Many Americans still remember clearly the unfolding of horrible events on September 11, 2001. The tragedy has instilled many hard to forget images to all those who witnessed the events unfold either through their TV set or in person. However, it can be said most people who were once glued to the news for days after the tragedy now think of it only rarely or during its anniversary. As for people who were far from the scene or who were very young at the time may not know many details about the tragedy at all. During the wake of tragic events, people readily remember recent tragedies and presume that the world will never be the same again. However, as years and generations pass, daily life goes back to normal for most people and although tragedies are remembered less frequently they do not become forgotten. Meanwhile, political and culturally influenced memorial sites like “Reflect” found in Rosemead California have helped preserve our memories of history for decades to come.
(Photo by Rosemead City Hall)
The iconic “Reflect” monument is made up of stainless steel and incorporates an actual damaged I-beam salvaged from the World Trade Center. “Heath Satow’s contemporary sculpture Reflect is composed of 2,976 individual pieces. Each stylized dove silhouette represents a victim lost in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S. in 2001.” (Pool)
I believe the monument’s intention of matching its number of doves to the official 9/11 victim count is to give the viewer a physical point of reference as to what 2,976 can look like. To view and touch the pieces, realizing that each represents a loved one lost is an emotional experience which as the name suggest causes many to reflect on the 2001 tragedy. Each dove is joined together, spiraling upwards to form hands cradling the World Trade Center I-beam. The hands are meant to be symbolic of our human connection to 9/11; it is our past, woven together and united to carry ourselves from adversity the monument asks you to remember the past and reflect on it to strive for a better tomorrow.
It’s essential that we strive to remember past atrocities, and not because learning about them will surely prevent future tragedies from occurring. Instead, the acts of listening, learning and remembering are important steps toward enduring past hardship. Preserving memories of traumatic events also helps validate the people who were personally terrorized by them. The sculpture “Reflect” does all this it validates victims of the 9/11 attacks by the physical matching of doves to its victim count. The sculpture also reminds the public of the tragedy by bringing debris from the atrocity and its very shape symbolizes the rise above from this event.
Pool, Bob. “Rosemead Honors Victims of 9/11.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 5 Sept. 2011, articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/05/local/la-me-911-sculpture-20110906.
Rosemead City Hall. “Thank You for Helping Us Build the Memorial.” City of Rosemead : September 11 Memorial , City of Rosemead Newsroom, 10 May 2017, http://www.cityofrosemead.org/index.aspx?page=375.