I have the impression that many people who don't have a problem with the erection of a mosque at Ground Zero live at a distance from New York City and therefore don't have an accurate mental picture of what it's like for thousands and thousands of grieving family members and friends of those murdered at the World Trade Center on 9/11/01 to be unable to lay their loved ones to rest--for the simple reason that the massive explosions and building collapses did not leave many bodies left to bury.

To people who think that 600 feet from the Ground Zero "hole" is plenty far enough away for a mosque, I think that it cannot be too strongly emphasized that Ground Zero--and the area around it--is literally the graveyard of the 9/11 dead, where, as many understandably believe, "their souls are going to be . . . forever."

Think of that.

Think of that not in the abstract, but in a real physical and emotional sense. Imagine losing a loved one and having no idea where their blown-to-bits body has landed. Imagine wondering to what indignities that loved body, once filled with sacred life, is being subjected. Imagine erecting a little plaque or shrine somewhere in your world, your backyard, perhaps, so that dearly loved person gets at least the dignity of a memorial spot.

In many ways, New Yorkers have valiantly tried to create some kind of closure to 9/11. On May 30 of 2002, eight-and-a-half months after the attack on the World Trade Center, "one last stretcher" carrying, not a flag-draped body, but a folded American flag, was slowly carried from the World Trade Center site to a waiting ambulance by ten people, symbolically marking the official end of the recovery effort.

Of the 2,823 dead, the remains of more than 1,100 victims of the World Trade Center attack had not been recovered or had not been identified.