To the editor:
The proposal to build a labyrinth was a good idea before Sept. 11, and it got better after. It is supported by a diverse group of citizens and town employees, including members of all three emergency services, at least two garden clubs, the YWCA and the Junior League. To date, it has been opposed by essentially one group of citizens.
First, I am not a member of the committee shepherding this proposal through the town approval process, although they kindly informed me of it in the fall. In fact, this is the only proposed recognition of the events of Sept. 11 on which I have been consulted. As I saw the opposition mount, I decided to go public with my support.
Many residents were hit very hard by the events of Sept. 11, many more than those of us who lost a relative. However, the issue of stress in our town goes way beyond that tragedy. The quiet little town I thought I grew up in is no longer -- and may never have been. However, the feelings evoked by that concept need to be nurtured by something as simple as a labyrinth.
There are precious few places to go in Greenwich to find solace; most are invaded by crowds and noise. Greenwich Point, in particular its western end, is a special place to find a quiet spot. I believe it is an excellent choice for a labyrinth.
As for access, it is not the problem it is made out to be. If one were to say that every public facility required convenient access, they all would be built in the center of town. There are no legal barriers to access at Greenwich Point; the courts took care of that. As for physical access to the site, the road needs minor repairs at the bottom of the hill; once those are made, a car can carry a handicapped person up to gain full access to the site.
It is important to note that this does not involve structures above the present landscape. It simply involves laying flat stones into the ground to create grass paths. I find that appealing, as it will be a very minor intrusion on the landscape, certainly less than many other structures placed at the Point over the years.
It will not interfere with other activities at the site. Nor does it involve clearing a 250-foot area. Incorporated in the proposal is an offer by the committee to make modest renovations to compensate for years of neglect. These involve repairs to nearby paths and walls, cleaning up the wooded border of the site and planting indigenous plants along the edge. That will prevent people from entering the site by walking up the slope to it, as they do now. Paths created by those walkers are contributing to erosion.
Funds to install and maintain the labyrinth will come from private donations of money, materials and labor.
Alternate sites have been examined and rejected. The site at the Point is the most appropriate because of its proximity to the most accessible view of New York City. I hope some who say they like the idea but oppose the site at the Point will propose a labyrinth at the sites they favor.
The purpose of the labyrinth has been consistently presented. It is in memoriam, not a memorial. It is recognition of the event, not of the people lost. There may come a time when the town decides to erect a memorial. Those are usually erected many years after the events that justify them. The purpose of this proposal is to facilitate healing from our wounds, whatever the source. The associated plaque will read: Dedicated as a sacred, meditative place for healing, solace and contemplation, in remembrance of September 11, 2001.
I ask all who support this proposal to call your Representative Town Meeting delegates. They are listed on the Web site: http://www.greenwichct.org/
Henry J. Fisher
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