NEW CANAAN, CT (WCBS 880) – Beyond the historical account of that terrible day, the story of September 11 is about people.
“The focus, really, on the 9/11 living memorial is truly to focus on their life, not their death,” says Voices of September 11th co-founder Mary Fetchet.
The group is creating an online archive – an electronic scrapbook filled with, as Fetchet puts it, “photographs, eulogies, missing person posters… you know, any written materials – newspaper articles, books that were written in their memory.”
Each remembrance tells part of the story of 9/11.
“There’s a lot of anxiety in advance of them participating, and so, what we try to do is encourage them to start with what they have,” says Fetchet. “Many people feel compelled to go through everything they have. I can tell, first hand, I could not do that myself. That would be totally overwhelming because I took so many pictures during [my son] Brad’s lifetime and I have videotapes of his lacrosse game and hockey game and family reunions.”
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“Some people come in with a couple of things and then once they start, they get very excited, and then they’ll go home and say ‘You know, gee, I came across this,’ or ‘I should include that.’ They get it,” she says.
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She says, sometimes, living memorial sessions can be therapeutic.
“Twenty five family members from the same family came and we didn’t even know how to staff it, but it was a real healing process for the family at the end,” she says.
Roughly a thousand families have created a living memorial so far. Ultimately, each one will become part of the national museum.
“What we’re trying to encourage them to think about [is] that this is really their own, personal project,” says Fetchet. “This is an ongoing project for us. So, we’re going to continue to work with families, colleagues, friends, people that survived.”