[ 9/11 Memorial Museum – In Memoriam Exhibit ]
The 2,983 photos cover the four walls, this microcosm of humanity. Gone too soon, and far too young, no matter the age.
The Wall of Faces.
Young and old; black, white, red, brown and yellow; smiling and carefree; serious and professional.
Mothers and fathers; brothers and sisters; husbands and wives; sons and daughters; bosses and co-workers; captains and lieutenants; lovers and friends.
People from over 90 countries, but Americans all.
The impact of the sheer number of people lost punches you in the chest, the intake of breath keening out in an anguished, “Oh, my God…,” over and over in a litany of disbelief.
Oh – my – God.
Frozen tears pour out in a scalding torrent.
Here, then, a Captain in the Fire Department of New York, dress uniform shining and starched, dedication in his gaze.
Next to him, a middle-aged woman, motherly, soft around the edges, her eyes rimmed with lines from years of laughter.
Down some rows to the handsome young man in a tuxedo – model handsome – with a smile that can light up a room, along with his wife’s heart.
My eyes move up to the older man, graying at the temples, dignified in his Wall Street clothing, his face a mask of professionalism.
The young woman, so vibrant and full of life, the girl-next-door, prom queen and cheer-leading captain all rolled into one.
The man of indeterminate age, his ebony skin matching his eyes which radiate compassion and a quiet reserve.
The young EMT, eager to help, focused, smiling, full of hope.
I remove my glasses as if to rub the images from my vision and instead visualize a sea of colors, a tapestry, that together unite into one huge photograph of humanity.
Out of many – One.
Oh. My. God.