Memorials

It was the falling that hit me first: the reflection of buildings in the smooth water along the parapet then their dissolving into water that  plummets first to one level then, through the center, to unseen depths.  Then came the particularity: the parade of names carved into the black stone and, just as powerful, the splitting of the water into individual streams. 

Have you ever seen Maya Lin’s memorial to the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery, Alabama?  A smooth sheet of water streams across a table of granite and down its sides, continuous and unstoppable.  Through it you read the names of people and the dates of events while the water steadily flows.  There, the memorial is to the movement.  Here at the 9/11 Memorial, with its individual threads of water, the memorial is to the people who lost their lives — first responders, people in the trade center, the Pentagon, Flight 77…

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