial Museum. It is not as if it was man-made, but rather was formed naturally amidst such a tragic event. Also, while looking into this topic, I came across many quotes from those who cleaned Ground Zero, saying that they cut mini forms of this cross from the rubble at the site not because they were Christian, but rather because they felt that it gave them a purpose. It is not as if the museum would be favoring Christians, it is that no other religiously affiliated symbol was formed during the fall of the towers. The cross can be seen as a sign from God for those who choose to believe so, but it can also be seen simply as a sign of hope. It has been an important part of Ground Zero for the past ten years and should continue to represent September 11, 2001.

The American Atheist organization has a reasonable claim, but how do you represent your community that prides itself upon believing in nothing? Would all, what they see as, non-religiously affiliated parts of the museum be representing their space? This museum is about what happened on September 11, 2001 not about what people believe to be politically correct and fair to all. This metal cross was formed on September 11th, making it a part of history. Also, it is not as if you have to walk by the cross in order to enter the museum. If you do not agree with it being a part of the memorial, do not go visit that section. I would think atheists would be more content knowing that they were not forced to see the cross seeing as it will have its own section of the museum, whereas when it is the center of Ground Zero, it is a little more difficult to ignore.

9 comments:

Harry R. said...

I agree with Ally that the Ground Zero cross takes on a whole new meaning due to its being formed during the catastrophe. When comparing David's and Ally's views, I feel that the specific use of the cross will be crucial in the ruling. If the cross is used primarily as an artifact from the towers and is not drawn attention to in a particularly religious manner, the arguments in favor of leaving the cross there gain validity. However, if religious sayings or other ideas are connected with the cross, that raises the question of establishment at the memorial site.

Elena T said...

I agree that this cross should remain at the 9/11 Memorial because it comforted many Americans in their time of need. I do, however, see the claims of the Atheiest organization, but respectfully disagree. The cross could be seen as a sign from God or just a symbol of hope, it completely up for interpretation for any viewer and and American. I completely agree with Ally in her questioning the Atheist organization's motives: Why would you want to take this symbol of hope away from so many people who needed it at this tragic time?

Molly Veelguski said...

I also agree with Ally. The Ground zero cross should remain at the 9/11 Memorial. The cross can represent a comforting image to those who lost a loved one on that tragic day. The existence or symbol of God has never been forced upon the people, allowing them to create their own interpretation of what the cross means to them. However, I can see where the Atheist organization tries to make their argument but due to the neutrailty of the cross I disagree with them. It is up to the individual to place meaning in the cross. I agree with Harry that as long as religious meanings are not connected with the cross, then the cross should stay exactly where it is.

BryceS said...

I agree with Ally's position on this issue, especially when she states, "This museum is about what happened....and fair to all." Additionally, as Ally said, the cross was a natural phenomenon that gave hope to all (if not, many) in the midst of this tragedy, rather than a Christian symbol deliberately created and placed to propagate a message. Furthermore, no on is enforcing submission to this symbol, as it is just a mere representation of hope that arose from the ashes, another reason why I believe this symbol should be present in this museum.

Chris R. said...

The fact that this cross may possibly be removed from Ground Zero makes my heart ache even more for those who have lost so much because of the 9/11 attacks. A symbol of peace and hope may not mean much to some, but for others it is the difference between life and death, quite literally. No religious meaning needs to be publicly associated with this symbol that is now part of the remains of the World Trade Center, but to remove it would be a crime against humanity.

Jack Ness said...

I feel that the American Atheists Association have an excellent point. However, I still feel that the cross should be included in the memorial. While I completely agree with the Atheists' point that religion and government should be totally separate, it is hard to omit such an important piece of history from this memorial. The cross was made and discovered naturally, it is a part of history. A part of history should be included in a memorial. If the government wanted to put the cross in a government building, then I would say no. This, however, is a memorial, so I feel that it comes with different circumstances.

ChristopherJ. said...

Chris, you took the words right out of my mouth. Removing the cross from the memorial would dishonor all those 3,000 innocent people whose lives were taken from them on that day. This cross was not manufactured FROM rubble, but rather IS rubble. If it had been manufactured, there would be an establishment issue. But because it was merely recovered from the site, it is perfectly acceptable to display. I hope those people administrating the memorial have the wisdom to allow the cross to remain in a place of honor. To remove something that gave so many people hope and comfort after such a period of grief would be nothing less than criminal.

Grant Z said...

I agree as well that the cross should be allowed to stay in the museum. This is a museum, so the cross will be far from the only thing on display. Consider how many works of art (paintings, sculptures, etc) that are on display in some of the most prominent art galleries in the world. Issue is not taken with these because they are admired for their artistic value and aesthetics. The cross may be appreciated in a similar way. What many people consider to be a symbol of hope and salvation was found amongst the rubble after a terrible tragedy. You don't need to be Christian to see the significance in this.

Grace R said...

I agree with Ally that the cross should remain at Ground Zero as a symbolic relic of the tragedy that occurred 10 years ago and the resilient hope of all those affected by it. While the arguments made by the Atheist Association have some merit, I do not believe that it is enough to take away this symbol that has been at the site for the past 10 years. The twisted metal that looks like a cross was not hand made for religious purposes, rather it is a symbol of the hope that has remained in the hearts of those affected for the past 10 years and will continue for many more years to come.