None of us will ever forget that fateful day, September 11, 2001, when the World Financial Center was attacked by terrorists. When in New York, I always make it a point to visit “Eleven Tears,” the work of art commissioned by American Express to honor 11 AMEX employees killed in the terrorist attack. To simply “tell a story” would be inadequate; thus, the below photograph.
This memorial entitled 11 Tears, occupies a lobby corner of American Express’ corporate headquarters at the World Financial Center. It “unites sky and ground, heaven and earth” and incorporates natural elements: water, light, quartz crystal and black granite. At the center is a 600 pound tear-shaped piece of Brazilian quartz, which was carved to have 11 sides, one for each AMEX victim.
The massive crystal is set into a stainless steel ring and suspended from the ceiling by 11 thin cables. Beneath the point of the upside-down tear is an 11-sided black granite pool; each side is inscribed with the name of an employee and a few words, selected by those who knew them best, to summarize the people they were. For example, the name most visible in my photograph, “Loretta Ann Vero,” has these words engraved in the pool above her name: Sincere, Thoughtful, Trustworthy, Loving And Loyal, Respected And Loved,
At random intervals, 11 drops of water fall from the ceiling into the pool above each name, creating intersecting ripples, “symbolizing the connections among the close-knit group of colleagues and friends.” The fountain is surrounded by benches of matching black granite where friends, loved ones, and people like me who never knew them, can sit and reflect upon their lives.
Visitors sitting there and looking through the windows find themselves gazing directly at the site where the 11 died, working as American Express travel counselors on the 94th floor of One World Trade Center. If you visit New York, I enourage you to visit what I call the “Pool Of Tears.” You will be touched in a way you never thought possible.