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September eleven remembrance - a brief commentary

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  • September eleven remembrance - a brief commentary

    Maybe I oughta wait about 2 and a half months or so... but Scrivener's current post reminds me of a point that may possibly, should be posed... Here is the quote just noticed that sparked the subject in my mind:

    "mel and Surfingfarmboy correctly identified this as the 9/11 memorial on the front lawn of Honolulu Hale at the corner of Punchbowl and King. Surfingfarmboy says he thinks it's one of the first permanent 9/11 memorials in the country, if not the first."

    I dunno;
    "One of the first."
    How can anyone tell?
    I would say a vast majority of the memorials we may hear about, (see below) popped up damn near the same time. How can we tell exactly when any of these were the first? Does it matter?! I submit to you, it matters only that we remember "the fallen" and only that.

    I would be perfectly content to assume they are all, about the same age.
    But most importantly, I believe a memorial for a tragedy of this magnitude and its memory should never be sullied by any hint of a competition of what was or is the biggest memorial. The first memorial. The grandest memorial. The most expensive memorial. The most appropriate memorial. The memorial containing the most shrapnel from ground zero.
    Some things such as this should never enter in the same level of conversation as "well, we had the first one. We got da biggest one!"
    This is not at all the spirit in which this should be referred or thought of.

    ...and herewith; some other memorials if yer at all interested...

    A sculpture at Los Angeles airport Theme Building, entitled "Recovering Equilibrium" has been dedicated to the heroes and dead of 9/11. It is shaped like a compass, and features words and phrases that reflect national perceptions, rights and ideals.

    Also in Los Angeles, a memorial at the city's Fire Department Training Center includes a 23-foot steel column from the lobby of the World Trade Center. The memorial is dedicated to the 343 New York City firefighters who died.

    In Malibu, California, a memorial garden at Pepperdine University is dedicated to Flight 93 passenger, Thomas E. Burnett Jr.

    A school in San Jose, California was named in honor of Captain Jason Dahl, one of the pilots on United Flight 93. Dahl grew up in San Jose.

    A baseball field in Newark, Delaware was dedicated and named after baseball fan Matthew Flocco, age 21, one of 125 people killed inside the Pentagon.

    In Fort Pierce, Florida, residents honored the heroes and dead of 9/11 with a life-size statue of CeeCee Lyles, a flight attendant on board United Airlines flight 93 which crashed in Pennsylvania.

    In Burlington, Massachusetts, residents dedicated a brick memorial to three men with ties to the Boston suburb who were aboard American Airlines Flight 11 when it struck the World Trade Center. A plaque on the memorial reads: "Always flying high. September 11, 2001. Never to be Forgotten."

    Massachusetts Port Authority plans to plant a grove of trees in Boston, one for each victim on the two hijacked planes that took off from Logan Airport.

    A thirty-three acre farmland memorial in Massachusetts honors John Ogonowski, captain of American Airlines Flight 11, a fourth-generation farmer.

    In Cranbury, New Jersey, the U. S. Postal Service named the local post office in honor of former resident Todd Beamer, the Flight 93 passenger whose phrase, "Let's roll," became a rallying cry against terrorism.

    On the Atlantic City, New Jersey boardwalk, a bench and flagpole were dedicated in remembrance of Victor Saracini, pilot of United Airlines Flight 175 which crashed into the World Trade Center.

    Brooklyn, New York's Quincy Street Garden unveiled a memorial monument to the 12 black New York City firefighters who died in the World Trade Center attacks. The monument features a hook-and-ladder emblem, a large laminated flag and a bronze plaque with the names of the firefighters.

    On Islip, Long Island, a 10-foot-tall, carved granite stone honors 85 people who died on 9/11, some Islip residents, others born there. On top of the stone are two protruding columns symbolizing the World Trade Center Towers.

    A small granite monument was placed at an Ohio air traffic control center that had the last contact with United Airlines Flight 93 before it crashed.

    Amtrak employees in the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia volunteered their time and creativity to design a 15 foot tall memorial to honor the victims and heroes of 9/11. The memorial is made up of photographs taken at Ground Zero as well as a dented rescue worker's hard hat and some twisted steel beams.

    Federal officials, political leaders and environmentalists are planting about 6,000 trees near the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, rural Pennsylvania and New York City to honor the lives lost and the heroes of 9/11.

    A quilt covered with drawings and messages written by more than 3,000 children, adults and civic groups around the country is now part of the permanent 9/11 memorial at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. The quilt was designed by Alexis Owen, a former freelance writer, who watched the planes hit the towers from her apartment in Brooklyn, NY. The quilt went on a nationwide tour.

    In Mt. Iron, Minnesota, the employees of U.S. Steel's Minnesota Ore operations dedicated a special memorial construct at the entrance to the plant in honor of 9/11 victims. It includes actual steel recovered from Ground Zero in New York City.

