Tag Archives: Kennedy

Visiting the national 9/11 memorial

One of several 9/11 memorial images visitors see as they walk the long path to the entrance

My daughter Lizabeth, a college freshman studying acting at Pace University, called home shortly after she’d visited the newly-opened 9/11 memorial with a group of fellow students. It was clear she’d been teary-eyed – genuinely moved by the enormous losses of that day.

It’s hard to grasp all that is “Ground Zero” until you see it with your own eyes, and those of us who didn’t lose a loved one will never truly understand the depth of grief wrought by the terrorist attacks of that day. But we can honor those lost with a simple act – remembering.

Knowing that I’ve long followed events surrounding development of the 9/11 memorial and museum, Lizabeth took her camera along so she could snap a few photos. She quickly decided, however, that taking pictures felt wrong somehow. This is a place where thousands of Americans died. It’s not, she told me, a tourist attraction.

Parents feel especially proud during such moments. I listened intently as Lizabeth described the experience of walking through the memorial grounds. Every turn brings more and more names of people who died that day. And powerful waves of emotion.

View across a 9/11 memorial reflecting pool on Sept. 12, 2011

I thought of Lizabeth as my husband James drove me to the airport last Wednesday morning. As soon as passes to the memorial became available, he thoughtfully reserved a pair so I could experience the site with Lizabeth during my trip to NYC. “Do you think it’s tacky to take photos,” I asked. “No,” he said, “I’m sure lots of people take pictures of the memorial.”

“That doesn’t answer my question,” I replied. For once I felt like the lawyer in the family. “Thousands of people died there,” I said. “It’s really a grave site.” He reminded me that people photograph cemeteries all the time. I’m guilty of that myself, of course – but that didn’t make me feel any better about it.

I recalled trips to Washington, D.C. and the many photos I’ve taken at Arlington Memorial Ceremony. Like most people, I photograph the things that have special meaning or the things I most want to remember. For me it’s the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the eternal flame marking John F. Kennedy’s grave.

Though I planned to visit the 9/11 memorial with Lizabeth last Friday, I ended up going alone on Thursday night after walking by a memorial gift shop near the site where someone had extra passes for admission that evening. I knew Lizabeth wouldn’t mind me going alone, and I was eager to experience the memorial under a starry sky.

View across a 9/11 memorial reflecting pool towards the 9/11 museum

Somehow the darkness amplifies all that steel and water, with all the trees and all those names — backlit after nightfall. Two names, in particular, stand out — belonging to two women listed with the words “and unborn child.” A pair of tridents from the “twin towers” inside the 9/11 museum are beautifully lit and visible through the transparent walls of the museum, which will open once completed.

I stayed at a hotel adjacent to the World Trade Center construction site — where I started and ended each day with time spent watching the work in progress that holds such significance for our nation. Giant cranes moving back and forth. Workers in orange and yellow vests dotting the sight both day and night.

A steady stream of patriotic pilgrims head to the site and surrounding areas each day — negotiating crowded streets with everyday New Yorkers bustling between home, office and other haunts. For all the deaths wrought that terrible day ten Septembers ago, this is a place full of life and focused on the future.

— Lynn

Note: Several Arizona cities, including Gilbert and Phoenix, have their own 9/11 memorials. Click here to see images from the National 9/11 Memorial webcam, and here to learn more about the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

Coming up: Exploring memorials at Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix


Art books seek good homes

Plenty of new books made their way into our home last year — most related to art, history or philosophy.

My favorite titles included When Art Worked: The New Deal, Art, and Democracy (Roger Kennedy), Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet (Jennifer Homans), and Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes (Stephen Sondheim).

Also The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution (Denis Dutton) and Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1 (Mark Twain). Leaving Art: Writings on Performance, Politics, and Publics (1974-2007) (Suzanne Lacy) will likely be the next book I tackle.

Of course, I’ll have to make room on my bookshelves for these newer acquisitions, which has prompted me to start hauling out some old still-packed boxes labeled “books” in search of titles that might be better off in a new home — so more folks can enjoy them.

I figure that once our third and youngest child heads off to college in the fall, we really won’t need all those picture books and early readers. Of course, we’ll save the classics (like Pat the Bunny and Goodnight Moon) — and the favorites (like Rainbow Fish and I Love You Forever).

