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and you thought i was done?

Not by a longshot. I was just taking a break.

jesuswept1.jpgA tribute put up by a Catholic church across the street from the memorial [with a] stone wall contains empty recesses, one for each life lost in the bombing. Facing that wall, and turned away from the Murrah building, is a large, white statue of Jesus. His head is in his hands, and a tear marks his cheek. The inscription on the base of the statue says only: 'And Jesus Wept'.

This picture was taken by Robyn when she and her husband Todd went back to their home state of Oklahoma for a visit.

[Update: Cato has just posted photos of the OKC memorial and the Jesus statue. I didn't realize it is so big. And it's even more powerful from that angle]

If they put up this statue and nothing else on the site where the World Trade Center used to stand, it would evoke more emotion than every square inch of the proposed memorial would. It needs no words besides the two that are there. Jesus Wept. It needs no flowers, no reflecting pools or concrete walls surrounding it. If your heart does not feel like it's breaking upon looking at the face of this statue, you are not human. This is what a memorial should be. Simple. Poignant. Powerful.

You don't have to be religious or even Catholic to understand the complex emotions and meaning of this one piece of stone. This atheist is weeping along with Jesus right now.

But that's just me. I embrace my sorrow. It motivates me. It moves me. Back on August 29th, I wrote about a book of collected comics dealing with 9/11. I posted a part from my favorite strip of the whole book.

How can you draw your ‘funny books’ with all this carnage and sadness and pain and ruin?! the face shouts at him. To which Jon responds: Why ever bother picking up a pencil again? And then:


Because stories give us hope.

Expressing our thoughts and feelings is what gives us our humanity. Through stories we can share our grief, our outrage, our horror, but also our dreams, our memories, our hopes for the future.

That’s what they can’t take away and that’s what they don’t understand. We are all more alike than we are different. We are connected by stories.

[Images of Jon turning off the tv and sitting down at his drawing table and these words above his head]:

---- All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story....

—Isak Dinesen

The strip is by Jon "Bean" Hastings and he's given me permission to post it on the Voices site, which I will do this week when I redesign the site. I read that passage at least once a week, whenever I have the urge to write about 9/11 again and I ask myself why, why do I torture myself like this? Why do I insist on bringing it up again and again, slamming the words down on paper, crying over the keyboard, cursing at the world?

Because my sorrow is my story of that day. And as long as it's there I will write about it. I have to.

I look at that statue again and I imagine that part of me, part of so many of us, will always look like that. That's my memorial to the victims of 9/11. I will always weep for them and always write about them. I don't need a sterile, hollow walkway to memorialize that day or the people who died. I just need a pen and paper and some tears.

I think I'm done for the time being.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference and you thought i was done?:

» Because stories give us hope. from It Can't Rain All The Time...
Stephen Green (who has a new site design which is nice, but the old pic was better) has a beef with the design of the Sept 11 memorial. That’s nothing compared to how A Small Victory feels (scroll down for... [Read More]

» Memorials from Arguing with signposts...
Michele is disappointed with the design selected for the WTC memorial, and she posted a message about a statue at the Oklahoma City memorial. I just happen to have a photo of that statue that I promised to share. The... [Read More]

» http://www.allahpundit.com/archives/000190.html from Allah Is In The House
The creator of worlds is spent after yesterday's climactic Dean-o Photoshop and shall require a little "recovery time" before he feels in the mood again. Allah's male readers know where he is coming from. In the meantime, go forth, Satans,... [Read More]

» http://www.allahpundit.com/archives/000190.html from Allah Is In The House
The creator of worlds is spent after yesterday's climactic Dean-o Photoshop and shall require a little "recovery time" before he feels in the mood again. Allah's male readers know where he is coming from. In the meantime, go forth, Satans,... [Read More]


very quietly nodding in agreement

Once again, one of the main reasons I love to read your blog.
I embrace my sorrow and my anger, sometimes to the point of major infuriation of my wife, but I believe in my feelings.
I agree, the memorial should be about remembrance, of sorrow, of loss, and Rightous Indignation.
Simple anger is not enough, simply remembering "Something bad happenend here" is not enough, honestly I do not know if anything will ever be "enough".

