Our View: Moving on from “Ground Zero”

DKS Editors

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently suggested that America retire the term “ground zero” when referring to the New York City location of the 9/11 attacks.

“We will never forget the devastation of the area that came to be known as ‘ground zero.’ Never,” Bloomberg told the LA Times. “But the time has come to call those 16 acres what they are: The World Trade Center and the National Sept. 11th Memorial and Museum.”

Bloomberg has a very valid point.

In military terms, “ground zero” means the point of a nuclear detonation, or more broadly put, a point of extreme devastation. The name stirs up images of piles of concrete beneath dust-filled air, putting Americans right back in the place where they first heard we had been attacked.

While the generations who witnessed the attacks will probably always call that area of Lower Manhattan “Ground Zero,” changing its name could be a crucial step in moving forward.

That site is no longer filled with the wreckage of the towers. The destruction is gone, and the city has filled the location with an appropriate memorial and museum to remember and mourn what happened.

Those 16 acres are undoubtedly a place of sadness; a place that will always remind Americans of how vulnerable our country can be. And maybe we’ll never fully stop thinking of it as a war zone.

But today that location is more about respect, admiration and honor. It could help us heal if we call it what it is.

To continue referring to the trade center and memorial as “ground zero” could stunt our country’s grieving process. It’s so much more than that now. It’s a place to solemnly grieve, remember and then move on.

It is now a place of commemoration — not devastation.