But the rest will be going to a good cause, or several of them. In case you’re feeling similarly inspired, I’m happy to share my list of places that need donations of gently-used books — though you should always call ahead to confirm specific needs, donation procedures and such.

The Volunteer Non-Profit Service Association (VNSA) will hold its 55th annual “VNSA Used Book Sale” Sat, Feb 12, and Sun, Feb 13 — at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix.

The sale includes rare and unusual books and foreign language titles, and many general titles will be half-off on Sunday. The event is free, though the fairgrounds do charge for parking.

Proceeds from the VNSA book sale “benefit Valley human service agencies.” To date, “more than $6,000,000” has been donated to local charities. This year’s beneficiaries include the “Arizona Friends of Foster Care Foundation” and “Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County.”

The VNSA website provides details on two options for those wishing to donate gently-used books — at-home pick up or drop box locations throughout the Valley.

The Heard Museum will present its “15th Annual Heard Museum Guild Library Book Sale” Sat, Jan 29, and Sun, Jan 30 — at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. The sale includes “30,000 books in every genre.”

The Heard Museum will also have other items for sale, including “American Indian and vintage jewelry, katsina dolls, prints, pottery and ceramic vessels.” Sounds like a great way to jump start your Valentine’s Day shopping.

Proceeds from the book sale benefit the “Billie Jane Baguley Library and Archives” of the Heard Museum, “one of the country’s most comprehensive research facilities about indigenous art and culture from around the world.” The event has raised more than $250,000 in its 14-year history.

Special features of the sale include a silent auction of “high-end items and rare-edition books,” a Sunday sale, a special children’s area featuring children’s books and other items, and early bird member shopping (on Friday).

The Heard Museum website offers details on each day’s schedule and activities — and how you can donate books to the cause. Although admission to the book sale is free, there is an admission charge for those who also wish to explore the museum’s exhibits.

The Friends of the Phoenix Public Library organization holds book sales throughout the year, which include special shopping opportunities for “Friends” members.  The next sale is Sat, Feb 12, and Sun, Feb, 13 (members can shop Fri, Feb 11).

All sales take place at the Friends of the Phoenix Public Library warehouse in Phoenix. Those wishing to donate gently-used books have two options — requesting pick-up of books or taking books to one of several drop box locations.

Visit the Phoenix Public Library website to learn more about donation procedures, or to request a donation of books to your local non-profit organization. The site also offers tips on hosting a book drive to benefit the Friends organization.

With week one of the “New Year” — and all those well meaning resolutions — nearly behind us, this is the perfect time to declutter your home while enriching the literary lives of others.

— Lynn

Note: You may also wish to check with local schools, day care centers, pediatric medical facilities and children’s charities about their book needs. If your organization accepts donations of gently-used books to benefit local non-profits, please comment below to briefly let our readers know.

Coming up: Cupid meets curator, Art of “Sacred Places,” Film tackles bullying

The art of remembering

I was thrilled when my16-year-old daughter traveled to Washington, D.C. recently for a school trip. Lizabeth recounted feeling particularly moved by John F. Kennedy’s eternal flame at Arlington National Cemetery.

Still, I was sad she’d missed seeing two of the D.C. destinations I find most meaningful…

One is the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial—a series of outdoor rooms featuring sculpture and social justice quotes galore, and even a stone replica of the Roosevelt’s little dog, a Scottish terrier named “Fala.”

The other is the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum—“a living memorial to the Holocaust” dedicated in 1993 that “inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, promote human dignity, and prevent genocide.”

Did you know that the U.S. Congress established both this museum and an annual commemoration of the Holocaust known as the “Days of Remembrance”—and that this year’s “Holocaust Remembrance Day” is Sunday, April 11?

Or that Arizona has its own Jewish History Museum?

The museum, located in Tucson, welcomes a touring exhibit titled “Rebirth After The Holocaust: The Bergen Belsen Displaced Persons Camp, 1945-1950” from April 9 to June 6.

The “Holocaust” spanned the period of time between January 30, 1933 (the night Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany) and May 5, 1945 (the day World War II ended in Europe).

So why an exhibit focusing on the five years that followed?

Because it shares the stories of those who “emerged from the destruction…to rebuild their lives” and serve as “sources of inspiration for all who are struggling with the aftermath of terrorism in our own time.”

