September 11, 2011


America remembers the victims of 9/11 with tributes and tears ( Ed Pilkington and Karen McVeigh and Chris McGreal, 11 September 2011, The Guardian)

Not long after dawn the sound of real chattering began to suffuse the area as a crowd began to form at the World Trade Centre. Not any crowd. Every individual there represented a decade of loss and mourning. Each one brought with them the memory of a father, wife, son - some in physical form like the woman who carried aloft a series of photographs of a man cut into shapes that spelled: "I love daddy". Others wore T-shirts with printed photos of their loved ones, or held up placards showing a husband at his college graduation, a daughter smiling broadly, with the words: "Never forgotten".

How to measure the enormity of the events of that day a decade ago, and what they signify today? You can quote statistics, like the headline figure of 2,977 - the number of those who died in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania (not including the 19 hijackers). Or you can cite the figure that almost half of those who died had children under 18.

But statistics only go so far. Another way of gauging the numbing scale of the tragedy was that it took four and a half hours to read out in alphabetical order the names of the victims. Those with a surname starting with "A" alone took almost 10 minutes - all 108 of them.

When the hijackers boarded the four planes at Boston, Newark and Washington that morning they had been drilled to believe that they were attacking the enemy of a monolithic America. But as the "As" were read out it became clear that the victims of al-Qaida's hatred were anything but monolithic. It was like being taken on a journey around the world: Abad, Aceto, Acquaviva, Adanga, Afflito, Afuakwah, Agarwal, Agnello, Ahladiotis, Ahmed, Alegre-Cua, Alikakos, Amanullah, Ang, Arczynski, Avraham ...

Posted by at September 11, 2011 6:07 PM

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