By Carter B. Horsley
On December 18, 2002, the Lower
Manhattan Development Corporation presented a second group of
plans for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site. The
first group of plans presented by the corporation earlier in the
year (see The City
Review article) met
with considerable negative public reaction and lack of enthusiasm.
The New York Times Magazine published a separate group
of proposals (see The
City Review article)
as did New York magazine (see The City Review article). The corporation then invited new proprosals and
received more than 400 and narrowed them down to proposals presented
by seven architectural teams, which included some of the world's
most famous architects such as Sir Norman Foster, Daniel Liebeskind,
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Richard Meier, Peter Eisenman,
Steven Holl, Raphael Vinoly and others.
Because of controversy over
the original notion of replacing all the commercial space on the
site that was the target of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks
and because of concerns that the Lower Manhattan office market
could not easily absorb all that much space, the competition for
the second group of designs lowered the requirement of commercial
space significantly. Interestingly, four of the seven new proposals
call for structures taller than the World Trade Center, a reflection
of widespread public opinion that the skyline and the city deserved
The Lower Manhattan Development
Corporation's website, http://www.renewnyc.org, has descriptions and illustrations
of each of the proposals including large "slide" shows
prepared by each of the architectural teams.
The new proposals are shown
below with quotations from each team's "introduction"
and commentary on each proposal:
The following quotation is from the introduction
to the proposed design by Foster & Partners:
"The rebuilding of the World Trade Center site is the most
important urban planning and architectural challenge of our time.
It is about healing, repair and rebirth. We have a duty to commemorate
the dead in the form of a solemn and respectful memorial. We have
a duty to repair and regenerate the city fabric. Above all, we
have a duty to symbolize the rebirth of New York on the skyline,
to demonstrate to the world the resilience, the resolve, the strength
and faith in the future of all those who are dedicated to liberty
The footprints of the two destroyed towers provide sites for the
international memorial competition. Monumental walls of steel
and stone will create a sanctuary for private remembrance and
reflection. From within these tranquil spaces only the sky will
be visible - no buildings or trees. Surrounding the memorial sites
will be a new World Square-a large green park.
"The renewal of the World Trade Center
site can be the catalyst for the regeneration of the whole of
Lower Manhattan. We can repair and rebuild the neighborhood street
pattern that was eradicated in the 1960s. Fulton Street and Greenwich
Street will be extended and revived. We can reinvent Liberty Street
as a vibrant street market. Instead of a barren plaza, there will
be streets on a human scale lined with shops, restaurants, cinemas
and bars to ensure that the area has a life around the clock.
"We can also strengthen connections further
afield by integrating New York's public transport system. Below
ground, there will be a New Multi-Transportation Center, providing
Lower Manhattan with the centralized transport facilities that
exist in Midtown. This new gateway into Manhattan will be marked
by a glorious glass canopy - a celebration of public transport.
"The iconic skyline must be reassembled.
We propose to celebrate New York's positive spirit with a unique
twinned tower - the most secure, the greenest and the tallest
in the world. This is a huge responsibility because human safety
must be paramount. Immediately following September 11th Foster
and Partners commissioned an expert multidisciplinary task force
to conduct an in-depth study into safety in tall buildings. Their
findings inform the design of this new structure.
"The crystalline tower is based on triangular
geometries - cross-cultural symbols of harmony, wisdom, purity,
unity and strength. Its two halves kiss at three points, creating
public observation platforms, exhibits, cafes and other amenities.
These links also have a safety benefit, as escape routes from
one tower to the other. They will break down the tower's scale
into village-like clusters, each with its own atrium. These tree-filled
spaces - parks in the sky - will purify the natural air that will
ventilate the building. A state-of-the-art multi-layered facade
will enable the towers to avoid energy-wasting air conditioning
for up to 80% of the year. The building's raking corners offer
the opportunity for funiculars to transport the public vertically
up the building.
"Our plans meet the needs for remembrance,
reconciliation and renaissance. The memorial will be a lasting
reminder of the value of human life. The new streetscape represents
our belief in the highest quality of urban living and the new
towers' socially and environmentally progressive agenda will symbolize
New York's commitment to a better future."
