Ten years in the making, the National September 11 Memorial was completed and opened to the public on September 12, 2011. The eight-acre park was designed by Israeli- American, Michael Arad of Handle Architects, a New York and San Francisco firm. The Memorial is composed of a forest of swamp white oak trees with two square pools, one on each of the original foot prints of the North and South Towers. The core of the design is a 30-foot man-made wall of water that hugs the sides of the one-acre reflecting pools. The downward-streaming water is meant to symbolize falling tears.
The purpose of the memorial was to commemorate those who died in the September 11 terrorist attack, and those involved in the rescue work, and to provide a place for the families of the victims to be reminded of the loss they suffered and for continue grieving. It is also intended as a reminder that we should remain vigilant against the threat of another attack, and also to show the world the American spirit: that we may be destroyed, but we can rebuild.
People with a basic understanding of how energy works know very well that to hang onto past tragedy serves only to perpetuate the negative energy, and continue to be consumed by it. A memorial park should be more than merely a place of remembrance: it should lead in a positive direction. It should inspire, by conjuring up a positive image, like the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial. Even the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery inspires people by commemorating heroic acts and sacrifices for good causes.
Most who died on 9-11 were just victims, caught up in an event they did not choose. In this, they were not much different than millions of innocent civilians who have died in wars all over the world. Although it may be appropriate to have a reminder of tragedy and grief, the reminder should also lead to a symbol of hope for peace and celebration of life.
A wrong concept always leads to wrong manifestation. Not surprisingly, from a feng shui point of view, the design of the 9-11 Memorial fails badly on all three levels: informational, chi energy and physical manifestation.
Instead of creating a Yang, upward and positive energy, the design reflects a Yin, downward and negative energy. If we wish to show an American spirit that can rise up after being destroyed, we should build something that moves upward, above the ground, rather than something that sinks 30 feet below ground. In fact, when the “Reflecting Absence” design was first selected from among the 8 finalists, relatives of the victims gathered with other concerned citizens to protest the choice. They too thought that the memorial should be built above the ground. Despite this, many politicians hailed the creativity and thoughtfulness of the design, and the chosen design prevailed. From a feng shui perspective, both the designer and the decision panel had either lost touch with common sense, or had somehow developed a much disoriented mind set.
The most significant feature of the design is the waterfall. From a feng shui perspective, a body of water metaphorically represents money and wealth. The 52,000 gallons of water per minute, rushes into the center dark pit, symbolizes that money is continuously going down to the drain. This is especially so since it is in the center of New York City, the financial center of USA, at the site of the World Trade Center buildings that were a major part of that financial nexus. On both the information and energy levels, this reflects not only the current state of affairs, but also the days to come. Even more, the treasured survival tree is a non-fruit bearing pear tree that was rescued from the World Trade Center grounds — a further suggestion of the infertility of hopes for economic recovery in the years to come.
As a tourist attraction, what can it offer tourists? What can a tourist expect to take away from this? Only sad memories of the event, and the tears of the victims’ families? It literally is a depressed place and a depressing place. What incentive would tourists have to visit?
An additional irony is that, in the midst of the financial crisis, the US government spent 500 million for the project. And, coincidentally or not, within a week after the National September 11 Memorial opened to the public, the Occupy Wall Street movement began.