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Moving Memories

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approached, I realized that my three children (now grown) had never seen “Moving Memories,” the Arizona 9/11 memorial located at Wesley Bolin Plaza across from the Arizona State Capitol.

So I headed out one morning with my son Christopher to explore the 9/11 memorial — as well as other memorials located at the plaza. “Moving Memories,” the subject of controversy both during its development and after its installation, is the site of an interfaith memorial taking place Sun, Sept 11 (11:30am-12:30pm). Members of the public are welcome. www.azifm.org.

I’ve explored many a memorial while following coverage of 9/11-related events — and find some to be utterly lacking in imagination. That’s not the case with “Moving Memories.” The structure, designed by Jones Studio in Phoenix, captures light, creates shadows and shares words that reflect the diversity of an ever-evolving democracy.

The words stenciled into “Moving Memories” present a jarring juxtaposition of everyday life and larger than life events — which is exactly how life presented itself on 9/11. I was particularly struck by words reflecting personal experiences. Making T-shirts to raise memorial funds. Writing songs to honor a brother. Some are captured in the images below.

“Moving Memories” sits on a lawn opposite a circle of other Arizona memorials…

The memorial includes this section of a building from the World Trade Center…

This metal arc is stenciled with words so light passes through to the concrete below…

Sunlit words are projected on to the concrete circle at the memorial’s base…

Children intrigued by these stencils can create the same effect at home…

Examples of both readily accepted and controversial wording on the memorial…

Some wording reflects the ways everyday Americans responded to 9/11…

The most important words in this memorial may be those pictured below…

If you’re heading to outdoor memorial events today, remember to take along plenty of water and sunscreen — and to be especially kind on a day when many may be hurting.

— Lynn

Note: While you’re at Wesley Bolin Plaza, make time to explore other memorials you’ll find there — to peace officers, veterans, victims of genocide, canines who work with law enforcement, workers who’ve died on the job and many others. Visit the calendar section of www.raisingarizonakids.com to learn about additional 9/11 memorial events in the Valley. To learn more about controversial 9/11 art visit www.artinfo.com/news/story/38569/7-controversies-that-shaped-the-debate-about-911-art/?page=2. To explore additional images of “Moving Memories” visit www.jonesstudioinc.com/26/index.htm.

Coming up: Spotlight on “CATS,” A trio of tea parties, Honk if you love Hans!, From acting to anatomy, The making of “Munched”

Update: Ground Zero photos taken during the past ten years are now posted at www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/09/ground_zero_september_11_2001.html


A trio of tributes

Detail of artwork by theater students at Arizona School for the Arts

Detail of artwork by theater students at Arizona School for the Arts

In Tempe Beach Park, a flag is flying for each person who perished in the attacks of September 11, 2001. So too in Battery Park, New York — where stripes on the flags have been replaced by the names of those killed, and people gathered Saturday morning to form a human chain of solidarity and remembrance.

Candlelight vigils in Scottsdale and countless cities throughout the world are honoring those lost, as well as those who remain. A beam from the World Trade Center is being installed at a Gilbert memorial, and a sculpture crafted of three sections of WTC buildings has been unveiled in London’s Battersea Park — a tribute to the 67 Britons lost that day.

Detail of Tiles for America exhibit in New York City

But it’s a trio of tributes, our country’s permanent memorials to 9/11, that most will visit in coming days, decades and beyond. One in Pennsylvania. One in New York. One in Washington, D.C.

I was particularly moved while watching a live C-SPAN broadcast of the dedication ceremony Saturday morning for the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania, where the heroism of everyday Americans was honored by dignitaries, artists, family members and others.

Poet Robert Pinsky read two works — “Souvenir of the Ancient World” by Carlos Drummond de Andrade and “Incantation” by Czeslaw Milosz. The second was interrupted at our house by a call from the National Republican Party. The timing made my stomach turn.

Art from one of two Tiles for America exhibits in NYC

I heard an interview with George Packer, who has a piece titled “Coming Apart” in the Sept 12, 2011 issue of New Yorker magazine, on NPR today. He noted that two things he’d hoped might change about America in the aftermath of 9/11 are much the same. Our partisan politics and the growing gap between America’s rich and poor.

I hope our national 9/11 memorials will help to change that. Reminding us of what we have in common. Reminding us that every person matters. Reminding us to volunteer in service to others. Reminding us to be grateful.

During the “New York Says Thank You” documentary broadcast on local FOX affiliates Saturday evening, several people involved with the “I Will” campaign shared ways they’ll be honoring those directly affected by 9/11.

More street art from Tiles for America

Actor Mariska Hargitay plans to volunteer at her local domestic violence shelter. A teen girl says she’ll “clean up my room.” A middle-aged man plans to plant a tree at the Flight 93 National Memorial. And a woman about my age says simply, “I will forgive.”

The Friends of Flight 93 and the National Parks Service (which operates the Flight 93 National Memorial) are partnering with the Fred M. Rogers Center at Saint Vincent’s College in Pennsylvania for an October event titled “9/11 Forum: Impact on Young Children.” And folks far and wide have started discussions about incorporating 9/11 into school curriculum materials.

My “I Will” is following the developments of the trio of tributes best known to Americans and sharing them with our readers, not just on 9/11 but throughout the year. But also the everyday stories of children, families, teachers, artists and others working to make September 12 and every day that follows a day of healing, humility and hope.

— Lynn

Note: Learn more about the Flight 93 National Memorial at www.npca.org and www.honorflight93.org, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial at www.pentagonmemorial.org and the 9/11 Memorial in NYC at www.911memorial.org. All three appreciate gifts of time and money as they move forward honoring those affected by 9/11. Learn about “I Will” at www.911day.org.  Watch eight artists “talk about how that day and its aftermath have informed their work and lives” at www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/09/02/us/sept-11-reckoning/artists.html?ref=arts.

Coming up: A photo tour of memorials at Phoenix’s Wesley Bolin Plaza