The United Nations observed the third annual International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism on Friday, August 21, with a virtual commemoration that included a short film on the power of remembrance and an interactive panel discussion with victims of terrorism, members of associations of terror survivors, and experts on memorialization.
In a panel discussion led by former journalist, Nicolas Hénin, Alice M. Greenwald, president and CEO of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, joined with Levent Altan, director of the EU Centre of Expertise for Victims of Terrorism; Gabriela Bejan, coordinator of the Lebanese Association of Victims of Terrorism; and Nidhi Chaphekar and James Ndeda, both victims of terrorism, in a wide-ranging discussion that included how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the ability to honor and commemorate victims and survivors of terrorism.
Greenwald discussed how the pandemic demonstrates the connectedness of all life and how the 9/11 attacks, which killed people from 90 nations across diverse economic circumstances, ages, ethnicities, and religious faiths, illustrate how "any of us" could have been a victim, arriving at work or boarding a plane, that September morning.
"At the heart of our Museum is this fundamental conviction: that bearing witness to the unimaginable is the only way to imagine a way beyond it," Greenwald said. "Our story is about the people most directly affected by 9/11. And our intention is to undercut the very presumption of terrorism: that victims become nameless abstractions."
The entire panel, “Not Forgotten: Stories of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism,” can be viewed on the United Nations' YouTube page. The 9/11 Memorial & Museum also recognized International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism on the 9/11 Memorial plaza. Caitlin Leavey, a teacher who has worked with international victims of terrorism and children impacted by trauma and who lost her father, FDNY Lt. Joseph Leavey, when she was just 10 years old, placed a tribute at the Survivor Tree.
By 9/11 Memorial Staff