After Loss; More Life

Memorial Quadrant Rendering

Memorial Quadrant Rendering

I was deeply impressed watching the PBS Nova Special: “Engineering Ground Zero”. It presents the engineering, innovation, and perseverance of the human spirit as it follows the five-year construction of One World Trade Center (1 WTC) and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. If you missed it you can still watch it in its entirety on-line.

George Bonanno’s book, “The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After a Loss” explains how resilient behavior is possible in the face of monumental losses like those at Ground Zero when people come together with kindhearted compassionate response to suffering.

“Engineering Ground Zero” shows us the big view of Americans who are impressively resilient, thoughtful and genuinely kindhearted despite major grief and loss. Welcome National September 11 Memorial as our new symbol of resilience.

In the words of President Obama:

These past 10 years tell a story of resilience. Decades from now, Americans will visit the memorials to those who were lost on 9/11. They’ll run their fingers over the places where the names of those we loved are carved into marble and stone, and they may wonder at the lives that they led. And standing before the white headstones in Arlington, and in peaceful cemeteries and small-town squares in every corner of the country, they will pay respects to those lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. They’ll see the names of the fallen on bridges and statues, at gardens and schools.

And they will know that nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America. They will remember that we’ve overcome slavery and Civil War; we’ve overcome bread lines and fascism and recession and riots, and communism and, yes, terrorism. They will be reminded that we are not perfect, but our democracy is durable, and that democracy –- reflecting, as it does, the imperfections of man -– also give us the opportunity to perfect our union. That is what we honor on days of national commemoration –- those aspects of the American experience that are enduring, and the determination to move forward as one people.



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