To me, I wonder if any of this cultural clutter is intended so much as a memorial as a means of concretizing (or in the apparent final choice, "plasticising" a grudge.

I've been asking aloud since 9/11 why I should be moved to irrationality and emotional turmoil over this.

I still have no answer, and this does not help.

I would love to see a memorial like the weeping Jesus statue at Ground Zero but you know what would happen to a proposal like that in NYC. It'd be dead in its tracks.

The Pools of Reflection or whatever they voted on looks like the design of a Hotel in Miami, it's really a shame.

I love your idea, Michele. It could always be non-secular like one I saw on the grave of a young child in France....exact same statue but it was a woman.

I've read that the Koran says that Allah counts a woman's tears. If that's true (and I don't know if it is) some people are going to have some 'splaining to do.

Just posted a picture of the statue, with the west gate of the memorial in the background.

I remember when the OKC Memorial's design was first published. I thought it would be awful. I'm glad I was wrong about it. I hope I'm wrong about the proposed WTC Memorial, too.

The OKC Memorial looks best at night, because of the way the lighting was incorporated into the design. The same may be true of the WTC design.

Riyadh delenda est!

I don't think any memorial could ever be right. Except the memorial in our hearts and minds. There's no artist anywhere who could depict that memorial.

That statue seen from Cato's site is so much more than any of the WTC fountains and walls and halls and trees will ever be. There is a drop of emotion in that "winning" design. They screwed this up royally.

Tomorrow, I'll post a photo I took of that statue the weekend before the official opening of the OKC memorial. The statue isn't really that tall. It's about life-size, but it's about a 3-foot-tall pedestal. And the one I have makes it seem even larger.

The rest, I'll leave as a surprise.

The weeping Jesus would be fine with me, but really, the memorial should have been chosen by the people who lost loved ones, friends and co-workers on that day. I guess that would have been hard to arrange, but it just seems that the decision should have been left solely up to them.

I like Faith’s idea of rebuilding the Towers as they were, too, but we should wait until we can rebuild them in downtown Riyadh. When the desert light hits them at dusk, they'll have a beautiful golden glow.

Some co-workers and I went to OK City for a coneference a few years ago, the spring just before 911 in fact.

We swung by the memorial site the day we left. The first thing that grips you are the simple things left outside - flowers, pictures, teddy bears and dolls.

The statue reminds you to prepare before you go in. Where are you going that He turned away?

Once inside we were humbled. It's a silent and calm place. The sheer number of chairs at a bit of a distance sort of numbs you, but the stunning blow comes as you walk along and see the first little chair up close.

Four old career military guys left that place and couldn't speak for quite a while.

It's the most powerful place I've ever been.

Oh goodness.

I've got news for everybody here. God is responsible for the OKC and WTC bombings. He isn't just present when we rebuild, He's there when we destroy.

This should be a statue of Jesus smiling. Because His work has been done here. His work was done on 9/10, 9/11, and 9/12. That's the life of an omnipotent creator of the universe, I guess.

nonpundit - Jerry Fallwell, is that you?

No? Well, it must be some similar breed of cave troll.

The entire WTC rebuilding project has been nothing but an excercise in architectural fantasies. There's nothing human about any of it, not merely the memorial. It's ugly and sterile designs wrapped around high minded PR spin.

Has anyone read or heard about what is to be done for the memorial to the 4 or 5 victims of the first terrorist attack on the WTC 10 years ago. It was on and plazza between the 2 towers and was destroyed.

Will the rebuild it? include the names in the new memorial? Seems that soemthing must be done.

Here's the photo I promised of the OKC site.


Gorgeous image Bryan -- that's better than the TIME photo essay!

Thank you. I loved the image. I go downtown once a week and always try to swing by the Memorial. The tree is also inspiring. I am glad the vandals didn't get this one like they damaged the one on the other side. When it is lit up, you cannot help but be moved.