and you thought i was done?
Not by a longshot. I was just taking a break.
A 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....
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.