Certainly the military felt that way. One year to the day, with crews having worked 24/7, the damage to the Pentagon had been repaired and the displaced workers were back at work in offices replacing those that had been destroyed.
The speed was due to military determination, a lack of bureaucracy and the fact that the Pentagon had been undergoing renovation and already had workers on the site. An outdoor memorial consisting of 184 benches opened in 2009.
At Shanksville, Pa., where one of the three planes crashed after its passengers mutinied against the hijackers and quite likely saved the U.S. Capitol, a memorial opened last year and has attracted an increasing number of visitors. Plans call for a visitors’ center and new landscaping and walkways to be completed by 2014.
At Ground Zero, site of the World Trade Center towers that most people associate with 9/11, an 8-acre memorial opened at street level last year and already has attracted 4.5 million visitors.
All around the plaza, there is construction. The new One World Trade Center, the spectacular replacement for the Twin Towers, has topped out at 104 stories and, with its spire, soars a symbolic 1,776 feet. That edifice is to open in 2014 at a cost of $3.9 billion.
The 72-story Four World Trade Center is planned to open in October 2013. Three World Trade Center is now eight floors toward it final height of 80 stories. And Two World Trade Center, planned for 88 stories, has reached ground level but is on hiatus until it’s assured of enough tenants to resume construction. Sentimental though we may be, this is still a business.
A massive new underground transportation hub of 13 rail and subway lines is scheduled to open in 2015.
The project is big, spectacular, a little over the top, and exactly the kind of in-your-face replacements the public wanted after 9/11. Considering the complexity, the cost and the competing interests, this has been relatively fast work.
Not so the 9/11 museum, to be built seven stories under Ground Zero. Work stopped on it nearly a year ago because of a complicated dispute — of the kind New York seems to excel in — involving funding, oversight and future operating costs.
The parties involved are the states of New York and New Jersey; the city of New York; the Port Authority, jointly operated by New York and New Jersey; private lease- and landholders; and three very strong-willed politicians.
That dispute will ultimately be resolved, but still unresolved is the fate of the suspected 9/11 planners. They are moldering in Guantanamo Bay while the government and the defense squabble about how best to try them. And that is the trouble with trying terrorists, who deserve no more mercy than pirates on the high seas historically have received. Say what you will about the bin Laden raid — but at least he finally met the fate he so richly deserved.