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Thread: WTC Diggers Slam Plans for Ceremony

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    WTC Diggers Slam Plans for Ceremony

    WTC Diggers Slam Plans for Ceremony

    By WILLIAM NEUMAN and MAGGIE HABERMAN
    Courtesy of The New York Post

    Workers at Ground Zero are up in arms over plans to keep them out of the site during the ceremony marking the end of recovery work, sources said yesterday. The recovery workers, who've been searching for remains and removing debris around the clock since the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack, had originally proposed a "last march" out of the site, with all the workers escorting the 30-foot- tall steel beam from the south tower.

    Instead, the workers have been told they have to clear out of the site, and stand on West Street to watch the tribute next Thursday morning, said sources familiar with the plans.

    City officials have "completely taken it away from us," said one source. "And we don't even get to be part of it, and we created this idea, [that] we march out of the hole. A lot of labor unions are upset."

    Mayor Bloomberg's spokesman, Ed Skyler, declined comment.

    The workers will be part of a separate, bagpipe ceremony on Tuesday night, when the last beam remaining at the site is cut down, put on a flatbed truck and draped in black.

    But on Thursday, there will be only a small color guard representing city agencies escorting the beam, the source said.

    "The whole concept got ruined," said the source, adding some workers might not attend.

    Bloomberg has been criticized by some terror victims' relatives who'd asked that the tribute be held on a Sunday.

    Meanwhile, officials overseeing Ground Zero rebuilding held their first public hearing last night - getting pitches for a gleaming permanent memorial and hearing criticism from some activists that they've excluded Chinatown and the Lower East Side from their efforts.

    More than 700 community activists, relatives of Sept. 11 victims and elected officials packed the hearing at Pace University, where some 20 board members and staffers from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and the Port Authority listened to a wide range of comments.

    Jonathan Hakala, who lost a friend on the 77th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center, urged planners not to build a string of "mediocre buildings on the site."

    "If you're going to put buildings on that site, build one of the seven modern wonders of the world," Hakala urged.

    Some brought sketches of their ideas for permanent memorials.

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    At Ground Zero, Uneasy Agreement on Final Rite

    At Ground Zero, Uneasy Agreement on Final Rite
    By DAN BARRY

    he pit where the World Trade Center once stood would be empty soon, with no more human remains to find. The moment would mark such a profound shift in the sad continuum of ground zero, from recovery to rebuilding, that formal commemoration was required. And so weeks of planning began.

    Perhaps a bald eagle could soar from the pit to symbolize the rise of souls and the resolve of a country. Maybe people should hold candles. And instead of the usual parade of speakers, how about letting silence say what already seems beyond words?
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    The suggestions came from construction workers, firefighters, victims' relatives and anyone else with a direct link to the disaster site; they helped inform Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's final decision to hold a ceremony on Thursday, one that seeks dignity through simplicity. No spectacle, no speeches, no eagle. Just an empty stretcher, a truck carrying the last girder, a little music and a lot of silence.

    But the psychic terrain of ground zero is fraught with mines, as Mr. Bloomberg discovered in choosing the date. Some family members have accused the mayor of increasing their pain by choosing to hold the ceremony on a weekday, rather than on a weekend. Some have even suggested that he simply did not want his weekend disrupted.

    The city is learning, again, that the months since the collapse of the twin towers on Sept. 11 is but a blink of an eye, and that there is nothing tidy about mass grieving. That is why high-level discussions continue about the logistics of a ceremony just three days away, with every gesture and moment being evaluated for how it might be interpreted.

    For example, the invitation list may be long

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