Behind The Lens: Tracing a Name

A Marine in a formal red outfit traces a name on the 9/11 Memorial with his gloved finger. Several other Marines stand behind him.
A Marine traces a name on the 9/11 Memorial. Photo by Jin Lee, 9/11 Memorial.

This young Marine was part of a drill team that recently performed at the 9/11 Memorial. Before the drill began, I noticed him at the parapets slowly tracing this name with his finger.

He must have been very young on 9/11. And now he is serving his country in the military, so I wondered about how he was feeling as a Marine visiting the Memorial that day.

About a dozen other Marines were nearby, talking to one another as they waited to begin the drill. But he stood separately from the others and stayed so still and quiet.

He took such care as he traced each letter of the name. The still image doesn’t show his purposeful movements. This solemn and steady tracing of his hand along one person’s name seemed to be this Marine’s way of paying respect to that person and to all 2,983 people named on the Memorial.   

By Jin Lee, 9/11 Memorial

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