Thursday, January 26, 2012
9/11 Memorial of love
There he was, alone, standing next to me. A slim tall black young man, holding on his hands a flat piece of white paper and a pencil. As I discretely watched, he carefully rested the paper on top of a name engraved in the stone and slowly started scratching it with his pencil, the same way you teach kids to do with coins. Except that for him that was probably a very solemn moment, as he was transferring, in an artistically and rudimentary way, the name of a loved one from a cold stone to his memory holder. A simple sheet of paper that from now on, would carry the memory of loss, blended among its fibers.
We were at the 9/11 Memorial and his presence there at my side changed the way I experienced it. Suddenly, it wasn't like visiting a museum, it became personal, the names were real people and my kids were touching the grounds of a tragedy. They are too young to know and probably will never remember our visit. But they are not too young to start learning from an early age the meaning of love. Love like the one the young man next to me has to offer, love that he keeps alive after all these years.
But that was not all. As I looked into the second fountain I spotted a rainbow. Coming from the hole in the center. Maybe that rainbow was going to bring some warmth to the heart of the young man. That not all was darkness, a sprout of light was still shining for him.