Monday, August 29, 2011

9/11 Memorial and the First Responder Conspiracy

There's a nasty rumor going around that the first responders won't be part of the  9/11 10th anniversary memorial.

And it's true. But it's really not a big deal.

Here's why.

First, the memorial ceremony is for the families of those who died on 9/11. Not those who survived, and not those who helped. The simple reason is space.

The entire 9/11 memorial area is roughly 8 acres.
Of that 8 acres, about 4 acres does not include a structure, hole, or monument of some sort.
Of that 4 acres, about 1 square acre is taken up by memorial trees and their bases.

So there are about 3 usable acres of space on the 9/11 memorial grounds. 

One acre is 4840 square yards.

Three acres is 14,520 square yards.

A single person takes up one square yard when standing, including room to shuffle nervously, which is what people do when they're packed in like that.

1,609 people lost a spouse or partner.
3,051 children lost a parent.

So only 4,660 people would be there for the memorial, right?


But of those who died, let's say there's one parent of each who would want to be there as well. 

That's 2,819 more people, for a total of 7,479. 


Keep in mind this is for just these people to be there. We're already over half capacity, and standing room only. 

7,479 invites
7,041 spectators

That's where we are before we include the first responders. 

In the 17 minutes before the second plane hit, over 1,000 NYC first responders were called to duty. If each of those brought one person, we're looking at roughly 2000 more people. So now we're at... 

9,479 invites
5,041 spectators

I don't know how many were there in the hour or two after the second plane. But the number of registered first responders who showed up from out of town in the first 24 hours of 9/11 exceeded 3,000.

If each of those brought a person, well, we wouldn't have room for them. 

15,479 invites
-959 spectators

Okay, back up. Let's get rid of those 'late' first responders. Just with the 'first' first responders, we'd have room for about 5 thousand people there who weren't part of the ceremony. 

Again though, standing room only. Surely, that's enough though, right? If we exclude first responders who showed up after the second plane, we can do this...

9,479 invites
5,041 spectators

In the first day the memorial tickets were for sale online, over 24,000 people tried to buy them. 

We could easily fit everyone there, if we stack them on top of each other, like a giant Jenga puzzle. 

Otherwise, maybe we should have more than one ceremony. And as I understand it, that's the plan. 

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