In memory of Sept. 11, a wall of hope
The Wall of Hope, a Sept. 11, 2001, commemorative monument covered with messages of peace, was unveiled Wednesday night in three downtown Providence locations.
More than 10,000 tiles are on display along Memorial Boulevard near Waterplace Park, the Providence Journal building and the Rhode Island Convention Center. The tiles will remain in their current locations for three years.
A product of months of painting sessions by children and adults across the state, the medium-sized white tiles include images by 200 Rhode Islanders who lost family members in last September’s attacks.
The tiles bear messages and symbols of hope. Butterflies, smiley faces, hearts, American flags and rainbows are mixed with sentimental messages. One prominently displayed set of four tiles describes the process of recovery: “Anger, Analysis, Activism.” Others declare love for children and lost relatives.
The National Conference for Community and Justice, a national interfaith activist group, created the wall. It was unveiled following a wind-tossed ceremony in the Fleet Skating Center.
Gov. Lincoln Almond spoke, and an assembled group of faith leaders from Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Muslim and Baha’i communities conducted an interfaith prayer.
Almond quoted President George Bush’s address to Congress extensively, mulling the unprecedented nature of the attacks and referring to the fourth stanza of ‘America the Beautiful’: “Thine alabaster cities gleam/Undimmed by human tears.”
Almond said, “You have only to look at the thousands of Rhode Islanders who painted tiles for the Wall of Hope to see our spirit.”
Bosung Kim, a senior at Providence’s Classical High School, provided cello accompaniment while siblings, spouses and children of victims of the attacks released doves into the air.
The ceremony’s prevailing theme was gratitude to the local businesses that donated labor, materials and funds to the Wall of Hope project.
The waterfire display was accompanied by a broadcast recording of Handel’s Messiah.
The thousands of people who came to see the memorial wore red, white and blue ribbons handed out by volunteers.
Most of the wall’s tiles were drawn by children and had hopeful images. Most convey — in the words of organizer Jennifer Robinson, “hope . . . and comforting” — and only a few are reactions to the terrorist attacks themselves.
One child’s tile depicted a mirror image of two planes flying into two skyscrapers, and a few others showed smoky ghost images of the Trade Center towers, most accompanied by a promise to “never forget.”
©Copyright 2002, The Brown Daily Herald2002, The Brown Daily Herald