Two days after the September 11, 2001 attacks, amidst the rubble a construction worker discovered two 20 foot intersecting steel beams from one of the collapsed World Trade Towers that became known as the World Trade Center Cross.
Immediately, the Cross because a symbol of faith, comfort and hope to the rescuers who presided over the massive recovery and to the nation at large.
The WTC Cross is now considered an icon and currently stands as the emotional centerpiece of the September 11 National Memorial.
Until I started researching this piece, I was unaware that there was even a movie produced in 2007 entitled,The Cross and the Towers by John Schneider about the miraculous WTC Cross. Here is the trailer.
Apparently those two offensive steel beams — that happened to collapse in the shape of a cross — is, according to Edwin Kagin, the groups legal director, “a violation of both federal and New York law in that public funds will be used to establish the Christian religion on public land.”
Adding to that argument is the organization’s president David Silverman who describes the cross as “a clear instance of a violation of the separation of church and state in its extreme.”
For further research, if you visit the American Atheists web site be sure to read their account of the legal fight. What I found especially exasperating is the WTC Cross is repeatedly referred to as “the girder set.”
Fortunately, this past August, officials at the 9/11 museum have begun to fight back taking the necessary legal steps to have the Atheist’s lawsuit thrown out by the court.
The museum’s argument is that they are an independent non-profit organization and not a government agency. But more important, “the cross is an artifact and not a religious symbol.”
Actually, one could argue that is it both and that is precisely what makes the WTC Cross so significant.
For this “girder set” became the national symbol of American patriotism, hope and courage. The cross beams were the source of strength for millions around the nation and especially those on the ground, to help overcome the adversity that had beset us as a nation while representing the faith of our Founding Fathers.
Some would say it was pure coincidence that the “girder set” fell to the ground in the shape of the symbol that represents Christ’s suffering.
But many believe, myself included, that the WTC Cross was and still is a divine symbol sent to remind us that HE was in the rubble too, suffering and comforting us as only HE was capable.
Regardless of what you think it meant then or means today, the WTC Cross is under attack and must be defended.
While reading about the Atheist lawsuit, I was pleased to learn that the conservative counter organization to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), where a friend of mine is Counsel, had filed a friend-to-the-court brief in support of the WTC Cross.
Colby M. May is Director & Senior Counsel of the Washington Office of the ACLJ, so I sent him an email asking for a quote about the lawsuit.
The following is Colby’s response. He clearly spells out the case and puts the Atheists in their proper place. We can only hope that the presiding judge agrees that this case needs to be shredded and trashed.
On September 13, 2001, two days after the worst terrorist attacks in American history, New York City firefighter Frank Silecchia discovered two steel beams in the shape of a cross just after recovering three bodies from the rubble of the collapsed World Trade Center. Silecchia told ABC News of his immediate reaction: “I was overwhelmed with the image of my faith… it brought me to tears and to my knees.” Silecchia was not alone in his reaction. Contemporaneous reports are unanimous in recording the immediate and profound effect that the Cross had on First Responders and rescue workers. This is why the Cross is at the “historical exhibition” of the September 11 Memorial Museum, where it chronicles not only the recovery and rescue efforts but how we understand “collective grief.” In short, Plaintiffs [American Atheists, Inc.] cannot dispute that the Cross is an historical artifact of the September 11 attacks, they cannot dispute that it had significance to many First Responders and others at Ground Zero, and they cannot dispute that historical artifacts – even religious artifacts – have long been placed in America’s public museums. Inclusion of the Cross is constitutionally appropriate, and by no measure does it establish a state religion.”
This Tuesday, September 11th, the WTC Cross is scheduled to be officially “presented” at the 9-11 Memorial.
Of course the American Atheist group is trying to block the presentation. So watch carefully how the mainstream media covers this controversy. Will the same media organizations, usually hostile to overt Christian symbols, now turn into defenders of the WTC Cross?