Keynote Address of the Genocide Studies Program symposium, Memorialization Unmoored:
“Memorialization with Meaning: commemorating lives lost, preserving difficult history, and creating a narrative for survivors of September 11th”
Mary Fetchet (Executive Director, Voices of September 11th) and Alexandra Drakakis (Associate Curator, 9/11 Memorial Museum)
Watson Center A51
Mary Fetchet will talk about how victims’ families and the community-at-large express their grief in a variety of ways through memorialization. Some topics include the important role that spontaneous and permanent memorials, advocacy efforts, and the creation of a legacy of their loved ones has in their healing process. In addition, I will review the creation of the 9/11 Living Memorial and the considerations when working with victims’ families to assist them in the emotional, but therapeutic process of documenting the lives of their loved ones.
Alexandra Drakakis will address how at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the material culture of everyday life infuses the heart of a story in which ordinary people, on an otherwise unexceptional workday, were thrust into the vortex of a global event. While objects as humble as a pair of high heels serve as proxies for the thousands of individuals that confronted drastic choices that day, it is when they become animated by the voices of their owners (for example) that these quotidian artifacts offer museum visitors insights into acts of courage and compassion, that transcend the atrocity of the terrorist act. Personal possessions recovered in the wreckage or objects that speak to a victim’s life-lived, are especially poignant when their meaning is explained by those who knew and loved them.