Wednesday, 11 September 2013 02:12

In Memory of those we lost

Written by  Fredrick C. Hela
Let us NOT forget Let us NOT forget

If the horror of 11 September 2001 was immediately evident to the millions of people who were transfixed by the images on their television screens, the precise scale of it would take much longer to realise. The most indelible number of all those associated with the attacks – the death toll – was one of the slowest to emerge. Weeks after 9/11, it peaked at 6,000. Ten years later, it has settled at 2,996, including the 19 hijackers. But the remains of 41 per cent of victims, sifted from the debris of what became known as Ground Zero, have still not been identified.

Quantifying destruction that seemed unfathomable has become as important as the continuing quest to give names to the fragments of the dead. Statisticians, scientists, journalists and, less helpfully, conspiracy theorists, have taken on the challenge, mining official reports, witness testimonies and the crash sites themselves in their attempts to create a record of an event that has generated more column inches and hours of TV footage than any other.

The figure of almost 3,000 remains the most compelling, as the stories of those victims continue to be told and recorded. For the generation of children who start secondary school this week with no recollection of the day that shaped a decade, the evolving record of 9/11 is all there is.

As time fades the memories of the rest of us, the shock waves created by the four airliners continue to be felt across the world. Anniversaries – and the spikes in coverage that they produce – add dimension to a disaster that itself became known as a number.

Let us never forget this tragedy, and all those innocent people that died, as well as the many heroes that threw their lives into helping.