"If the terrorists ever get me," I said to her, "do me a favor: Make sure they build the biggest damn skyscraper they can right on top of me." Feelings differ, of course, and I respect those mourners who disagree. But as for me, I would like to think I have done something -- anything -- in my life more worth memorializing than my bad luck in succumbing to terrorists.
The party of grief have all of recent history on their side: From the wailing black wall of the Vietnam memorial up through the 168 empty chairs that commemorate victims of the Oklahoma City bombing, recent public memorials have sought to perpetuate grief, to lock the moment of loss in stone and water forever for history.
But New York was not built by those who found in pain and loss their deepest meaning. Grief is not sacred. Sadness should in time be allowed to fade. Let us commemorate in some fitting way the people for whom this tragedy does represent their finest hour -- the fireman, emergency workers and police who were not hapless victims, but true heroes. And then rebuild something bigger, stronger, better and more beautiful, in the twin towers' place -- as a fitting tribute to the hopes and dreams of all New Yorkers, living and dead.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.