September 11 Memorial

I visited the memorial at Ground Zero two weeks ago.IMG_1074

We are used to memorials that praise the sacrifice, the nobility, and the achievement of those who gave their lives. Think about the memorial to WWII, Roosevelt (fairly recent), Martin Luther King Jr.(also recent), Lincoln, or any of the thousands of men on horses that proliferate in our towns and cities.  Most are figurative and almost all stress courage and success. When Maya Lin created the VietNam memorial, a simple granite slash in the ground inscribed with the names of the dead, the hullaballoo went on and on but the memorial works; it is emotionally moving and changed the direction… somewhat.

Back to Ground Zero. Here are several of my photos but they don’t do it justice. The memorial recognizes the 2983 men, women, and children (from 90 nations) who died in the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. More than 400 were first responders. There is a north pool and south pool in thew footprints of the original 2 towers. The pools are 30 ft waterfalls, cascading into the pool where the water rushes into a center void. The names of the dead are inscribed in the bronze parapets around the pools.
To call these pools is a misnomer. Pools are those idyllic bodies of water where we played as children, splashing and laughing. These are chasms ripped into the ground where everything is lost in the water rushing toward the hole in the center of the earth. Swallowed up. It was horrifying. It was all about destruction; nothing about survival, nothing about bravery, just devastation. I woke up at 3 in the morning thinking about it. I cannot remember ever seeing a memorial like it.  It is a statement about total loss.

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