February 25, 2005 | David Shuster

Rebuild the Twin Towers

Your opinion was clear, resolute, and overwhelming. This week, when we asked which World Trade Center replacement you prefer in NYC, 80 percent of you chose the "New Twin Towers" design pictured below and only 20 percent picked the "Freedom Tower" selected by Governor George Pataki's Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

Nearly 3,500 of you participated in our online poll. And while online polls are not "scientific," the results, I believe, are important. Ground Zero is hallowed ground. And the fact is, an overwhelming percentage of you hate the current plans.


Which building design would you prefer
to see in NYC?

  • America's Freedom Tower: 20%
  • A new Twin Towers: 80%

Not a scientifically valid survey. Click to learn more.

Some of you took issue with the Freedom Tower design itself. Brendan called it a "decapitated pyramid with a chicken coop on top." James noted only 70 stories will be occupied and added, "even if you count the miserable birdcage... the building will soon be eclipsed as the world's tallest. Others mentioned the "awful political cronyism."

I received numerous requests to keep digging through the financial contributions from Ron Lauder (a friend of Daniel Libeskind) to Governor Pataki. And a few of you spoke about the "lack of excitement" after a separate architectural firm took over Libeskind's original design and made some dramatic changes.

Most of you, however, said the issue is that the Twin Towers were an American icon and must be rebuilt:

  • Steve wrote, "The greatest memorial to honor the thousands of lives lost is to rebuild the Twin Towers, stronger and mightier than ever."
  • Rick wrote, "Anything less is a memorial to fear."
  • Rich wrote, "My friend's father was an FDNY Lieutenant (Lt. Vincent G. Halloran) who died when the buildings collapsed. He has told me that his father would want the towers rebuilt; that not rebuilding them is a defeat."
  • Jen wrote, "I lost a dozen people in the Trade Center. Most were friends and former colleagues at Marsh & McLennan that took Tower 1's direct hit. No one I know wants the Freedom Tower and everyone I know overwhelmingly wants the Towers back."
  • Jack wrote, "A new Twin Towers is elegant in its simplicity. They knocked it down so let's rebuild it, taller, stronger, better."
  • Mike wrote, "This is important, this is our Iwo Jima flag."
  • Jeff wrote, "We need to show the terrorists that although they might be able to knock us down once, we will only come back bigger and stronger."

I could go on and on. I've received thousands of e-mails expressing the overwhelming desire that the WTC Twin Towers "rise again." Many of you asked, "What can we do to make this happen?"

I am a journalist, not an activist or organizer. But I can report to you something that my friend Joe Trippi has been noticing and writing a lot about lately Those of you on the Internet are gaining power and influence very quickly. You have the ability to organize, mobilize, inform, and take action in ways that have fundamentally changed American politics. The groups that want to rebuild the Twin Towers are out there ( and the people who support the "Freedom Tower" are organized as well ( But, this is a mismatch. And everybody knows it (including, I'm told, a 2008 Presidential candidate).

The question is how much damage does Governor Pataki and the LMDC want to inflict upon themselves before they wake up to reality? Americans, and especially New Yorkers, want their beloved city back.