This proposal by the world's most famous
"high-tech" architect calls for twin, 1764-foot-high
towers that would "kiss" at three points. The forms
of the towers are based on triangular rather than rectilinear
angles. The design is spectacular and its apparently steel and
glass faceted facade would perpetuate the sparkling aesthetic
of the original twin towers. While the design is certainly dramatic,
it is a bit ungainly. The angled towers almost appear to shudder.
They are exciting, but perhaps almost too energetic. The notion
of the "kiss" skybridges is good, but the design would
perhaps be improved if the two towers had a larger separation.
The following quotation is from the introduction
to the proposed design by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and its
"Our proposal is to reconnect the city by creating a dense
grid of vertical structures that support multiple strata of public
and cultural spaces. Our vision is one that moves beyond the historical
drive to build high only in order to maximize the limited resource
of land, it is one that builds to multiply that very resource
for the greater public. Our proposal covers 16 acres, and in turn,
returns those 16 acres twice, by providing within its various
horizontal strata, 16 acres of sky gardens and an additional 16
acres of cultural space.
"We believe that the future of the global
city must provide substantive solutions for increasingly densified
space; space for public, space for culture and the vitality of
commerce that will support those resources and needs. In our proposal,
the legible icons are the striations of space, rather than commercial
structures. The main idea is that the architecture supports public
and cultural space, the specific shapes are works in progress.
All buildings are shaped for the greatest public good, each dynamically
enhances views, connections, light, and seeks to lessen the impact
of wind and sound.
"Our proposal reaches beyond the historical
exchange of equal commerce for equal land. It doubles the return
in our quest for quality of environment. And in turn gives Lower
Manhattan a larger expanse of square footage dedicated to cultural
activity than the sum of all the city's existing cultural spaces.
It does this with the greatest efficiency, economically and environmentally.
It provides for more than adequate retail and commercial space
and does so by creating betterment for the public good. It also
provides sites for an international memorial competition. Together
the green spaces at the various public strata act as natural systems
promoting the exchange of carbon for oxygen. The program as a
whole, by virtue of its water feature, is self-reliant, recycling
the precious resources of water as well as functioning as heat
exchanger diminishing energy costs throughout the project as well
as moving beyond 'sustainability' and will be a power contributor
to the city. This is a paradigm for the future, and has never
really been done on this scale before.
"At the very top is the final public stratum,
a horizontal plateau elevated above the skyline providing a "Trans-horizon"
for the resurrected global city. It is a real space that extends
itself horizontally rather than vertically and symbolically reaches
beyond the confines of the city to all the surrounding horizons.
At this vertical plateau the buildings act together both as a
public space for contemplation and observation, and as an interactive
transmitter and receiver for communication, information and media
exchange. They respond to our most recent technological and economic
imperatives to produce continuity and networks culturally, environmentally
and economically, all at both global and local levels.
"As such, we present our proposal as a
design for new horizons built on elevating the public good above
the ruins of tragedy."
A very ambitious plan, this proposal is
very dense and offers considerable high-rise public spaces and
environmental benefits as well as being able to be built in many
phases. While it does not seek to erect the world's tallest building,
it probably calls for more mass than any of the other proposals.
The bent towers would undoubtedly offer very exciting street-level
views but would also obstruct many of their own high-rise vistas,
although the vertiginous views would be interesting. While it
is an intriguing proposal, it does not achieve symbolic grandeur.
The following quotation is from the THINK team
"The moral obligation in rebuilding Ground
Zero is not just how best to remember those who perished in this
tragedy, but how to make their memory the inspiration for a better
future. The issues at stake in planning the site have a local
dimension as well as global repercussions; therefore the design
should address the specific conditions of our city from a perspective
that could also transcend its limits.
"Ground Zero should emerge from this tragedy
as the first truly Global Center, a place where people can gather
to celebrate cultural diversity in peaceful and productive coexistence.
Finding the proper balance between the two main objectives of
the project - Remembrance and Redevelopment - depends on the way
in which investment in the public infrastructure contributes to
the Renewal of Lower Manhattan. Since the level of funding will
influence the design characteristics, we have developed three
different planning concepts - Sky Park, The Great Room and The
World Cultural Center - in order to demonstrate the impact of
a range these possible levels of investment.
"An inspired plan will rededicate our
City to the ideals of diversity, democracy, and optimism that
have made New York the World's Center for the exchange not only
of goods and services, but also of creativity and culture.
