It is my hope that in the months and years ahead, life will return almost to normal. We’ll go back to our lives and routines, and that is good. Even grief recedes with time and grace. But our resolve must not pass. Each of us will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened. We’ll remember the moment the news came — where we were and what we were doing. Some will remember an image of a fire, or a story of rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever. ~George W. Bush, Address to Joint Session of Congress Following 9/11 Attack
In remembrance of 9/11, it is important to not only reflect on the words said by the 39th President of the United States, but to also reflect on how members of the SL Community honor those that died in these attacks. With this in mind, The SL Parade visited a 9/11 Memorial SIM dedicated to honoring the victims of 9/11.
Located on Stagg Island, the 9/11 Memorial SIM consist of two square-based fountains similar to the memorial located in New York City. These fountains also house two spotlights; these spotlights represent the spirit of the Twin Towers, while simultaneously paying homage to those that perished in the 9/11 attacks. In addition to the fountains, erected walls list the names of those that perished on this tragic day; these walls not only shed light on the 2,996 individuals who died, but also details where the victims tragically died at. For instance, the victims that perished at the Pentagon have a section of the wall dedicated to them; this section lists all their names. In addition, the victims who perished in the field near Shanksville, PA have a section of the wall dedicated to them–with a complete list of their names as well. In total, all 2,996 individuals who perished on 9/11 are named, honored and accounted for. These walls, along with benches where visitors can sit, allow patrons to reflect on the lives lost on 9/11.
There are also a handful of SL community members dressed as police officers and firemen, appropriately paying homage to the heroes who put forth every effort possible to save the lives of those trapped in the World Trade Center Towers. One SL community member stood in a military salute-like pose; dressed in black, his avatar acted as a reminder of all the lives lost on that unfortunate day.
Yet to say that US Citizens were the only ones affected by this tragedy is a horrible misnomer. Angel David Castañeda, for instance, is originally from Mexico, and was 10 years old when 9/11 happened. He explains, “That day, I was in the school….my mom calls me [while I was at] school, because she was worried [about] me. I’m from México but that news terrorized the whole world…” Because English is not his native language, he had some difficulty describing his reaction, but his description is a sentiment many shared–and continue to share–about this fateful day.
Castañeda continues, “When I got home, I saw on television what had happened. [Even] at my age I could understand the suffering of those people who were trapped. That marked me for life…”
To reiterate that other nations were also affected by this tragedy, there is a section that features all the flags of various nations, reminding us that while this tragedy happened on US soil, it impacted the world.
For many members of the SL community, 9/11 happened while they were at work. Fitzwilliam Darcy, who brought his infant son, Noah to the SL 9/11 memorial, explains, “I was at work, and a coworker told me ‘planes had bombed the WTC.’ I didn’t know what she meant until I found a TV. I remember my boss wasn’t ‘all there’ that day, I didn’t know why until someone told me he had family in the Towers…”
When asked to explain what he missed most about the Twin Towers, Darcy states, “The NYC skyline is forever changed. It’s weird to watch old movies and TV shows with the NY skyline, with the twin towers featured prominently. But what I miss most is the spirit of September 12. America is so divided politically and socially now. But on Sept. 12, 2001, there were no Republicans, Democrats, or whatever. There were only Americans.”
Echoing Darcy’s sentiment, Freelance Photographer and 9/11 Memorial visitor patron Gideaninja Dagger states, “In RL, I was on my way to a new job [when] I received the news on my pager. I thought it was a hoax, a prank…I couldn’t believe it.”
How SL Community Members Pay Homage to 9/11 Victims
Gideaninja Dagger was kind enough to not only answer questions for The SL Parade, but also supply photos of the 9/11 Memorial Site from his Flickr page. Besides paying homage to the 9/11 victims by helping The SL Parade, Dagger describes other ways he pays homage to those that perished on 9/11. He explains, “I give to charities both in SL and RL…..I will also change my Facebook page…like I’m sure a lot of folks will…”
When asked how he pays homage to those that perished on 9/11, Fitzwilliam Darcy says, “I fly my flags- US and state flags, at half mast. Sometimes on Sept. 11, I might play the old VHS I recorded of the news coverage. But on this day every year, no matter what I’m doing, I always remember the significance of the day, and where I was.”
Angel David Castañeda continues by saying, “I just try to share information [that] I’ve seen on the internet about the truth of what happened. I always liked to share the truth.” This, along with visiting the SL 9/11 Memorial site, are key ways that Castañeda keenly reflect on how his life was impacted at such a young age by this tragic act of violence.
Angel David Castañeda adds, “I think the [SL 9/11 Memorial site] is good….very well done…” He continues by suggesting, “Perhaps a filter to prevent people who annoy others…I see there are relatives of the deceased here, I think they deserve some respect….”
Note: If you would like to visit the Stagg Island 9/11 Memorial Sim, please feel free to click on this link: 9/11 Memorial Sim, Stagg Island. Like The SL Parade, the Stagg Island Memorial SIM relies on generous patron donations in order to sufficiently maintain its SIM, as well as appropriately pay homage to those that perished on 9/11…