Their messages ranged from simple, like the one above from children who are now adults, to wrenching, like this one:
At Alki Arts on Sunday night, there was no way to read all the bags on special display, let alone the ones for which there wasn’t enough room on the gallery walls:
But just the concept of their existence – echoes from the nights after 9/11, the bags for luminarias that glowed with anger, love, hope at Alki’s Statue of Liberty – is sobering enough. With the 12th anniversary of 9/11 just a few nights away, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society brought the bags out for a one-night-only display and began it with a lineup of speakers. They included Dean Keppler, who (as recounted here) briefly choked up with emotion as he recalled setting up a table with bags and pens and lights for people to make their luminarias, a “spontaneous and organic experience”:
Also speaking were City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who observed that the bags’ messages had a “common theme (of) love and justice and patriotism,” and County Executive Dow Constantine, who called 9/11 and its aftermath “a shared experience we never wanted to share.” We have it all on video, starting with the introduction by SWSHS executive director Clay Eals:
To evoke some of the 2001 experience, battery-powered tea lights lined the bottom of the walls holding hundreds of bags, and outside the gallery, some bags ringed a tree:
The bags were donated to SWSHS earlier this year.