|Painted in 2001|
I can still remember it so clearly. I was sitting in my high school science class just two rows from the window when it happened. Someone told our science teacher to turn on the TV that sat in the upper left hand corner of the room. Our whole class sat and watched the news replay the first plane flying into one of the World Trade Center towers. As we say there, watching the split screen- one with a replay of what had just happened, a second plane emerged on the other side of the screen in live feed. We watched a tiny spec grow until we realized what it was- another plane was flying into the second building. I remember going from class to class in a daze that day, until I walked into my English teacher, Mrs. Cory’s class. She had always had a level set way about her in her teaching and on this day, she didn’t let us down. She turned off the TV, stood at her podium, and told us as firmly as she did about anything else, that on that day, we would look back and it would be a day we would remember for the rest of our lives. She was right.
Just days after the attacks happened, I sat on the floor of my messy bedroom and made this collage out of newspaper articles written about the events. I carefully tore up pieces with negative content and cut out the tiny dates and facts to circle around it. However, in the top left hand corner, I placed positive clips like an image of two people holding hands, with words like “unity” and quotes like “forgiveness leads to peace,” and “conflict is not inevitable, nor is peace impossible.” I don’t remember who said them, I just knew the positive was important. And then with tears streaming down my face, I painted a wash over it all in the shape and colors of an old and ragged American Flag, now symbolizing red- the blood of the victims, white-the sweat of the volunteers, and blue- all the tears that were shed because of this horrible, fateful day. It has been a continuously changing piece. Over time the paper has begun to turn brown, and the words have begun to fade, but the feeling I get when I look at it remains the same- a feeling of deep sadness combined with hope for a better tomorrow.
I don’t know if you are religious (I don’t usually like that word- it often has negative connotations), but today is certainly a day of prayers and peaceful, reflective thoughts. I hope one day we can find the peace that will break the barriers of hatred with love and unite us with one heart in the spirit of truth. May the love and peace of our Creator shine down on us and may the memory of September 11th remain with us forever, so that we can learn from our past and one day find the freedom that will bring unity for all. May God bless America and the world.