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How Do We Memorialize the Tragedy of Sept. 11th?

There's an interesting editorial in the Inquirer today co-written by Charles B. Strozier and Scott Gabriel Knowles. Strozier is a psychoanalyst and criminal justice professor who wrote Until the Fires Stopped Burning: 9/11 and New York City in the Words and Experiences of Survivors and Witnesses. Knowles is a Drexel professor and the author of The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America. What they have in common is a belief that memorials should not only pay tribute to the dead but educate the public as well. (Hard to believe, but this year's average college freshman was just in second grade when the Towers came down.)

The question we might want to ask locally is whether Philadelphia's 9/11 memorial—to be unveiled today—does what Strozier and Knowles suggest. It sits on the banks of the Schuylkill River, and is composed primarily of a steel I-beam from one of the towers. The beam is embedded, but askew, in a circle of reflective black granite, into which are carved the names of the three Philadelphians—Christopher Robert Clarke, Kevin Leah Bowser and Jasper Baxter—who lost their lives that day in Manhattan.

The project was initiated by the Schuylkill River Development Corp., and it was designed by Wells Appel, a landscape design firm headed up by Stuart Appel, who's done most of the project for a reduced fee.

"The juxtaposition of the twisted-steel relic and the reflection of the sky in the stone creates a paradigm between the horror of the 9/11 attack and the reflection of the heavens above," Appel told the Inquirer.

As for the educational component, that will come at today's unveiling of the public art work:
WHEN: Today, 1 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
WHERE: Schuylkill Banks (Schuylkill River Park Trail). East side of the Schuylkill River just south of the Chestnut Street Bridge, Philadelphia, PA 19103

· 9/11: A lapse of memory [Inquirer]
· Memorial to honor Philadelphia's 9/11 victims [Inquirer]