This past Saturday, September 11, I walked out of my building into the 75-degree, clear-skied weather, only to feel chills, remembering how that day felt nine years ago. As I made my way down to Ground Zero with a friend, the streets became more crowded with police officers, tourists, aggressive religious protestors, and angry conspiracy theorists. We approached the construction fences, looking in every direction for something worthwhile to appear—a small tribute, like a picture or a flower, perhaps—but the only tangible items that seemed to memorialize the victims were the American flag, waving on top of a building in the distance, and the images of plans for a future memorial that lined the fenced-in wasteland in front of us.
I suppose it has almost been 10 years since the tragedy, but I couldn’t help being disappointed in other people’s insensitivity. Rather than arguing about implanted bombs, shouldn’t this approaching milestone be more of an incentive to remember and honor the lives that were lost? Fortunately, I was relieved when I came across the efforts of the Dispersed Memorial project, which has plans to launch a widespread and dynamic memorial for the victims of 9-11. The project is hosted by fieldoffice, and will be assembled online through the thousands of contributions from victims’ loved ones and residents or visitors of New York City.
The project will acknowledge the lives lost during the tragedy, as well as reconstruct as many views of the city’s lost skyline. Thousands of volunteers will populate the city with glass plates, inscribed with written dedications to victims and outlines of the missing skyline. Each will be placed in a spot where the Twin Towers used to be seen. Every night, the glass plates will light up one by one in a constellation-like choreography, illuminating the city with pictures, inscriptions, stories, poems, and biographies about the victims.
In addition to the individual memorials, there will be a centralized memorial that will list where each plate is located. The description of the project states, “With these two conversing memorials, physical and virtual the twining of the towers is re-instituted as one memorial – dispersed and centralized, individual and collective, ephemeral yet permanent, lost yet ever more present.”
I applaud the Dispersed Memorial project for their efforts to comfort the city with memories of the former skyline and giving the victims and their loved ones a dedication they deserve. Hopefully the illuminated creations will usher the city back into its enlightened state, in which remembering the victims is no longer just an excuse to preach about loosely related subjects.
If you would like to learn more about the Dispersed Memorial or get involved, go to www.dispersed-memorial.net.