Powerful searchlights shine directly upward from the location of the former World Trade Center.

Only visible at night when it is needed the most, this memorial serves as a beacon of hope and a reminder of the light of a higher goodness.

NYC already has a beacon for liberty ... now we need a beacon of hope. Hope not just for the rescue of any who may still be alive, but hope as the symbol America represents to millions around the world. For every immigrant who came to America for freedom, many more came for the hope America offered for a better life. The better life that freedom makes possible. Now the whole world hopes that America will do the right thing.

With talk of "swift retaliation" for this criminal attack comes the realization that that may not be possible or wise. Retaliating will take time. It will be unpredictable and, I predict, unsatisfying on many levels.

With talk of "rebuilding" comes the realization of the billions of dollars rebuilding will cost ... and the long time it will take. And the fact that working in an office built on hallowed ground is somehow not right.

Yet, we need a swift response, and we need to transform the physical and spiritual scar in lower Manhattan quickly into something positive.

The beacon I propose is a simple, powerful, evocative symbol of resilience and hope that can be built in a matter of days and is very inexpensive.

Copyright 2001 by Paul H. Smith