Since September is a marker for me to contemplate the airplane-as-weapon attacks of 9/11, I’ve posted an interview I had in September 2006 with Shawn Rossiter, editor of 15 Bytes and the person who helps me keep this website going. He published it in a now-defunct art blog, Head of Shiz. It is revised and updated on the Spontaneous Memorial section of this site, where you can also view images from past iterations of the installation.
Last month I mentioned that I’d post a few comments from Spontaneous Memorial “Fence” tags and “Ledger” pages, just a few from the hundreds:
· I’ve read parts of each portrait & am dismayed at cruelty in the name of politics or religion. May the 21st Century find more peace than the 20th.
· No one may speak for the dead; no one may interpret their mutilated dreams and visions. And yet, I sense their presence . . . The presence of my parents, that of my little sister. The presence of my teachers, my friends, my companions. . .
· If we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.” – From Ele Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo on Dec. 10, 1986.
· Love in its essence is spiritual fire.” Emanuel Swedenborg.
· Faithful, innocent, we all are responsible, we all too must be faithful and help each other so we may be ready for a day such as this.
· In the time span of human existence, we have learned almost nothing about how to get along with each other. The struggle for power, and dominance, and the redress of grievances ends in violence and death.
· Diplomacy Rules: Violence is an effective method of complete destruction. It isn’t creative. That is all I have to say to the terrorists!
· I would hope all this loss of life gives us a greater appreciation and respect for our lives and what we do with our time left here.
· What a shame so much time & money is dedicated to the destruction of the world.
· If the Christians of the world all practiced Christianity and the Muslims practiced Islam all these tragedies would be prevented. – Roger Fitt.
· Life as we knew it cannot be taken for granted anymore. – SE.
· September 11th brought great pain to our nation, but at the same time brought a sense of union between people of all races, religion, and cultures. – Nickolle Carter
· As long as the sky holds and baseball is played, some of the things you loved – and so you – will never truly vanish. “So long lives this and this gives life to thee.” – Shakespeare.
· I read this and at first the words seemed random and made no sense. I found it difficult to look past the paint splattered across the tag. Then I realized this tag isn’t about what’s on it physically. It’s about the life that was cut short.
· It is often good we do not know what is ahead of us or we would not have the courage to go on and face it.
· Be prepared spiritually. Things don’t seem to be getting better.
· To think he [Paul K. Sloan] didn’t expect anything but his life to continue is indeed sobering. It makes one question their selfishness and self-awareness. It’s one thing for chance to take your life, but for men to take it is something quite different.
· I was impressed by how the community came together for the sake of consoling and preserving lives. My hope is that we recognize the value of life on a daily basis and especially in our politics.
· I was so busy that day. I hadn’t even seen what happened. All I saw was the faces of those who had seen. I felt like I should cry, but I didn’t understand why.
· Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never seem to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee – John Donne.
· The attacks of 9/11 have left a real and lasting void in America and shown us that our enemies will no longer allow us to be a sleeping giant.
· This morning, before work, I briefly turned on my television. I saw the planes fly into the WTC towers. I saw the huge balls of flame. I thought ‘what great special effects they can create nowadays!’ Only after I arrived at work & was informed that all ‘non-essential’ state employees should go home, did I understand: it was real . . . from Guy Lebeda’s journal: 9/11/01.
· I thought it was a movie, but I couldn’t believe it was real.
· I was sitting in biology when the phone rang. My teacher came in & turned on the T.V. We all watched, awestruck with no real idea what was going on.
· My roommates were gathered around the television, and one was in tears. After shaking the sleep out of my head, I was wide awake to watch plane #2 smash into the towers. It made me instantly ill, thinking at first I was watching a horrible film.
· On 9/11/01, my roommates were watching TV. I came in and thought they were watching a movie. Just then the 2nd plane hit the tower. I thought it was cool until I found out it was real. Then I was horrified. Why does religion inspire such hatred and malice in the hearts of men and stir them up against those who have done them no harm? – Bryan McEntire.
· I heard of the attack in the morning on the radio. Later in the day I saw it on TV. At first, I thought it was an accident, pure and simple. As the day went on the monstrous evil of the attack began to soak in. By nightfall, I knew I had witnessed vicariously a tragedy. What sadness!
· Tragedy begets tragedy. It’s time to work together to end this cycle through compassion, not violence. The free world’s ready to get on board or get Bush out.
· BUSH IS A LIAR.
· A vote for Bush is a vote for Revolution.
· Somehow it didn’t become real for me until 11/2 years later when I went to NYC [by] myself. What a hole. What a loss. We have suffered. I love President Bush. Go get ‘em.’ Everyone should be able to feel safe . . . Love, AOC.
· As I watched the towers come crashing down in horror and disbelief, I also felt that we were at an end of an era. / I am angered that our government has used this horrific act to justify its own horrific act against a nation uninvolved in 9/11 and not a threat to us anymore. Many thousands of Iraqi civilians have lost their lives plus our soldiers, FOR A LIE.
· I afraid of Americans.
· September 11 was a horrible moment in the history of our country, but it illustrated the character of our citizens. Those who died were doing their jobs for America – businessmen, firemen, policemen. Everyone involved, was doing their job and their duty, they died honorably. They died for America. They died Americans.
· No one who dies is truly dead until there is no one left who remembers them. May each victim of 9/11 be remembered always and thus live.
· Gone, but not forgotten.
· Never will I forget the helpless, desperately infuriating feelings I had when I heard about plane one … these feelings amplified when the next two appeared … then the next. Never will I forget.
· Private lives become public lives when terror and horror snatch them away. Someone remember the newborn’s cry when these lives entered the world. Choose this day to remember their cries when they left this world. Tomorrow may be your day to cry. Our heritage is to remember. – Jess, Boise, Idaho
· I remember someone telling me that she saw the first plane hit in the rear view mirror of her car. Such a small image of such a large tragedy. – B. Boolar
· I will always remember 9/11 for two reasons. (1) Because 9/11 is the day my wife and I celebrate our anniversary. (2) The feelings I had when I heard our nation was under attack. I will always remember the people who died that day. May God bless them and their families. – Tom G.
· Let us always remember: Events – esp. such tragic events – are part of larger processes. How can we better shape and guide this unregrettable process? “There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.” M. Gandhi – William C. Seifrit.
· August 6, 1945 / Hiroshima, Nola Gay / 130,000 people died / then Nagasaki / Please pick a hanging tag and tell us how you feel about the events of that day.
· I echo Ken Brewer’s statement that we need acts of goodness on a scale as large as the great tragedies we’ve seen. The efforts of good people providing service can counteract the devastating acts we see. We must continue to choose right.
· My son’s birthday is tomorrow 9/9 so it has become forever linked to the 9/11 attack on the Towers and the Pentagon. Though I was stunned by 9/11, I was even more stunned by the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Building 4/19/95 because my daughter Kim lived just outside of Oklahoma City and sometimes went to the Murrah Building. I remembered watching the television images the morning of 4/19 as the blown-out remains of the building still smoldered. I remembered how I tried to call my daughter but couldn’t get through to her for two days. Then 9/11 hit and I saw that on television, too, even the actual moment the second airliner flew into the second tower in a moment of surreal reality. What we need more are acts of goodness on such a scale as 4/19 – acts of goodness that can touch everyone as powerfully as such acts of terror. I suppose such goodness must begin with each person’s smallest acts and grow like raindrops into an ocean. – Ken Brewer [former Utah Poet Laureate]