September 11th Memorial: Celebrating Relationships

By Sister Jean Stoner, SND

9_11memorial20pool20names20parapet20night_20rendering20squared20design20labIn New York City, 10 years after September 11, 2001, two new square pools, angled diagonally to each other in the footprints of the World Trade Center buildings, now carry the etched names of those who died during the attacks. Fountains cascade down the inside walls of these two pools, creating a sense of refreshment and peace that comes only from falling water. Trees surround the pools with greenery and new life.

What is special about this memorial is that the honored names are not engraved in alphabetical order but by relationship. The names of those who died in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC are in clusters, so that co-workers, friends, family, first responders to the attacks, and passengers on the same planes, are placed near each other now as they touched each other in life. The designers of this memorial got it right. What is most important after all is relationship and that is what is being emphasized at the September 11 Memorial.

Our work at the United Nations is also one of relationships, inspiring and equipping people for international citizenship. When we work on major global issues of our time such as social protection for all, an end to trafficking in persons, empowerment of women and girls, climate change, we do this because we are in relationship with all peoples across national boundaries. We live in a world community of partnership with each other and with our earth.