Tuesday 11 September 2012

Exactly eleven years ago the towers fell, and the lives of millions of people were changed forever. 

Two thousand, nine hundred and ninety six people were killed, including the nineteen hijackers, fifty-five military personnel at the Pentagon, and four hundred and eleven emergency workers. 
One hundred and five people are still considered missing.
One thousand, three hundred children were made orphans by the attacks.
Seventeen children were born to women whose husbands were lost their husbands in the attacks.
Forty one percent of the victims have yet to be formally identified, but a team of scientists still works to this day to formally identify fragments found at the scene, in the hope that emerging new technologies can help with the process. 
Eighteen thousand people are thought to have developed illnesses as a result of the toxic dust spread around the city.

Over one hundred and sixteen thousand Iraqi civilians died in the resulting 'war on terror' waged by the US government; many more were injured, orphaned, or made homeless.

Dalton Ghetti, miniature sculptor extraordinaire, last year unveiled his own tribute to those who lost their lives  in the attacks. Known for his tiny sculptures, he set about making something not so huge as to be obviously notices, but instead stuck to his own style, carving nearly three thousand tear drops, one for each person who died. Each tear drop is roughly the size of a grain of rice, and at an average of three hundred tear drops a year, the memorial took him ten years to complete. The project is so beautiful, so simple and understated; but put close together, those three thousand tiny tear drops cover a remarkably large space. 

I shed my own tears on 9/11; for the victims of the attacks, and for my grandfather, who died two days later. I still cry every time I see the images from the day, or when I look at photographs taken at the memorial on the tenth anniversary of the attacks. For someone who rarely, if ever, cries about anything to do with my own life, I cry a relatively large amount for other people. The moment anyone's eyes well up, I'm on the verge of tears for them, involuntarily. I feel like weeping when I see the homeless men on my street, and I always give them all my change no matter what people think they 'might spend it on'. I regularly have to stop myself weeping at every child abuse advert that crosses my screen. I cry for the dogs left to die and used for target practice on the beaches of Puerto Rico. I cried when I saw the Indian Ocean tsunami on my television, and when Haiti was hit by earthquakes, and when Japan's rural districts were floored by the earthquake and ensuing tsunami of 2011. I cried when a team of retired Japanese workers volunteered to replace the workers at the Fukushima nuclear plant, because they felt they 'had to do something' and couldn't just 'allow young people to do this'. 

My generation have seen some of the biggest natural disasters in human history, and sometimes it's hard to see the good things that come out of our world. Watching this video of two mothers affected by the September 11th attacks - one the mother of a son killed in the Trade Center, and one the mother of a son who helped orchestrate the attacks and now serving life - I felt like these two women had achieved something massive, in recognising that both of them have lost a son to this tragic event, and neither of them are to blame for it. A little human understanding and empathy goes a long way, and I am not ashamed of crying for other people.


  1. What a beautiful tribute those tiny tear drops are, it made me a little teary just reading about the project & seeing them all together!
    I'm exactly the same, I get so over emotional about things like this. The older men volunteering to work at the plant in Japan made me cry like a baby & whenever anyone crys it makes me cry too! Animals suffering gets me the most though, I guess because I've always said I prefer them to people, but I also hate the way we as humans view all other creatures as beneath us & ours to do as we please with, it makes me so angry.
    This is making me think of a Korean film I watched a few weeks ago, 'Brotherhood' or 'Taegukgi hwinalrimyeo', I love anti-war movies & this is probably the best I've seen, it literally made my heart ache. If you've not seen it, I'd definitely recommend it!

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