Eleven Tears

Eleven silver strands of light,
Eleven facets of a gleaming heart,
Eleven tears, forever falling, on
Eleven names in a tranquil pool.

While the government is still years away from constructing even the simplest memorial to the thousands who died on September 11, 2001, American Express has commissioned and constructed a work of art to honor the 11 AMEX employees killed in the terrorist attack.

Entitled 11 Tears, it occupies a lobby corner of American Express’ corporate headquarters at the World Financial Center. The work was designed by landscape architect Ken Smith, a native of Iowa who now lives and works in lower Manhattan. It “unites sky and ground, heaven and earth” and incorporates natural elements: water, light, quartz crystal and black granite. At the center is a 600 pound tear-shaped piece of Brazilian quartz, which was carved to have 11 sides, one for each victim.

The massive crystal is set into a stainless steel ring and suspended from the ceiling by 11 thin cables. Beneath the point of the upside-down tear is an 11 sided black granite pool; each side is inscribed with the name of an employee and a few words, selected by those who knew them best, to summarize the people they were.

At random intervals, 11 drops of water fall from the ceiling into the pool, creating intersecting ripples, “symbolizing the connections among the close-knit group of colleagues and friends.” The fountain is surrounded by benches of matching black granite.

Visitors sitting there and looking through the windows find themselves gazing directly at the site where the 11 died, working as American Express travel counselors on the 94th floor of One World Trade Center.

Lisa Kearney-Griffin Posted by Picasa

Bridget Esposito Posted by Picasa

Benito Valentin Posted by Picasa

Yvonne Bonomo Posted by Picasa

Anne Talsky Ransom Posted by Picasa

Lucia Crifasi Posted by Picasa

Karen Renda Posted by Picasa

Paul T. Zois Posted by Picasa

Sigrid Wiswe Posted by Picasa

Loretta Ann Vero Posted by Picasa

Gennardy Boyarsky Posted by Picasa

Out the window is the World Trade Center Posted by Picasa

In Memoriam Posted by Picasa

Architect Ken Smith Posted by Picasa

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    29 Responses to Eleven Tears

    1. Phelan says:

      Wonderful memorial.


    2. Anonymous says:

      Thank you for posting this. It is amazing.


    3. Madame U says:

      For some reason when I read this I thought of Margaret Mead’s quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

      Thank you for posting this. I am so glad to see these efforsts to memorialize the people who were lost, especially since our government has shamefully done nothing.


    4. Anonymous says:

      This is a beautiful tribute to those people who worked for American Express. When I came with my daughter’s high school chorus in April, this memorial brought tears to all of us even though we didn’t know the people. THANK YOU for making this amazing memorial.


    5. Betty Jenkins says:

      This is a beautiful memorial. I expected to see some sort of memorial for 9/11 at the ground zero site and was disappointed to see construction that appears to be going nowhere. I was saddened to see that nothing has been done for the thousands of Americans who died on that day but pleased that American Express has honored their 11 co workers. Congratualtions American Express.


    6. Karen Kertley says:

      Thank you for posting this. It is a wonderful memorial. I too was an American Express employee. I was about 25 blocks up from WTC. Our office had a wonderful view of the buildings. I was in my office on that dreadful day. I watched the 2nd plane go in and people jump out of the buildings. I watched them collapse. It was like being in movie. I suffered for six months after with flashbacks and nightmares. American Express took care of me and got me back on track for the most part. I have since moved away from the city and left the company. I am happy to see this website and the opportunity to share. God Bless my lost colleagues. You are gone, but never forgotten. I wear my red/white and blue ribbon every year on 911.


    7. Helen Stirling says:

      I am from Canada and had the priviledge and honor of seeing the Memorial at the Amercian Express Building last week while I visited NY for the first time. I was deeply touched by the memorial. May we never forget those who simply went to work that morning. My deepest sympanthies to the families who lost their loved ones. May this memorial remind you of how very special they were to you and to the American Express family. God Bless.


    8. Stella Matsuda says:

      I was mesmerized by the memorial, reading the names and honoring these 11 individuals. It was only later that I realized there were random drops of water (tears) falling. I would love to incorporate this memory along with the poem into a dance.


