Friday, September 10, 2010
One of the first stories I covered when I returned to Vegas in August 2002 to freelance from here was a firefighters union convention at which the New York-New York resort announced with great fanfare they would be carving out a plaza in front of Vegas' Statue of Liberty for a Sept. 11 memorial.
They did so, creating 21 lit glass boxes that were to hold items that were left at the base of the Statue of Liberty in the weeks and months after the 9/11 attacks. They included T-shirts and gear from fire and police departments around the world as well as cards and signs, a steady stream of which reflected the worldwide outpouring and the desperate need people had to find some symbolic way to pay tribute.
New York-New York did it, yes, and they've been so demur about it that they don't even squawk about it on their website for fear of seeming to be trying to take advantage of the suffering of that day. It was, I believe, the first permanent 9/11 Memorial in the nation.
Yet on Wednesday night, I noticed nearly half of those lit displays are presently empty. This is strange because there were thousands of objects saved and archived at UNLV, where they sit in boxes waiting to be rotated into the display. Many of the items that are still in the memorial exhibit have become so faded that you can't read them anyway and probably should be replaced.
The responsibility for the upkeep belongs to the maintenance department at New York-New York, owned by MGM Resorts International. I didn't have a chance today to inquire as to why the memorial has been left in such disarray, but I did want to put this out there now because the ninth anniversary of the attacks is upon us. One would think that whatever the cause of the problems over there, someone would think that for that particular occasion, the memorial ought to be in tip-top shape. Right?