I lost a friend in the 1981 collapse of the Hyatt Regency’s skywalk. This unnecessary catastrophe is personal to me, and my personal sense of loss remains. But a bronze memorial is not an appropriate response.
The purpose of a public memorial needs definition — maybe to raise standards and to inspire us to reach higher in our own achievements. I’ve learned that the people of a nation tend to memorialize their failures when successes to be proud of become fewer — thus the Oklahoma City bombing site garden and the 9/11 Ground Zero memorial.
There is nothing heroic about being in a place where you are unexpectedly killed. Had someone spotted the dangerous truck parked at the Oklahoma federal building and driven it off, I would have donated a statue to him. The memorial-worthy at 9/11 were not those killed in the exploding airplanes and collapsing buildings, but those who endangered themselves to salvage those who could be saved.
Every fatal car wreck, every drowning leaves behind people like Kevin Cooper (6/22, Letters) and me, people who need to suffer their losses privately.
Ronald W. McReynolds