The Quiet Dignity of The Tourist at The 9/11 Memorial
Gary He

I usually never talk about this stuff but I lost between 35 and 40 friends and family on 9–11. I was there that day and almost lost my own life. I lost my father, who was a wonderful man and I lost my best friend, who I had known since first grade, who worked for my father. The other friends were people I had worked with for 20 years. People often ask me if I’ve ever visited the memorial. I have not. The reason I don’t go anywhere near it is that before and after it was being built, I would see tourists smiling and laughing while taking pictures at the site. It’s ghoulish and with the museum it has turned into a ridiculous commercial enterprise to make money. Can you imagine people going to Auschwitz and taking smiling selfies by the barbwire and ovens? If they want an appropriate remembrance of what those poor men and women went through as they died, they should erect a huge blender, then they should fill it with 2996 live cows. Then turn on the blender and when it’s done poor the remains on a giant hot plate and let it cook for months. I understand that for families of the victims the memorial serves some purpose in helping them grieve, but with tourists walking around with selfie sticks and putting their fast food on the names of victims, it turns my stomach, always has, always will.