Monday, August 28, 2006

2,996: A Tribute to the Victims of 9/11

[See update #5 below.]

I'm moving this on top until either the end of 9/10 or until all names have been assigned. If you have a blog, please consider joining this effort. There are only about 550 victims yet to be assigned with 19 days left until the 5th anniversary of 9/11. Let's make sure everyone who died on that day is remembered.

The 2,996 Project

The idea is simple, but powerful: have a special tribute for each victim of 9/11, with each tribute being created by a different blogger. We started 2,996 Project to coordinate the creation of the tributes, and that's what this site is all about. Here you can sign up to make a tribute yourself, on your blog (we'll randomly assign a victim to you). You can also browse or search through either the victims that have already been assigned, or those that have not -- and you can get pointers to more information on all of them.

UPDATE: As of today - Sunday, August 27 - there are only 71 people left unassigned with 15 days left to go. That's awesome!

UPDATE 2: 33 left as of Monday afternoon! Hopefully they'll all be taken by tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Katie Favazza and I had a brief discussion about how to write up posts on the victims. The information that can be found on 9/11 memorial pages and through web searches tends to be pretty sparse and not very personal ("sterile" is the term I use). Katie agreed. I don't think these memorial posts should sound like news articles or encyclopedia biographies. The only way I could come up with for making these posts the best that they can be is to contact the victims' families. The only problem is how to contact them tastefully. Simply writing, "Hi, I'm writing a page about your loved one for the '2,996' project. Can you help me out?" is pretty gauche, but then writing 12 paragraphs (I may be exaggerating a little) as delicately as possible before getting to the request for help isn't any more appealing. Heck, even asking "Can you help me?" in any way, shape or form seems crude and uncaring.

Expressing your condolences should be first and foremost as these people are undoubtedly still feeling the pain after five years. Next, the "2,996" project should be mentioned and briefly described in case the family hasn't heard of it yet. Finally, the request for help should be something like, "If you don't mind, I would appreciate any personal rememberences of [victim's name] that you feel would help honor [his/her] memory."

And as for those of you reading this post, I would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions you have on this issue. Thanks.

UPDATE 3: It's coming down to the wire, folks! 16 names left as of early evening on Monday. I hope they'll be taken before midnight hits the East Coast - I've got a good feeling about it. Just a few days ago, the number was still in the thousands and the goal seemed almost impossible to reach by September 11th. Amazing!

UPDATE 4: Two names One name (it just changed!) left with less than an hour to go before midnight hits the East Coast.

UPDATE 5: YEAH! All names have been assigned! Fantastic! (I'll be letting this post drop down the page now.)

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