Their words always stay with me.

December 11th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink


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9/11 Memorial Preview Site, September 14, 2010

Last weekend the Yamamoto household welcomed a new (well, new to us) desk in my office. This may not seem like a big deal, but I’ve been talking about getting a smaller desk for nearly four years now, and here it is – just in time for the last 6 months of my dissertation frenzy.

The desk came from the home of a some nice people we met through Craigslist. It turns out the people who sold us the desk work in the film industry. As we were loading the desk into our pickup truck (and by this I mean David was loading and I was, well chatting) I mentioned I was writing a dissertation about 9/11 memorials. Turns out the seller of the desk had done editing work on a 9/11 documentary – Project Rebirth. » Read the rest of this entry «

Old Journals

November 20th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink


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This dissertation began somewhat unintentionally in 2001 with my first visit to the overflowing shrine at Union Square Park. This week I’m looking back at the early days of this research – remembering grief materialized in resplendent shrines, identifying the overlapping layers of material offerings and reading these temporary landscapes for evidence of an emerging narrative.

Union Square Park 2001

Union Square Park, September 17, 2001

» Read the rest of this entry «

The complicated stuff of memory.

November 3rd, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink


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We’ve all lost people we love. For me, my first encounter with death was losing my grandfather (Pops) to colon cancer when I was 11. The loss was physically agonizing.

For many months after Pops died I wrote letters to him on My Melody stationary with pink rollerball ink, telling him how much I missed him and what was on my mind. But it was never about the actual letters for me, it was about the writing. Writing was not a way of communicating with my grandfather, but a vehicle through which I engaged in the act of remembering. The letter writing slowed down over time, then stopped altogether. I suppose at some point I no longer needed it. » Read the rest of this entry «

What’s your story?

October 27th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink


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September 2001, NYC

I was speaking with the father of one of my childhood friends last night. He said something that stuck with me and I’ve been thinking about it all day. He made a comparison between 9/11 and the assassination of JFK, saying the experience of 9/11 for my generation is like the experience of JKF’s shocking death for his generation. I have heard this comparison more than once.

9/11 is bookmarked in our minds – its placement defining a clear before and after. » Read the rest of this entry «

Let’s give this a try.

October 25th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink


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Construction at the World Trade Center Site. These huge cubes are the footprint of the Twin Towers. Soon they'll be waterfalls as part of the National 9/11 Memorial.

I got back from an incredible research trip a few weeks ago. I went out to NYC for the 9th anniversary of 9/11. While I was there I spent a lot of time near Ground Zero, visiting memorial sites and interviewing people involved in memorial projects. While all of these traditional research tools were incredibly valuable, I also realized that some of my most informative conversations about the way people are feeling right now were the unofficial sort. The kinds of conversations that happen over a three-hour cup of coffee with a friend I haven’t seen for 2 years. » Read the rest of this entry «

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