"A ten block, 16-acre rooftop Public Park
is a living memorial that floats above the familiar scale of the
New York City street grid. Connecting to the Grand Promenade along
West Street and beginning at street level across from St. Paul's
Chapel, the Park gradually climbs to ten stories and culminates
in a cantilevered three-acre lawn with sweeping views of the Hudson
River and the New York Harbor.
"The Memorial location is defined by the
open squares of the footprints of the WTC Towers and includes
the space above, below and surrounding them.
"The Park includes groves of trees, an
amphitheater, cafes, an ice-skating rink, fountains, community
gardens and multiple sites for additional Memorials. Ramps, pedestrian
bridges (including one to the Winter Garden), escalators, and
a "vertical pocket park" elevator provide convenient
connections within the Park and to the street.
"Located below the Park, in typical city
blocks are cultural facilities (adjacent to the footprints), street
level retail (in addition to retail on the concourse level), a
Transportation Center, a hotel/convention center, and office space.
"On the Park's perimeter, three large
office towers (including the world's tallest) complete the program
in subsequent phases. The towers are designed as independent buildings
and rise high above the Park to redefine the skyline of the City.
The Great Room
"The Great Room is a vast, covered Public
Plaza connecting all the elements of the program under an enormous
free-span glass ceiling. A soaring living memorial, encompassing
13 acres, serves as the Gateway to the City and as the Great Hall
of the Transportation Center-an unprecedented place for arrival,
celebration, memory, and civic events.
"Two glass cylinders protect the footprints
of the WTC Towers as they surround and articulate the Memorial
site and the entrance to a 9/11 Interpretative Museum.
"Utilizing the large area of the roof
and the space that it covers, sustainable systems conserve energy
and collect rainwater to reduce consumption and produce solar
energy. Stacking shutters regulate the natural ventilation of
the space providing the opportunity to control ambient temperature.
"Phased mixed-use buildings define the
perimeter and support the roof. The tallest structure in the world
(2,100 ft), including offices, hotel and a transmission tower,
completes the program, is a counterpoint to the Great Room, and
redefines the skyline of the City.
Towers of Culture
"The World Trade Center is reborn as the
World Cultural Center. Built above and around the footprints of
the World Trade Center towers, but without touching them, two
open latticework structures create a 'site' for development of
the Towers of Culture.
"Within these soaring structures, distinctive
buildings designed by different architects are phased to complete
a program of innovative cultural facilities: the Memorial (from
the footprints of the original towers to the top of the highest
platform in the world), the 9/11 Interpretative Museum, a Performing
Arts Center, an International Conference Center, an open Amphitheater,
viewing platforms and public facilities for education Arts and
Sciences reconstruct the skyline of the City with the icons of
the Public Realm. The Towers emerge from large glass reflecting
pools that bring natural light to the retail and transit concourse.
Two large-scale turbines harvest wind to power the elevators of
the Center that will serve 8.5 million visitors a year.
"The Transportation Center occupies the
memorable space between the towers. Retail is located at both
the concourse and street levels to better serve the community.
Eight independent mid-rise office buildings and a hotel on the
perimeter of the site fulfill the total program according to market
This plan comes closest to replicating the
basic form of the original World Trade Center, albeit with transparency
and a much more complex development at its base. While the proposal
adequately addresses the symbolic needs of the site, its interesting
base is perhaps too complex and the costs of the transparent sections
of the towers may be prohibitive.
The following quotation is from the introduction
to this proposal:
"In the tradition of Rockefeller Center
and Union Square, we propose to build a great public space for
New York City at the World Trade Center site. We call this Memorial
Square. While the 19th and 20th century precedents for urban plazas
are contained spaces, our 21st century Memorial Square is both
contained and extended, symbolizing the connections of this place
to the city and to the world.
Memorial Square is defined on the east and north sides with hybrid
buildings that rise 1,111 feet, restoring the Manhattan skyline
with geometric clarity in glowing glass. At ground level these
buildings form a unique array of ceremonial gateways leading into
the site. These thresholds of reflection open onto Memorial Square,
a place that supports daily activities while allowing moments
of contemplation and silence.
