No one remembers 9/11 quite like a New Yorker. I was 14, a freshman in high school, and sitting in fourth period Global Studies when the announcement came over the PA system that a plane had gone through both the North and South towers of the World Trade Center. My friends and teachers had parents and siblings in those buildings.

Yes, the tragedy has left an obvious and painful scar across the face of our country, but most Americans aren’t faced with reminders every day – like the giant gap in the skyline where the Towers once stood, or the gaping, debris-littered hole downtown. It’s safe to say we, as a city, are far from being over it…

…which is why I was disgusted to learn today that Club Quarters Inc., a hotel development company, is looking to turn 9/11 into a business opportunity and a tourist attraction, reported the Associated Press yesterday morning.

To me this seems to be the lowest of the low. Capitalizing on a national tragedy? Thinking that enough time has passed that people have forgotten about all the damage that followed?

The hotel, World Center Hotel (which began taking reservations last month!) will feature floor-to-ceiling windows in many of its rooms that open directly onto the construction. The AP writes, “Guests and members will have access to the restaurant patio with views of giant cranes, jackhammers and metal scaffolding.” Are you kidding me!? The draw of this hotel is to watch men and women hard at work clearing off a site where nearly 3,000 lives were taken because of some f*d up hatred towards the United States and the radical, religious fundamentalist thinking of a handful of loons.

I’ve come up with a comparison. During the Vietnam War, thousands upon thousands of landmines were planted in Vietnam and Laos, a surrounding country. To this day the Vietnamese and Laos people are still digging up and detonating the landmines so that they don’t continue to claim innocent lives. Imagine now putting up a hotel in one of these fields, with giant-paned windows, so that guests could watch these men and women undo the damage that was done to their people and their country.

This is not what tourism and the travel industry is about and the fact that there are people who are willing to do anything to make a buck (introductory rates are $99 on weekends and $179 on weekdays), throwing their human decency to the wind, makes me sick.

At least I’m not the only one. The AP article quoted Michael Meindorfer, a tourist on his visit to ground zero from Frankfurt, Germany. “I wouldn’t stay there,” Meindorfer told the AP. “To go everyday and come home and see something like this….It’s sad.”

I welcome your thoughts.

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