KFWB radio reporting for Thursday, October 4th, 2001
This afternoon, the National Museum of American History, and the Museum of the City of New York, will conduct a joint public meeting to discuss how they might appropriately and tastefully preserve the artifacts of these most trying times in the city's four centuries of existence.
The most sensitive of the many issues will be the 'Missing' posters we have so often spoken of here. Is it appropriate for anyone but families and friends to remove them, even with the best of intentions? If a museum wants to exhibit them, is it no longer a question of there being hope, but rather a premature act, an incorrect suggestion that the mass grieving process is even close to being over.
The issues are underscored, in a sense, by two of the city's newspapers.
The New York Post is averaging two pages a day full of photos of those who are still officially regarded as missing. And more heart-rendingly, the New York Times is publishing between 15 and 20 biographies of those lost - there were 18 more today, and as impactful as each of their stories is... it is the math of the thing that is so overwhelming. At an average of 18 per day, the Times has so far printed over 300 biographies. At this rate they would print the last of them... on July 27th of next year.
There is a decided attempt to convey the idea that this place is back to normal. You know what I mean here: it's just like Southern California in the week after a significant earthquake.
A new ad campaign from a candidate who wishes to succeed him says quote "Mayor Giuliani's handled the crisis, now..." which assumes the crisis is in the past tense.
On the cover of the New York Post, meanwhile, not Osama bin Laden nor President Bush, but Martin Sheen, next to a headline ripping the television show "West Wing." That the Post is owned by a rival television network is never mentioned; and the paper actually contradicts its front page by, inside, giving the program two positive reviews. One more part of New York back to normal.
As is this: Somebody's trying to make a profit off the nightmare. The city will give the families of all victims a wooden urn filled with soil from the World Trade Center site, because, says the Mayor, reports have been received of people trying to sell "Ground Zero soil" to the bereaved.
The most tangible evidence, though, that the city is not anywhere near back to normal is the simple fact that buildings on block after block south of the site have not yet been cleaned of the Trade Center ash. Unfortunately, that material consists of the same horrible ingredients that can be found at Ground Zero itself.