September 12, 2017

The Names on the 9/11 Memorial

Whenever I am sent to New York (or, any other such global city) on an assignment, I make it a point to do all the tourist stuff, again and again. The buzz around is so electrifying that you don't feel like missing the action at the TimeSquare, the Liberty Statue, the ferry, the subway, Broadway, the Yankee's stadium, the Central Park and while on a simple walk along the roads.
On a recent visit to the city, a friend tolld me I must pay a visit to the WTC memorial, a cite I visited about five years ago when the work on the memorial was still underway.
What caught my attention there was the falling water into the two endless pits and names of scores of people who were killed in the 9/11 attack.
Quite a few Indian names, which include some Telugu names, were chiseled on the metal plate that covered the whole of the two squarish, identical mini lakes. You can't fail to notice a flower here, and another flower there. Perhaps, a brother, sister or a parent or even a son or daughter of the dead might have placed it near the names of their loved ones.
As you immerse yourself in the ever-falling water, you wonder whether it's water or a rain of tears of those who never returned home after the two planes pulverised the twin towers. A few computer touch screens set up nearby help you identify the victims and get their details.
But, then, another thought flashed through my mind. A rich and powerful nation could build a beautiful and imposing memorial to remember those who lost their lives in the attack. The bereaved families can come, sit there for a while and grieve in silence. Even if you don't belong to those families, you can feel the pain and the agony. The grief was in the air.
But what about those millions who were killed and are being killed in distant lands?
Unsuspecting sons, daughters, brothers, sisters or parents, who were not at the war, were killed in large numbers in random bombings in Asia and in Africa. How their kin, living in the very poor countries, would remember them?

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