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Journeys of the Questress - WTC
Footprints in the Dust
Home
The Way it Was - 1
The Way it Was - 2
Sept 19 - When Tomorrow Never Comes
Sept 27 - Oral Interpretation
Oct 5 - A Mile of Tears - Part 1
Oct 5 - A Mile of Tears - Part 2
Oct 5 - A Mile of Tears - Part 3
Oct 11 - Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
Oct 28 - Each Day I Search the Rubble
Nov 12 - When Spires Fall
Nov 19 - 911 The Rape of America
Dec 14 - Just A Thought
Dec 18 - A Sense of Place
Feb 2 - Final Pass to the End Zone
March 3 - Sitting on the Edge
March 14- Do You Still Remember
March 20 - Virtual Walk-Through
March 25 - When Will It End - Part 1
March 25 - When Will It End - Part 2
April 1 - Towers of Light
May 14 - View From Above
May 30 - Tunnel At the End of the Light
May 31 - Seventeen Hundred
Aug 9 - From the Margins Erased
Aug 30 - The Train Doesn't Stop There Anymore
Sept 9 - Ceremonies of Light and Dark
Sept 10 - Just An Anniversary
Sept 12 - September Holds Great Promise
Literary Reflections
Rebirth and Resurrection
The Winter Garden Springs To Life
The Winter Garden Springs To Life - con't
Underpass to the Past
Rebuilding Ground Zero
Under Hallowed Ground
Borders
Yahrzeit
What Will Fill the Void?
I Submit a Design
Footprints in the Dust
My Memorial Design Submission
My Memorial Design - Drawings
New Path Train Station
Path Station Tour
May We Never Forget
That Which Surives
War Without End
4th Anniversary
Footprints in the Dust
Void
I Miss 9/11
Time Comes Between Us
A Thousand Cranes
Fear Factor
Love Letters On The Wall
Empty Chairs
Sitting on the Edge of Forever
Walking the Perimeter of Emptiness
A Counting of Days
For Friends Absent But Not Forgotten
Stigmata
The Memory Keeper's Promise
Unbreak My Heart
Standing On The Edge Of Forever
Both Sides Now
A Memory In Time
The Gravity of Loss
The Survivors Rise Up
Flowers Will Bloom
The Fire Within Us
The Sentinel
Stronger Than The Storm
Between the Candle and the Stars
Ghosts
A Journey Through Remembrance
Canticle of Remembrance
Beyond the Crucible of Chaos
Journey Through Remembrance project
What See We Now
Forever In Our Hearts
Keeping the Flame Alive
The Rebuilding of Ground Zero continues
Does Anyone Care Anymore?
Where Is Our Story Teller of Pain
At Memory's Edge
Dust Thou Art and to Dust Thou Shalt Return
7x7x70
Heroes Never Die
The Flame Inside Our Hearts
The Year of the Heroes of 9/11

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FOOTPRINTS IN THE DUST 

Eight finalists for the WTC Memorial competition have been chosen. The largest and by far most controversial competition for a memorial continues to spawn controversies. Overall, very few people are happy with these eight designs. Numerous comments by reporters and on website forums deplore the sterility, and the lack of incorporation of actual elements from Ground Zero. - Paul Goldberger  in his story MEMORIES (The New Yorker online http://newyorker.com/talk/content/?031208ta_talk_goldberger) writes "One of the best ideas proposed after September 11th was to preserve the twisted and burned shards of steel from the fašade of the twin towers, but that seems to have been forgotten, as if these relics were too specific, or too painful. We have opted instead for designs that could be commemorating any sadness, not the particular horror of the World Trade Center disaster, and most of them have the bland earnestness of a well-designed public plaza."  Clay Risen's lengthy report Memorial Eight Embody Dogma After Maya Lin (New York Observer http://observer.com/pages/story.asp?ID=8246) is the most comprehensive dissection of what is wrong with all the finalists' designs and memorial design in general "What's more, the designs, lacking history, are merely emotional; and by refusing to make a single, historical comment about Sept. 11 in favor of providing a bunch of cheap, abstraction-inspired thrills, they merely extend the tragedy. They are little more than theme parks of emotion-in this corner, relive that oceanic sense of loss you felt that morning; over there, cry over the sheer number of the dead."
 
I have to admit that 2 of the designs I found "soothing" and adequate as "memorials." Suspending Memory by Joseph Karadin with Hsin-Yi Wu, create comforting spaces over the footprints and suspend them in space over a pool of water with a bridge connecting the two. And I liked the concept of the two fields of individualized glass steles amid a leafy arbor, with the tower like monuments for each individual. And yes, the most important aspect is to honor the individuals whose lives were lost. But without some sort of tie in to what happened on the physical site that day, without any reminders of how those 4.5 acres were transformed into a tangled mass grave, what kind of memory or emotions will these memorials evoke decades in the future? The images of Ground Zero after the Towers fell and through the ensuing months are just as vital to our remembering of the dead and missing as are their names and faces.
 
Yes, there will be a museum, elsewhere, where artifacts from Ground Zero will be displayed.  However, a memorial is where people come to experience the spiritual side of remembering. A place in time and space where they can reflect upon the events of the past, grieve, wrap themselves around something tangible that can take them back to that day. One does not do that in a museum setting!
 
Someone I know who lives and works near Ground Zero says he feels he carries a bit of it around inside of him because he inhaled the dust on that day. I have in a small container a spoonful of that dust, and consider it the most sacred remains of all that was left of the Towers. After all, there might be human DNA mixed into it! Then there are the iron beams that survived the fires. Twisted, mangled, these have appeared in memorial after memorial throughout our country. People go up and touch them, a physical way of being close to what now exists only in memory. St. Francis church on 32nd St. in Manhattan has a beautiful memorial to the firefighters and the late Father Judge. It has a stained glass panel depicting firefighters at Ground Zero that is very moving. Twisted fragments of  the towers' beams are a part of this memorial and, one again, they evoke the greatest emotional response. These beams are the objects, that in their twisted state, scream of that time of pain and destruction. People come up, touch and stroke them. It takes one back in time like nothing else can.
 
The beams and other objects surviving Ground Zero have become our 21st century relics. They hark back to the Catholic Church's tradition of venerating relics of their saints. Pieces of clothing that came in contact with the individual, or pieces of hair or bone, were encased and the faithful allowed to touch it. A way for the faithful to connect with that saint and maybe even experience a healing. In Victorian times, individuals would take a lock of hair from their dearly departed and encase it in a locket, hung close to the heart. A way of remaining connected with that loved one.
 
Isn't it a bit strange that we love to view gory news stories, watch reality TV shows, and were glued to our sets for days at a time after 9/11 watching and rewatching footage of the Towers as they burned and crashed? Yet we shy away from incorporating any physical reminder of that horror in our memorial. Ground Zero's Pit has been swept clean. On that piece of land nothing remains of that day; not a splinter nor a shard. Will the memorial just cover it all up? Will that day become like footprints in the dust? Once there, but now blown away? 
                                                           (c) 2003 Leona M Seufert