A few days ago, we walked down to the National 9/11 Memorial. With the 11th anniversary approaching, we wanted to see ground zero for ourselves and pay our respects. While the memorial is still very much under construction, the two beautiful memorial pools where the towers once stood are hauntingly beautiful, especially in the rain.
I must have read hundreds of names inscribed in the bronze parapets that lines the memorial pools, quickly realizing my eyes couldn’t read them all in one visit. There are nearly 3,000.
One of the things that moved me most was the way in which the names were displayed. Not alphabetical. They’re displayed in groups. Here’s the explanation from the official memorial website:
Within these groups, names are arranged by affiliation, so that the employees of a company or the crew of a flight are together. The next-of-kin of the victims and surviving colleagues made additional requests for specific names to be inscribed next to one another.Some requests were between relatives and friends; others were between people who had just met, but who responded together as events unfolded.This design allows the names of family, friends, and colleagues to be together, as they lived and died. The requested adjacencies reflected on the Memorial make it unique from any other in existence.
We spent much of the morning watching the local coverage of the anniversary, and listening to the victims’ families as they read the names of those killed on 9/11. I appreciate the choice the organizers made – to have only family members speak today. And tonight as I write this, I’m looking up at a red, white and blue Empire State Building…
We will never forget.