My only Holocaust-related memories are from time spent at the sites of several former concentration camps—including Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bergen Belsen, Buchenwald and Dachau—during a year of study abroad.

Photo by Stephen Exley

Solemn flames. Soiled shoes. Sunken eyes. Shriveled skin. Rows of brick ovens. Gas chambers. Barbed wire. Bones. The haunting “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign atop a wrought-iron gate through which many only entered.

That’s what I remember.

While college-mates back in California were taking two semesters of Western Civilization, I was in Heidelberg taking two semesters of German Civilization, so I’ve spent more time studying German history than any culture other than my own.

Though in a way, it is my own.

I know from brief documents given to my parents when I was adopted that my biological mother immigrated to the United States from Germany as a child. I suspect this was during the great wave of immigration during the 1940s.

I don’t know nearly as much about the Holocaust as I would like to, so I called the Jewish History Museum Friday for direction after deciding to dig a bit into the role of art in commemorating “Holocaust Remembrance Day.”

Executive Director Eileen Warshaw answered the phone and graciously dropped what she was doing to talk with me about the history, the horror—and even the hope—of the Holocaust.

I’ll reveal a bit of our conversation during Sunday’s post, which I hope will give you deeper insight into the art of remembering.

I’ll also note several resources for parents who’d like to learn more about the Holocaust and age-appropriate ways to explore related topics with their children.

Finally, I’ll share details about how you and your family can participate in reading the names of those who died in the Holocaust during this year’s commemoration at the Jewish History Museum in Tucson.


Note: PBS presents a new “Masterpiece Classic” adaptation of “The Diary of Anne Frank” on Sunday, April 11. Read The New York Times review here.

A medley of arts quotes

Art is spirituality in drag (Jennifer Yane)

An artist is somebody who produces things that other people don’t need to have (Andy Warhol) ~ Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves (Thomas Merton)

Art, itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos (Stephen Sondheim) ~ Mournful and yet grand is the destiny of the artist (Franz Liszt) ~ Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do (Edgar Degas)

All art requires courage (Anne Tucker)

You don’t take a photograph, you make it (Ansel Adams) ~ Remember you are just an extra in everyone else’s play (Franklin D. Roosevelt) ~ Art is the proper task of life (Friedrich Nietzsche) ~ I don’t paint things. I only paint the difference between things (Henri Matisse)

The world is but a canvas to our imagination (Henry David Thoreau)

A man paints with his brains and not with his hands (Michelangelo) ~ So vast is art, so narrow human wit (Alexander Pope) ~ Art is making something out of nothing and selling it (Frank Zappa)

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong (Joseph Chilton Pearce) ~ What we play is life (Louis Armstrong) ~ Painting is just another way of keeping a diary (Pablo Picasso) ~ A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament (Oscar Wilde)

All great art comes from a sense of outrage (Glenn Close)

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance (Aristotle) ~ Ads are the cave art of the twentieth century (Marshall McLuhan) ~ Art is the great democrat, calling forth the creative genius from every sector of society, disregarding race or religion or wealth or color (John F. Kennedy)

Art is born of the observation and investigation of nature (Cicero)

All the arts we practice are apprenticeship. The big art is our life (M.C. Richards) ~ The artist does not see things as they are but as he is (Alfred Tonnelle) ~ Art hath an enemy called ignorance (Ben Johnson) ~ Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen (Leonardo da Vinci)

I think an artist’s responsibility is more complex than people realize (Jodie Foster)

The object of art is to give life a shape (William Shakespeare) ~ We have art in order not to die of the truth (Friedrich Nietzsche) ~ In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine (Ralph Waldo Emerson) ~ Great art picks up where nature left off (Marc Chagall)

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home (Twyla Tharp)

Man will begin to recover the moment he takes art as seriously as physics, chemistry or money (Ernest Levy) ~ Art is the struggle to understand (Audrey Foris) ~ Artists don’t make objects. Artists make mythologies (Anish Kapoor) ~ A picture is a poem without words (Horace)

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up (Pablo Picasso) ~ A painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through (Jackson Pollock) ~ Art is either plagiarism or revolution (Paul Gaugin) ~ We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth (John F. Kennedy)

The essence of all beautiful art, of all great art, is gratitude (Friedrich Nietzsche)


Coming soon: Is “Glee” a good thing?. Obscure but intriguing musicals, Children’s art ala computers, Before there was “American Idol” there was…