NEW YORK (AP) — A design consisting of two reflecting
pools and a paved stone field was chosen yesterday for the World
Trade Center memorial after an eight-month competition that drew
more than 5,000 entries from around the world.

Mira Levitan
“Reflecting Absence: A Memorial at the World Trade Center Site” by Michael Arad, is shown in this architectural illustration released in New York, Nov. 19, 2003. (AP PHOTO)

The “Reflecting Absence” memorial, created by city
designer Michael Arad, was chosen by a 13-member jury of artists,
architects and civic and cultural leaders. The winning memorial was
announced by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the agency
overseeing the rebuilding of the site.

The memorial drew an icy reception from victims’ families,
who accused the jury of ignoring their input during a hasty
deliberation and said the design failed to convey the horror of the
attack.

Anthony Gardner, who lost his brother in the Sept. 11 attack and
is a member of a coalition for family groups, said the design is
“unacceptable.”

“This is minimalism, and you can’t minimalize the
impact and the enormity of Sept. 11,” Gardner said.
“You can’t minimalize the deaths. You can’t
minimalize the response of New Yorkers.”

The memorial will remember all of the victims of the Sept. 11,
2001, attack, including those killed at the Pentagon, in
Pennsylvania and aboard the hijacked airliners. It also will honor
the six people killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

The memorial will be one of two focal points at the trade center
site, along with the 1,776-foot glass skyscraper known as the
Freedom Tower.

Four other buildings are planned where the trade center once
stood.

The jury reviewed 5,201 submissions from around the world
beginning last summer, narrowing the field to eight in November. By
the time the jury convened on Monday, it had chosen three
finalists: “Garden of Lights,” “Passages of
Light: the Memorial Cloud” and “Reflecting
Absence.”

The reflecting pools that are the centerpiece of the winning
memorial mark the footprints of the World Trade Center towers. Pine
trees and the stone field lead to the pools.

A jubilant Arad said he was surrounded by well-wishers after
learning his plan was chosen. “I just have so many people in
the room right now,” he said by telephone.

The jury’s decision came after a lengthy meeting Monday at
Gracie Mansion, the official mayoral residence. The jury toasted
its decision with champagne.

“The most important thing is we come up with the right
memorial and this process had thousands of people who had
suggestions,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who noted that
the number of submissions was unprecedented for such a contest.
“They whittled it down from thousands to one. You’re
not going to please everybody.”

“Garden of Lights” featured a public area filled
with lights, one for each victim. The three-level memorial had a
garden on the top and a private area for families of the victims at
the twin towers’ footprints, connected by a path and a stream
of water.

“Passages of Light,” by three New York designers,
included an open-air structure with cathedral-like vaults and a
glass walkway and would have an altar for each victim.

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