Tuesday, September 12, 2006

September 11th Russian Memorial Brings Clinton, Others to Jersey



BAYONNE, NJ—As thousands flocked to Ground Zero Tuesday to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a mayor, a governor, and a former U.S. president dedicated their afternoon to a memorial of a different sort. Directly across the river from Ground Zero sits a former military base that is the new home of “The Tear of Grief,” a monument designed by Russian artist Zurab Tseretelli.

The 100-foot tall, bronze-clad structure, which encloses a 40-foot steel teardrop, is a gift from President Vladimir Putin and the Russian people to the people of the United States. Standing in front of the giant tear, with both the Statue of Liberty and the Twin Towers-less skyline in the background, speakers as illustrious as President Bill Clinton and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff reflected on the lessons still to be learned from the tragedy.


“There are all kinds of victims when people believe that our differences are more important than our common humanity,” said Clinton, referring to the Muslim Americans who have experienced discrimination from their fellow citizens since the attacks. “I have been grateful and proud that Americans have reached across party and other lines to rebuke that idea."

After reading a message from President Bush, who was unable to attend, Chertoff referred to Ground Zero as a “giant scar in the earth,” but suggested that it is “not a spiritual void,” because it is filled with “the spirits of people who perished on that day.”

Most spectators sat behind the podium, but certain friends and families of victims, friends of the artist, and those involved in constructing the monument were invited to sit in a special section in front of the podium. All present were somber as Leann Rimes sung “Amazing Grace” under a clear blue sky with seagulls calling overhead, but many seemed upbeat after the ceremony.

The statue represented something “so real” to Madeline Kerek, a retired Bayonne Administrative Assistant. “The tear coming down from the two towers [makes you] want to shed your tears also.”

The monument is to be the focal point of a park that is supposed to be accessible to the public within the next year.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Sister Sara said...

First 2 paragraphs are really strong- make you want to read on.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3rd paragraph -- can you state, as a fact that that Muslim Americans have faced discrimination from fellow citizens? Or is this providing more information about what Clinton spoke about? (did Clinton say that and you are paraphrasing?) To state it as a fact seems journalistically awkward here (can you say that with journalistic integrity?). If you are only providing context or paraphrasing other parts of the speech, that seems ambiguous (sp?)

8:20 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Okay, "anonymous." Thanks for the criticism. Did I mention that we had an hour to write this? But I know what you're saying--and in fact I wasn't paraphrasing Clinton but he had just told an anecdote about an Egyptian man who was terrified of how people were going to treat him and who came to a victim's families site the day of the attacks to show his suport. I think my explanation of the context is pertinent, because otherwise the quote isn't as meaningful. He was refering to these kinds of differences and the way that difference is perceived since the attacks.

What do you have to say about that?

Suzanne

P.S. It's pretty easy to look up the spelling of a word you're not sure of--no need to guess at the spelling of something when you can look it up in like two seconds.

11:55 PM  

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