A few weeks ago I was in Brooklyn, NY. We regularly walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and back to get some good exercise. This day my husband, Jack, and I kept going when we got to the other side. Our destination was Ground Zero and the 9/11 Memorial. The Memorial Gardens are open to the public and the 9/11 Museum opened a couple of week sago. For several years after the 9/11 attacks we watched periodically from a nearby hotel window as heavy equipment moved earth and debris from the site where the twin towers of the World Trade Center stood. We read of the competition among architects to be awarded the commission to commemorate this tragedy and tell the story of that day.
On this visit, we decided to just visit the gardens and fountains. We'll come back to the museum at a later date. It was a beautiful day, just like 9/11/2001. The garden was full of people but there was a quietness in the area.
The two pools, which represent the Twin Towers, are filled by water rushing down each of the 4 sides and then emptying again into a smaller pool using the same waterfall concept. Everything is crashing straight down. This is a very powerful concept. It recalls the sight of the towers dropping to the ground within seconds, it seemed, just like we all watched on our televisions over and over in those September days.
I grieved like our whole country grieved. I grieved for the lost lives profiled in our newspaper everyday for months and the left-behind families and friends. I grieved for our country that had been violated. But we did not suffer a personal loss. We had our close-enough call on 9/11. Our daughter was living in New York and working in Soho, blocks from the World Trade Center. We were one of the lucky ones to receive her call before we knew about the situation.
In most ways, we moved on.
At the memorial fountains, names of those who died in the attacks have been laser-cut into the metal surrounding the fountain. I chose a name from the few thousand and made a rubbing in my sketch book. Amelia V Fields. I don't know who Amelia V Field was or what she looked like. But she is the name and person I chose. She will represent for me everyone who is remembered and memorialized at the 9/11 fountain. Some days she is a young woman tackling her first job. Some days Amelia V Fields is a kitchen worker in the Windows on the World Restaurant whose legs hurt after a long day of standing. Amelia V Fields will be my touchstone to the greatest national tragedy I have ever lived through. Amelia V Fields will make this sacred park and fountains come alive in meaningfulness for me.
Art and creativity have many jobs. They enable us to speak and be spoken to through symbols or impressions.. Through the artistry of this beautifully conceived architectural space of commemoration, the creators tell the story of our loss and our grief.
Isn't it human nature to want to be remembered after we are gone? I am sorry you lost your life this way, Amelia V Fields. I will always remember you.