What was the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey thinking?
Following a firestorm of protest, the Port Authority has agreed to relocate the "Candy Nations" art installation, which features the flags of the G20 nations as a series of colorful candy sculptures, from the site of the World Trade Center.
At issue: the nine-foot sculpture of the flag of Saudi Arabia, the nation that provided 15 of the 19 hijackers that crashed their planes into the WTC towers nearly 18 years ago and killed 2,977 people.
The travesty of displaying the Saudi flag at the WTC is akin to raising the Japanese flag over the Pearl Harbor memorial.
The apparently clueless Port Authority should have known better. It lost 37 police officers in the 9/11 attacks, including its chief James Romito, and superintendent Ferdinand Morrone.
A coalition of family members of the 9/11 victims spoke for all New Yorkers in its statement: "The sculpture's presence at this site, depicting the KSA [Kingdom of Saudi of Arabia] flag, is an outrageous affront to the 9/11 community and all other Americans who seek justice for the attacks on our nation of September 11, 2001."
The Port Authority will now relocate (e.g., banish) Candy Nations to JFK Airport's AirTrain systems miles away in Queens.
The original plan was to blanket the 16-acre WTC complex with the flags. The sites include the Oculus, the PATH Fare Zone, 2WTC Transit Lobby, 4WTC Transit Lobby, Oculus Plaza, West Plaza (outside of the One World Observatory), Liberty Park, and the Millennium Hilton New York Downtown. They were to remain in place until Feb. 4.
French sculptor Laurence Jenkell, who created Candy Nations, said she thought about removing the Saudi flag from the WTC exhibit, but decided against it because the country is part of the G20. She could have saved the Port Authority a lot of grief.
The Port Authority says it's moving the flags because it "respects the unique sensitivities of the site."
Unique sensitivities? Spare me.
There is nothing unique about the desire to ban an entity responsible for the second bloodiest day on American soil, after the Battle of Antietam, from a mass gravesite of its victims.