"To the west, two glass-bottom reflecting
pools demarcate the footprints of the former World Trade Center
towers. Beneath them, the volumes of the footprints become sites
for memorial rooms lit from above. The pools overlook two memorial
groves of trees, planted to mark the final shadows cast by the
towers moments before each fell. Nearby, new proposed cultural
facilities include a Memorial Museum and Freedom Library, a Concert
Hall and Opera House, and Performing Arts Theaters, which frame
the edges of the site.
"Memorial Square sets a precedent in its
potential for multiple memorials sites, beginning with the ground
plan. These sites will be the locations for an international memorial
competition. Given the nearly 2,800 people who died here and the
thousands more who were physically and emotionally scarred by
the horror of September 11, we believe that it is not necessary
to contain or divide the site, but to expand it by extending into
the surrounding streets. This is achieved through a series of
"fingers," reminders that the magnitude of what happened
here was felt far beyond the immediate site. At the same time,
they facilitate connections between Memorial Square, the waterfront,
the proposed NYC Transit Center, and greater Lower Manhattan.
Laid on the existing grade, the stone-paved fingers are also visual
and acoustic reference points.
"The essence of the ground plan reappears
in the composition of the buildings, which only occupy 27 percent
of the site, leaving the remaining twelve acres to be developed
as public space. The two buildings comprised of five vertical
sections and interconnecting horizontal floors, represent a new
typology in the tradition of innovative skyscraper design. In
their quiet abstraction, the buildings suggest screens of presence
and absence, encouraging reflection and imagination. The cantilevered
ends extend outward, like the fingers of the ground plan, reaching
toward the city and each other. Nearly touching at the northeast
corner of the site, they resemble the interlaced fingers of protective
"An architecture of dignity is not only
possible here, it is absolutely necessary. In the belief that
from a monumentally tragic occurrence can come to life-affirming
opportunity, Memorial Square is a place of living memory, a sacred
precinct where loss is remembered and renewal is celebrated."
This is the only proposal that seizes upon
the great visual element of the 9/11 tragedy, the shards of the
World Trade Center's structural facade. The interpretation is
not literal, but nonetheless is quite meaningful and the lattice
design also offers the advantages, as did the plan of Foster &
Partners of providing skybridges. This is probably the best design,
although having the five vertical towers all topped at 1,111 feet
misses the opportunity for the city to regain the title of having
the world's tallest building. Perhaps the towers could be of different
heights with the one at the northeast corner of the site being
the world's tallest.
The following quotation is from the introduction
to this scheme by Daniel Libeskind:
"I arrived by ship to New York as a teenager,
an immigrant, and like millions of others before me, my first
sight was the Statue of Liberty and the amazing skyline of Manhattan.
I have never forgotten that sight or what it stands for. This
is what this project is all about.
"When I first began this project, New
Yorkers were divided as to whether to keep the site of the World
Trade Center empty or to fill the site completely and build upon
it. I meditated many days on this seemingly impossible dichotomy.
To acknowledge the terrible deaths which occurred on this site,
while looking to the future with hope, seemed like two moments
which could not be joined. I sought to find a solution which would
bring these seemingly contradictory viewpoints into an unexpected
unity. So, I went to look at the site, to stand within it, to
see people walking around it, to feel its power and to listen
to its voices. And this is what I heard, felt and saw.
"The great slurry walls are the most dramatic
elements which survived the attack, an engineering wonder constructed
on bedrock foundations and designed to hold back the Hudson River.
The foundations withstood the unimaginable trauma of the destruction
and stand as eloquent as the Constitution itself asserting the
durability of Democracy and the value of individual life.
"We have to be able to enter this hallowed,
sacred ground while creating a quiet, meditative and spiritual
space. We need to journey down, some 70 feet into Ground Zero,
onto the bedrock foundation, a procession with deliberation into
the deep indelible footprints of Tower One and Tower Two.
"The foundation, however, is not only
the story of tragedy but also reveals the dimensions of life.
The PATH trains continue to traverse this ground now, as before,
linking the past to the future. Of course, we need a Museum at
the epicenter of Ground Zero, a museum of the event, of memory
and hope. The Museum becomes the entrance into Ground Zero, always
accessible, leading us down into a space of reflection, of meditation,
a space for the Memorial itself. This Memorial will be the result
of an international competition.
"Those who were lost have become heroes.
