What the Memorial Should Convey
Michael Kuo, Municipal Art Society
I am here on behalf of the Municipal Art Society's Imagine New York Project, and in the spirit of my father who was killed on the 91st floor of the south tower, Frederick Kuo Jr. I have a written testimony but I think I am just going to submit it, and instead just speak from the heart just like everyone else is doing today. I first want to thank the audience, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for hosting this and allowing us to speak about our passions. Obviously, it is self evident that the memorial is the most dear thing to all of us.
I heard the word "special" before, and I thought that I guess the ultimate memorial would be one that made all the families, everyone who visits, come to experience how special the 2800 people were. Susan [Freedman, from the memorial jury] spoke about that in her opening address, about trying to communicate the essence of someone who is so wonderful to people who wonĻt really ever get to meet them. And, you know, that's really our challenge, is building a memorial for the future.
I would urge the jury to prefer designs that really go the extra mile in creating ways for future visitors to experience each of these individual people, so that they can know how special my father was, and how special everyone who was lost was. But it goes beyond the victims, actually, because anyone who was here knows that within the month or two months, afterwards, New York was a special place. In our Imagine New York project, we heard that six months after the tragedy. People just wanted to talk about people, and how special they were, and how special New York is. Now, New York's identity as this diverse, multicultural place where people of all different races are just coexisting with each other and going on with their lives, I think that is an important value to convey in this memorial.
About our project, we believe that this is a public site, with a public purpose, and that the public should continue to be involved at every stage. Especially when the finalists, when there are three or five finalists involved, when we are down to that from the thousands of wonderful submissions I am sure you will see. We, in the early fall, are going to create public workshops like we did in the spring, we had 230 workshops across the tri-state area. We are going to have people come in and talk about the memorial and the memorial visions that are out there. And, try to see where these designs match up with both the formal criteria that you'll be working with and the spiritual one that we all have within us.