    Native Americans of the Lummi Nation gave to both Shanksville and New York City... 13-foot high totem poles, "healing poles," as an expression of their grief for those grief-striken from the attacks.

    A dialysis wing in his native Ethiopia was named for Dr. Yeneneh Betru, a pulmonary specialist practicing in Los Angeles. Dr. Betru was killed when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.

    In London, a permanent memorial garden for the UK victims of September 11 was dedicated by Princess Anne at Grosvenor Square Garden, near the American Embassy. An inscription on the stone centerpiece pays tribute to victims of all nationalities who died in the attacks, with the names of the 67 British people who died there featured in the garden. A twisted metal girder from the buildings is buried under the garden.
    Last edited by kimo55; June 18, 2005, 12:51 AM.

  • #2
    Re: September eleven remembrance - a brief commentary

    Originally posted by kimo55
    I believe a memorial for a tragedy of this magnitude and its memory should never be sullied by any hint of a competition of what was or is the biggest memorial.
    You're absolutely right, of course, and yet (American) people don't seem able to help themselves. On the one hand, there was the genuine, sincere need many of us had to express feelings we'd never before had to deal with, and I don't question anyone's attempt. On the other, nobody wants to short-change the dead by doing crappy work.

    Late on the afternoon of September 11, my principal asked me to write a bulletin announcement to be read the next day in all the homerooms--it was a Christian school (still is, but I'm not there anymore) and our official response as a school, at least initially, was going to be prayer. There was a reason my principal asked me, and not one of the math teachers, to write this, so I knew I had to do a good job. I spent forty minutes or so writing eight good sentences, determined not only to convey the relevant information, but to do it in a manner fitting the sobriety of the unprecendented occasion.

    In creating what I considered quality work, I opened up my heart and offered what I could. I'm not a singer or a painter or an architect, but I can put words together, and the act of writing the announcement, in addition to accomplishing the practical task, allowed me to explore my own feelings.

    I hadn't cried all day: not during the classes I taught, not during the scheduled parent-teacher conferences in the afternoon, not during lunchtime in the cafeteria, where we'd hooked up the large-screen television so we, like everyone else in the country, could get updates on the news. I cried when I was finished writing the announcement, though. A long time, there at my desk with nobody around.

    I write all this because if I'd dashed off the announcement, checking only to be sure that the commas were in the right places, I wouldn't have had that moment. I owed somebody that quality work.

    I don't for a moment suggest that any of the tributes was motivated by petty competition or pride, but I also don't doubt that there was some element of that in there. I create quality work because I take pride in my ability to communicate well, and pride isn't supposed to play a role in these humble moments.

    Some (third-tier) local musicians recorded a tribute song, ala "We are the World," and convinced all the local radio stations to play it at the same time, also ala "We are the World." I was listening to Lava Rock that morning, and the DJ explained what was going on and then played the song, and IT SUCKED! It was followed by a moment of what I imagine was brief flabbergastedness by the DJ, who then said, "Well. There it is."

    I thought, what a bunch of self-promoting losers. At the very least, they could have written something not crappy. I shouldn't have thought that, should I? I mean, I should have taken it in the spirit it was intended, but all I could think was, if they really intended it in the right spirit, they would have written something good or not written anything at all.

    There was even strange competition at Ground Zero. William Langewiesche, the Atlantic Monthly reporter who had complete access in the immediate aftermath (he was the only member of the media granted this access), in his amazing account, American Ground, writes that there was a fierce sense of competition between groups involved in the reclamation--as if the firefighters, police officers, and transit authority officers each strove to claim ownership of this tragedy, as if to say, "We've suffered far more than any of you."

    It's a sticky issue. I don't know if I'll ever make sense out of it.
    Last edited by scrivener; June 18, 2005, 02:36 AM.
    But I'm disturbed! I'm depressed! I'm inadequate! I GOT IT ALL! (George Costanza)


    • #3
      Re: September eleven remembrance - a brief commentary

      It's an odd quirk of human nature to, in the face of great tragedy, to both internalize it, and in some ways, to assert ones' greater understanding or empathy versus our fellow man (or woman). Who has the biggest flag, who has the most magnetic ribbons, who pledges allegiance the loudest (and who emphasizes the word "God" most obnoxiously).

      Don't forget the ugly Karen Zacharias episode. Stuck in Hawaii when the airlines were grounded on Sept. 11, she decided to pass the time by filing a story about how much less patriotic Hawaii seemed to be. Islanders rallied to defend their love of country, and the newspaper expressed regret. For a while, it seemed the mess was going to linger forever.

      Part of me wonders whether the relatively quick installation of that City Hall monument - which, in my humble opinion, was placed rather poorly - was fueled by the "prove your patriotism" movement that was swirling around then... and still does, to some extent.


