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June 20, 2005 LMDC Chairman John C Whitehead said:
“Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us today. Recently, heartfelt concerns have been expressed about the cultural component of our collective project. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to correct some of the misconceptions recently aired so that we may once again join together to fulfill our solemn mission to rebuild the World Trade Center Site in an impartial and unified way.
Let me affirm what we all believe: The Memorial has always been, and will always be, the centerpiece, heart, and soul of our efforts. At six acres in size, it will be an appropriately prominent and moving memorial. The Memorial’s museum will be a powerful tribute, telling the stories of September 11th and February 26th – and most importantly, the lives of the loved ones we lost.
In addition to the Memorial and its museum, the cultural complex is the third element of our collective responsibility. Daniel Libeskind’s Master Plan for the World Trade Center Site envisioned a cultural complex as a buffer between the Memorial and commercial activities beyond, ensuring both the commemoration of loss and the celebration of life. Culture in no way replaces the Memorial, but rather serves as a fitting companion to it. I have seen the struggle for freedom firsthand throughout my life. In World War II, I fought for freedom at Normandy. I served in President Reagan’s State Department and helped to ensure freedom’s spread around the world. And I saw freedom come under attack on September 11th. I believe that the World Trade Center Site is a fitting and appropriate place to honor and celebrate our nation’s core principle – to show the world our unity, resiliency, and resolve to preserve freedom in the wake of the attacks. We remain committed to ensuring that our solemn and historic mission is fulfilled in a way that all Americans can be proud of.” FACT SHEET
Memorial and Memorial Center
The Cultural Center
Selection Process for the Four Cultural Institutions at the WTC Site
Consideration was given to public comments received during the ICI public forum held on July 28, 2003 and the comments at LMDC/City sponsored Neighborhood Workshops. Based on this work, the LMDC identified a short-list of institutions whose submissions were feasible and promising for developing the curatorial approach or content for the Memorial Center, and occupying a performing arts center and cultural buildings on the World Trade Center Site. These institutions were listed in a publicly released report. In June of 2004, the four institutions that were offered space at the World Trade Center site were announced at a large-scale press conference covered by hundreds of media outlets.