To commemorate those lost lives, I created two large public places,
the Park of Heroes and the Wedge of Light. Each year on September
11th between the hours of 8:46 a.m., when the first airplane hit
and 10:28 A.M., when the second tower collapsed, the sun will
shine without shadow, in perpetual tribute to altruism and courage.
"We all came to see the site, more than
4 million of us, walking around it, peering through the construction
wall, trying to understand that tragic vastness. So I designed
an elevated walkway, a space for a Memorial promenade encircling
the memorial site. Now everyone can see not only Ground Zero but
the resurgence of life.
"The exciting architecture of the new
Lower Manhattan rail station with a concourse linking the PATH
trains, the subways connected, hotels, a performing arts center,
office towers, underground malls, street level shops, restaurants,
cafes; create a dense and exhilarating affirmation of New York.
"The sky will be home again to a towering
spire of 1776 feet high, the "Gardens of the World."
Why gardens? Because gardens are a constant affirmation of life.
A skyscraper rises above its predecessors, reasserting the pre-eminence
of freedom and beauty, restoring the spiritual peak to the city,
creating an icon that speaks of our vitality in the face of danger
and our optimism in the aftermath of tragedy.
Libeskind's Jewish Museum in Berlin is one
of the great buildings of the past few decades and his ensemble
here of rakishly angled towers is handsome and coherent and also
capable of being erected in phases. The top half or so of the
tallest and slenderest tower is given over to gardens. The asymmetrical
skyline of this design is appealing.
The following quotation is from this proposal's introduction:
"The entire site is a monument to the
tragedy of 9/11 consisting of an interconnected series of five
buildings that creates a cathedral-like enclosure across the entire
16 acre site. A vast public plaza and park is formed around the
connected footprints by a protective ring of towers. A living
memorial will develop over time becoming both a monument to the
past and a vision for the future.
"Preserving the footprints of the World
Trade Center, the memorial visitor descends seventy-five feet
below ground along a spiral walkway to then look up through the
footprints to the sky. Rather than looking down, the memorial
directs visitors to look upward in remembrance. A Sky Memorial
atop the first tower will allow visitors to complete the memorial
pilgrimage by looking down over the hallowed ground where so many
heroes lost their lives.
"In the sacred space of the memorial,
immense arches tower over the plaza and expansive public spaces
are laid out to optimize the flow of people and create an inviting
sense of openness. This integrated strategy of development serves
commuters, nearby residents and tourists alike and reflects the
rich urban fabric that has evolved in Lower Manhattan over the
past 30 years. United Towers encompasses over 10.5 million square
feet in a single contiguous building to be built in phases, the
highest tower measuring 1620 feet, approximately 112 floors.
"The interconnection of the five towers
provides for unique commercial and public space. For example,
at 800 feet in the air, approximately the 60th floor, a multi-level
"City in the Sky" connects the towers with gardens,
educational centers, shopping, cafes, a sports center, a broadcast
center and a conference center. The possibility of very large
connected floors invites not only new public functions at unprecedented
heights but also large contiguous floor plates that can attract
businesses back from the suburbs into Lower Manhattan. Throughout
the complex, vertical sky gardens are arranged every five floors
thereby enhancing the working environment and allowing a maximum
amount of sunlight, saving energy and improving the views from
"This single building built in five phases
will not only be the tallest building in the world, it will also
be one of the safest. Each of the sloping towers contains multiple
independent stairways, connected every 30 floors by areas of refuge.
From any point in every building there are many ways for people
to exit, having the option of going down, and of moving horizontally
into an adjacent building.
"The site surface is returned to grade
where pedestrians can walk across the site freely in all directions.
Greenwich Street connects Tribeca with Lower Manhattan through
the site. From Liberty, Cortlandt, Dey and Fulton Streets 60 story
archways frame views connecting the city to the river. The proposed
underground train station is designed to promote the flow of pedestrians,
avoid bottlenecks and provide a wide range of intuitive connections
to the streets, the plaza and the memorial. A major five-story
civic space dedicated to the multi-modal connections of MTA, PATH
and Air trains is located at the same subterranean level as the
base of the memorial competition site, allowing a connected experience
of monumental public infrastructure and the memorial."
This "megastructure" plan is very
imposing and monumental. Although it is ungainly, one can imagine
that some angular adjustments could significantly improve its
aesthetic. The tallest tower in particular is awkward thin and
almost appears precarious. The view upwards from the center is
very dramatic and memorable.
