Dispatch From Memorial City

Analysis of breaking news events.
Sept. 14 2001 1:10 AM

Dispatch From Memorial City

(Continued from Page 1)

"Let's re-examine our foreign policy with love."

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"New York is broken-hearted but not broken."

"New York is not castrated. A bris at best."

And over and over again: "FDNY."

Crowds moved slowly across the papered ground, reading the messages and sniffling back tears. The gathering was comforting in the same way a funeral can be. And after days of nonstop TV watching, the touch and tug and flow of the crowd felt gentle and warm. 

Rain is predicted tonight, and it seems sure to soak this remarkable installation. When a similar memorial city sprang up in Tel Aviv after Yitzchak Rabin's death, the city authorities had it carefully photographed before it was dismantled and then mounted an exhibit of the pictures several months later. I hope we preserve our graffiti-ed grief as carefully or that the TV cameras get a good look at it, at least. Other memorials will be built, to be sure. But their creators won't be able to recapture the searing freshness of this one.

Jodi KantorisSlate's New Yorkeditor.