Friday, June 22, 2012

A Visit to the 9/11 Memorial - May 2012

9/11 Memorial
May 2012
From a Charlie Rose Interview dated Septemeber 13, 2011, Michael Arad, Architect for the 9/11 Memorial, shares his concept behind the design of the memorial:

This is a kind of place that is equivalent of a moment of silence.  Open to you to bring what you want to bring into it.  It is very much about creating a place that allows that to happen.  That brings you into a space that is conducive to contemplation.  To sort of setting aside of all these concerns.  Setting aside the sights and sounds of the City.  Not completely removing yourselves from them.  But the sound of the water and the canopy of trees overhead and this space in front of you should put a filter between you and the concerns of the every day.  And allow you to think.  To think what has happened over the last ten years.  To bring the past into the present.
Arad also describes how the concept "came to him in a dream" where he saw two crisp voids in the Hudson River with water flowing down the walls of them.

During a visit to the memorial in May 2012 I saw many knit-brows, looks of contemplation and thought on many of the faces visiting or working there.  On faces of people placing flowers on the names of loved ones.  On faces of young Navy servicemen.  On faces on the Security.  On many faces.  And I was curious what they were (or appeared to be) thinking.  Was it the site?  The terrorist attack?  The thousands of wasted lives?  The wars we are fighting?  The destruction?  Or was it just the every day?  My coffee is cold?  How am I going to pay for my mortgage this month?  Who knows.

And as I walked through the space I felt open to bring what I wanted to bring.  And I thought what could people take out of it? The new towers rise heroically over these quiet, black voids.  Voids now exist where there were towers.  There is absence as Arad says.  There is a reckoning with agony and pain.  There is a possibility that things can be made better in the world.  There is a feeling that the people who died here did not die in vane.  "I know a place / I'll take you there!" 

There is hope.

But people need to bring what they want to bring.  And when people visit this place, bringing what they bring, what they take out could be something else.

Peace to those lost and to those who mourn them.