      • #4
        Re: September eleven remembrance - a brief commentary

        Those of us who witnessed the catastrophe of Sept. 11 will forever have that date burned into our collective memories, just as those who were old enough to be in school on that November day that Pres. Kennedy was shot will. All of us will remember what we were doing at the time both incidents occurred.

        I was in my second period class when the announcement that the Pres. had been shot came over the school's PA system. I was at home, getting ready to go to work when I saw the second plane (on live TV) plow into the WTC. Most of you in Hawai'i were sound asleep when WTC occurred. All you have are the reruns of the tragedy.

        The memorials that have been erected everywhere are one way people have of remembering the dead. We do it in our own lives too: when a loved one dies, don't we have funerals, don't we usually bury our deceased and then erect headstones? The memorials serve the same function, except they are public manifestations of a nation's or community's grief.

        Those of us who were old enough to comprehend the tragedy of 9/11 will always remember, even without seeing any memorials; let the memorials stand as a reminder to those not yet born so that they never forget the frailty of humanity.

        Last edited by Miulang; June 18, 2005, 08:58 AM.
        "Americans believe in three freedoms. Freedom of speech; freedom of religion; and the freedom to deny the other two to folks they don`t like.” --Mark Twain


        • #5
          Re: September eleven remembrance - a brief commentary

          As I read all your comments, my own rememberence of 9/11 came back as if it was yesterday. Memorials will always be made to remember those taken...the memory in our hearts and minds will be forever as a NATION! Thank you.

          Auntie Lynn
          Last edited by 1stwahine; June 18, 2005, 10:05 AM.
          Be AKAMAI ~ KOKUA Hawai`i!
          Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.


          • #6
            Re: September eleven remembrance - a brief commentary

            I just want to say that seeing the patriotism in Hawaii is fantastic and in stark contrast from where I just came from, the wacky bay area, where flags are burned, protestors block traffic and create nuisance, recruit members through very subversive means, etc. it is their right here in the US though, and for all of us to question authority I guess. but not to loose support for our friends and family serving for us everywhere and in harm's way.
            this space for rent


            • #7
              Re: September eleven remembrance - a brief commentary

              Today, is September 11th. I take time out to remember what I was doing on that fateful day. I remember and pray for all the victims and their famlies...I pray for our NATION, that we will overcome the ugliness and hate that was brought to our shores. I pray, that the destruction of Katrina will be a wake-up call to those in power, that our own people, a number one priority....than a Nation that doesn't want our help. Yes, it is a time to reflect and not give pat's on backs, for the works has just begun.

              Lynn Vasquez
              mom three soldiers

              Are we safer today? No
              Last edited by 1stwahine; September 11, 2005, 02:43 PM.
              Be AKAMAI ~ KOKUA Hawai`i!
              Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.


              • #8
                Re: September eleven remembrance - a brief commentary

                It's been four years since 9/11/2001. So I think there's been enough time that it's appropriate to paraphrase the words of Ronald Reagan back in 1980, and ask:

                Are we safer today than we were four years ago?


                • #9
                  Re: September eleven remembrance - a brief commentary

                  God Bless America -- Never Forget September 11.
                  Image hosted on Flickr and
                  Last edited by mel; September 11, 2005, 02:58 PM.
                  I'm still here. Are you?


                  • #10
                    Re: September eleven remembrance - a brief commentary

                    Originally posted by scrivener
                    ... I cried when I was finished writing the announcement, though. A long time, there at my desk with nobody around.

                    Scivener? Would you care to share the text of your msg to the school?

                    I don't ever want to forget that day. My husband was working mornings at The Advertiser. He woke me right after the first plane hit, it was like 315 a.m. here in Honolulu. I got up and we were watching, but he left for work. I stayed up and continued to watch. I called him when the second one got hit. He was still on his way to work. Then, I called him when the first one collapsed. He hadn't seen it yet, he expressed disbelief. I had to tell him again.
                    My second child was almost three months old. I had been visited by a counselor from Kaiser who was concerned because of my depression. This event sent me into a post-partum depression tailspin. I was already struggling with feelings of self doubt and worthlessness and had spent weeks weeping. Then this happened. No one I knew personally suffered or was killed, but one thought kept repeating itself in my head:

                    Every one of those people had a mother. The empathy I felt for every mother of every person who died 9/11 snowballed. It was a monumental pain that I could not climb out of.

                    And yet, I had to be a good mom, to care for my girls, to be sure they were fed, changed, clean. Somehow I did it without antidepressants.

                    I know that for me this was an imagined feeling, but it was empathy. My heart continues to break for those of you who personally knew and lost treasured loved ones.

                    I don't ever want to forget it, I want to forever remember how it feels to be so sad. I think it makes me a better mom, helps me appreciate the wonder of our world and the people we encounter, and damn it, it's the feeling that will enable me to tear the limbs off of anyone who dares to hurt my family.
                    Aloha from Lavagal