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A letter from an alumnus about the memorial at the World Trade Center site

January 21, 2002

I would like to make a small contribution to the discussion over the proposed statue of the three firemen raising the American flag over the site of the World Trade Center. It is this: If diversity is more important than reality, as some have said, why should we stop at changing the ethnicity of the people represented?

Many of the rescue workers who lost their lives were policemen, so one of the figures should be a policeman. Many, if not most, of the victims were office workers, so the third figure should be an office worker. Continuing in this vein, many of the victims of the terrorist attack were women. Since we shouldn’t show a bias in favor of one gender over the other, let us add a fourth figure to the statue and have two men and two women. Since many victims of terrorism are of Middle Eastern extraction, the fourth person can be of that ethnic group. Finally, since the U.S. is certainly not the only country to have suffered from terrorism, let the flag in the statue be the United Nations flag.

Absurd, you say? No more so than changing the ethnicity of the men in the photograph. Once people decide that diversity matters more than reality, there is no limit to the excesses that will be committed.

John F. Fay *85
Mary Esther, Fla.

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