The following quotation is
taken from this plan's introduction:
"This plan creates a whole new city district with many different
places and experiences.
"The heart of the district is a special
Public Garden, whose shape and geometry are generated by the WTC
tower footprints. This garden is a walled enclosure, quiet and
contemplative, a place of allegory, historical remembrance, symbolism
and repose. Within the garden and at other places throughout the
district will be sites for an international memorial competition.
"The garden is sunken below the streets
and located behind the adjacent blocks. It serves as an inner
courtyard for the whole city, a place of refuge. The garden contains
an open amphitheater on the North Tower footprint with 2,797 seats,
one for each victim of the tragedy. Underneath the theater, at
bedrock, is the museum to the events of September 11.
"Circling out from the garden and amphitheater
are the other layers of this new city district, a rich and permanent
pattern of streets, boulevards, squares, towers, parks and gardens
that together form a new urbane public realm, one that can heal
the city and reach out to enhance the broader civic structure
of all Lower Manhattan."
The tall twin towers of this proposal are
anemic and fussy, although the amphitheater is laudable.
The new plans met with a generally enthusiastic
public response, considerably more favorable than the first "official"
group. However, some observers argued that the plans were neither
practical nor economically feasible.
While it is true that the city's economy is
in serious trouble and that these proposals are very expensive,
such qualms miss the point. The Reichmanns build the World Financial
Center at Battery Park City, a plan almost as grandiose. Rockefeller
Center, Grand Central Terminal and the former Pennsylvania Station
were also giant projects, all of which contributed very significantly
to the greatness of New York City.
Most of the plans, furthermore, are designed
to be built in stages and if the final design is grand enough
it may prove to very successful, especially if the city can find
its way to improve access to Lower Manhattan with a Second Avenue
subway, more ferry service and an improved link to airports.
It is encouraging that the Lower Manhattan
Development Corporation responded to criticism and invited new
proposals. There is, however, a great deal of uncertainty about
what it will do with the proposals. It has announced that it will
choose a proposal from the new group by the end of January, and
many civic groups have protested that that is too fast a schedule.
More importantly, it has not indicated whether it will choose
only one proposal or possibly try to combine elements from different
proposals and it is also not clear whether any final choice will
be adopted by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey or
Larry Silverstein, the developer who has a long-term lease on
the site. Mr. Silverstein recently presented plans by Skidmore,
Owings & Merrill for the rebuilding of his skyscraper, 7 World
Trade Center, that was demolished in the terrorist attacks.
The final decision on what to build on the
site is crucial to the city's future.
If it is not spectacular and awe-inspiring,
a very great opportunity will be missed, one not likely to be
None of the new proposals is perfect, but there
are some intriguing designs that do hint at exciting possibilities.
It is clear at this point that the "footprints"
of the twin towers of the World Trade Center should not be built
upon and should form an important part of the memorial component
of the site.
It is also clear that the site should contain
at least one super-tower, and there is no reason the city should
not regain the title of having the world's tallest building.
West Street should be covered over with a park.
The rationale behind the two groups of towers
in the Meier/Eisenman/Gwathmey-Siegel/Holl proposal is not clear
but the simple "lattice" form is very appealing. Its
glass facades, however, could probably use some refinement and
Libeskind is very skilled at facades. The angled megastructure
approach of the United Architects' plan could probably be applied
at the base here effectively and the amphitheater of the Pederson/Littenberg
plan should also be incorporated, a notion that Peter Eisenman
actually employed in his New York magazine proposal and
in a more dramatic mid-tower approach in his New York Times
Sunday Magazine plan.
Whether the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation
will dare to combine different elements from these plans is not
clear, nor whether it can subdivide the commissions. While the
individual teams and architects obviously would want to design
the entire plan, it is not inconceiveable that they would agree
to collaborate. Clearly, the overall plan will need to be in phases.
The final design should be awe-inspiring and
should include the world's tallest building.
It should be extremely graceful but also very
exciting. It should proclaim the city's resolve to regenerate
itself and the nation's resolve that freedom is paramount. It
should be the centerpiece of a renaissance of Lower Manhattan.
It should commemorate with dignity the tragic loss of life.