Memphis College of Art President Jeff Nesin, our dear friend, emailed the following advice, and we wanted to share it with you:
As all of us are acutely aware, today marks the fifth anniversary of the September 11 hijackings and attacks. I have wanted to offer something meaningful to our community, but it’s enormously difficult. Though many things have happened to each of us since 2001, in fact, five years provides no distance at all. The wanton destruction is still incomprehensible and, alas, still fresh.
The lower Manhattan of the World Trade Center Towers was my family’s home for many happy years, and conjuring that gorgeous autumn morning — not much different from this morning — is not hard at all. Here in Overton Park the impact was muffled only slightly and everyone felt like a New Yorker. We had a spontaneous and powerful exhibition of student work and a candlelight meeting on the front steps.
The weeks that followed were literally haunted. We traveled abroad, experiencing empty airports and the kind of security procedures that have since become universal. The sidewalk in front of the US Embassy in Oslo was overwhelmed with bouquets, candles, poems and testimonies of sorrow and fellowship.
In New York people from everywhere worked night after night at the Trade Center site, wore masks around my neighborhood and cried in the street. Every Fire House and Police Station was draped in mourning, covered with flowers . . . and the ubiquitous xeroxed Have You Seen My Husband/Wife/Child posters were everywhere. It remains indelible, but that’s simply a fact. There are certain events in a life, precious few of them shared public occurrences, that you will never, ever forget. This is one.
This morning I found an article in the LA Times about a New Yorker and an Angeleno who have created a really useful memorial, a web site where everyone can seek or pledge good deeds: volunteering, giving blood, collecting and distributing needed goods — as many possibilities as you can create. It’s a small thing, but collectively it can be powerful, and I offer it to you today in lingering sadness and continuing hope.
So when you’re thinking of September 11, or when you’re tired of thinking about it, please go to My Good Deed.