September 14, 2001
BY ROGER EBERT
If there is to be a memorial, let it not be of stone and steel. Fly no flag above it, for it is not the possession of a nation but a sorrow shared with the world. Let it be a green field, with trees and flowers. Let there be paths that wind through the shade. Put out park benches where old people can sun in the summertime, and a pond where children can skate in the winter.
Beneath this field will lie entombed forever some of the victims of September 11. It is not where they thought to end their lives. Like the sailors of the battleship Arizona, they rest where they fell.
Let this field stretch from one end of the destruction to the other. Let this open space among the towers mark the emptiness in our hearts. But do not make it a sad place. Give it no name. Let people think of it as the green field. Every living thing that is planted there will show faith in the future.
Let students take a corner of the field and plant a crop there. Perhaps corn, our native grain. Let the harvest be shared all over the world, with friends and enemies, because that is the teaching of our religions, and we must show that we practice them. Let the harvest show that life prevails over death, and let the gifts show that we love our neighbors.
Do not build again on this place. No building can stand there. No building, no statue, no column, no arch, no symbol, no name, no date, no statement. Just the comfort of the earth we share, to remind us that we share it.
Thanks to Roger Ebert for his kind permission to reprint.
Copyright © 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Inc.
Photo ©2001 Stuart Vail