So Much to Be Thankful For!

By: pattihenderson

Oct 10 2010

Category: Weekend Adventures

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Aperture:f/6.7
Focal Length:65mm
ISO:100
Shutter:1/500 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 7D

On this Thanksgiving Sunday I find myself reflecting upon just how many blessings I have in my life to be thankful for – my dear family back home in Forest and Alvinston who love me no matter what, a beautiful and cozy apartment to call home, a great job that is fulfilling and rewarding, and awesome, awesome friends. That’s a good start.  I actually started writing this post in my head last Saturday as I wandered around New York.  The most amazing and emotionally powerful experience I had on my trip occurred on a quiet street corner in Greenwich Village where I came upon a fenced schoolyard with colourful 3X3 inch ceramic tiles tied to it. What I had found was a community memorial to the victims of 9/11 that started on 9/14.  Each brightly painted tile tells a different story and reflects how each person internalized the traumatic events of that day – some speak of hope, such as the tile above, some courage, bravery, love, freedom, peace and even forgiveness.  All powerful and surprising words to spring out of such a dark time.  I must admit here to shedding many tears as I read each tile.  I felt compelled to take photos and you can find them on my website if you click here.

I later learned that this makeshift memorial is now called Tiles for America and it had very humble and spontaneous beginnings.  On 9/12 LorrieVeasey, owner of a local New York ceramics shop called Our Name is Mud, noticed that large crowds had gathered at St. Vincent’s Hospital on the corner of 7th and 11th streets in Greenwich Village; this was the hospital that was set up to take in survivors that were devastatingly never found at Ground Zero. Lorrie began to create ceramic tiles with messages of hope that she would attach to the fence facing St. Vincent’s. The angels and flags were attached with ribbon and after 2 weeks many had been removed. This did not deter Lorrie who used her contacts through The Contemporary Ceramic Studio Society to garner support for a new memorial.  Studios across the US soon took up the cause and hand-painted tiles poured in to be placed on the Greenwich Village fence, with any proceeds being donated to The Fireman’s Widows and Children Fund. The memorial still stands today and although the tiles look weather-beaten, they stand as a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.

Freedom, courage, bravery, love, peace, forgiveness and hope. Yes, we have so much to be thankful for!

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