    9. Brigitte says:

      From France…..
      few words to tell to Ken Smith how sensible is this memorial we discovered. It was difficult for us to leave it. A very noble and stiring translation for us coming from Europe. We’ll never forget …. for this NY we love.


    10. Melissa Allocco says:

      Thank you for posting this. My dearest friend Yvonne Bonomo and my other fellow Amex employees will live on in our hearts and minds forever. I was there for the unveiling of this memorial and am so proud to know that they will be forever remembered by this beautiful display.


    11. No one says:

      I know I’m late but I saw that on my last visit to NYC (I’m from Germany) and I have to say this is probably the greatest memorial one can ever have. So touching. I cried in the Visitor Center and I cried seeing this.


    12. Sandra G. McClanahan says:

      My son and I just got back from a trip to Manhattan, and one of the highlights was the Ground Zero/Lower Manhattan tour, which included this very touching memorial, 11 Tears. American Express has stepped up to the plate, and has remembered its eleven lost employees in a way that brings them honor, and makes all who view it feel a sense of who they were, and how much they were loved, and will be missed. Excellent job, American Express, and Ken Smith.


    13. Anne Patefield says:

      My husband and I visited this site on 30th December 2009 as part of our tour of the WTC Tribute Site. Our guides were magnificent – Sarah and Patrick – their stories were so moving. The memorial is definitely the most thought-provoking and moving I have ever seen – it brought together so many elements of the people and the disaster. You cannot help but be moved by it and you have to appreciate the skill of the designer. We must not forget what happened here – this centre will make sure we don’t.
      American Express should be praised for their efforts in producing this memorial.


    14. Peggy says:

      Ken Smith is brillant. We visited the memorial as part of a tour. Our tears flowed and hearts were touched by the tranquility and beauty of such of well designed and thoughtful memorial for those lives lost. The memorial was a very emotional moment during our visit to ground zero!


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    16. dakota says:

      Ken Smith is brillant. I am very moved by his memorial and for the people that lost their lives.


    17. MaryLou Snow says:

      Sharing more photos from the site of this memorial dedicated to our American Express Employees who perished.


    18. claire murray says:

      i too seen this memorial on my first visit to new york with my mum and it just touched me i felt moved and sorrow at the same time. its such a beautiful thing the company did for them to make sure there remembered and a place there familes can go and sit with there loved ones. i was reading the words they wrote and it brought tears to my eyes. and the way the tears fall is amazing the girl that took us round was tellign us the story and how the all worked together and also went out together and the company felt it was right to do this for them to keep them all together in one place r.i.p my heart goes out to everyone from the events of that day and i hope there in a good place looking down on there loved ones taken care of them


    19. Colleen Sullivan-Howard says:

      I was an American Express Travel Counselor in Georgia at the time and I remember making over 300 red, white and blue ribbons for the 1st anniversary. I still have mine at my desk today. I am so proud of the American Express folks for dedicating this site for the lost employees/family members. Yes, I said family members, because that is the way we were always treated. I am proud to say I worked for American Express for 10 yrs and would go back today. My thoughts and pryaers go out to the families that lost love ones that day, but know that they are not lost, they are in heaven watching over all of us. God Bless


    20. Holly Gianfrancesco says:

      I found out recently that one of the AMEX employees was my cousin. Loretta Ann Paolo Vero. Thank you for the memorial.


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    25. katie says:

      My Christmas wish this year is that an angel wisphers into her sisters ear to stop hurting all and everyone I love so dear.
      The pain of my loss is too much to bear,we all had to watch an American hero, go way too soon its just not fair.


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    27. […] building, I pass a beautiful crystal rock which is suspended over a black marble reflecting pool. Eleven tears of water fall into the pool in timed intervals to represent the eleven employees of American […]


    28. Damaris Haegele says:

      Loretta Vero…….A true professional, serious in her purpose of being a significant employee. I can still picture her in my mind, coming down the hall, cup in hand to get her coffee at Home Lines Cruises. May her family and loved ones find solace in God’s love and peace. As for me I remember her quite often and pray that God has her in the hollow of his hands. Rest in peace my dear girl. Damaris


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