A Memorial for the LivingRevisionist History
- 3,350 views
- 20 Aug 2020
Lessons from the world’s most perfect memorial.
Get Revisionist History updates first by signing up for our newsletter at pushkin.fm.
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
A question was nagging me, who killed truth, this truth problem? It isn't just bad, it's deadly. I'm Jalapa and I'm a historian at Harvard and a staff writer at The New Yorker. I spent a lot of time trying to solve mysteries like this one, so I decided to start a podcast. It's called The Last Archive. I'll tell 10 stories from the last hundred years, A History of America and of our arguments about truth and evidence. The last archive brought to you by Pushkin Industries.
In the space of a week back before the world came to a halt, I took two trips. One was to downtown Manhattan, to the 9/11 memorial. I'm ashamed to say I had never visited before, even though I live in Manhattan, one express subway stop away. I'd seen pictures. I'd walked right by it, but for some reason, I'd never gone right up to it. So I did finally saw the two big holes in the ground marking the spot where the Twin Towers once stood, saw the waterfalls, the Blackstone, the somber lines of trees surrounding the memorial.
It was pouring rain. There was no one else there. My second trip was to Jacksonville, Florida, to unseasonably cold winter days. I wanted to see a chart. I know that might seem hard who goes to Florida to see a chart? But there I sat in the conference room of what looked like an old bank right by the freeway, and someone hooked a laptop up to a big screen and showed me a scatterplot x axis, y axis, a bunch of dots, each in the shape of a human figure.
At the time, I didn't think of my visit to Florida and my visit to the 9/11 memorial as connected, they were just two random quests that seemed like they might lead somewhere. That's what I do at the beginning of every year when I start to research for a new season of the show, I spend a lot of time pursuing random ideas. But then March came and the world turned very strange and very dark. And I sat in my room and realized that those two trips were about the same thing.
My name is Malcolm Gladwell. You're listening to Revisionist History, my podcast about things overlooked and misunderstood.
This is the final episode of a season that has been preoccupied with understanding our attachments to objects, to rituals, to traditions, to elaborate bits of machinery like airplanes. This episode is about our attachment to our memories, the things we choose to remember as a society and the things we choose to forget. In September of 2001, when two hijacked passenger jets crashed into the World Trade Towers in New York City, a young architect named Michael Arad was living in downtown Manhattan.
And Lee. A couple of nights after the attack, I was on my bicycle and I made my way to Washington Square Park and at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, there were a dozen or so people standing around that fountain at the middle of the park. And there was no ceremony. There is no speech. There is just people standing there together, not even, you know, ones and twos and threes. And when I walked up to the edge of that fountain and stood next to a stranger, I felt for the first time in two or three days that sense that something shift that.
I was supported by these people and in turn, just by standing next to them, I was supporting them. And I think that sense of. Belonging for the first time pushed me some way to want to participate in this idea for a memorial. A memorial.
The vision that came to Arad was of two giant empty concrete vessels in the Hudson River, a few blocks from the Twin Towers, each roughly the size and shape of the footprint of the towers themselves. Arad: Imagining the surface of the Hudson River
somehow, shorn opened, forming these two square voids in the water, cascading into these voids and never filling them up. And so they remain these empty, inexplicable vessels.
A few years later, the city set up a competition to design a memorial for the site. It was the largest design competition in history, over 5000 entries from 63 countries, including some of the most famous architects in the world. Michael Arad was a nobody. He worked for New York's Housing Authority, designing police stations.
He took his original idea and moved it from the Hudson River to the actual site of the fallen Towers to deep voids representing the footprint of the Twin Towers, each with a waterfall and reflecting pool ringed by the names of those who died. He entered and he won.
The Towers were about two hundred and twelve feet across, and the reflecting pools that you see on the site today are one hundred seventy six feet across from waterfall to waterfall.
That waterfall is ringed by an eight-foot wide water table. That brings that out further to one hundred ninety six, if I'm not mistaken. And then surrounding that.
The Watertable, where the names are displayed is a area where you can walk around the pools and that is ringed by trees, and so that first row of trees that surrounds each pool is precisely 212 feet across.
He called his design, Reflecting Absence, a precise representation of what was taken away on the morning of 9/11. Arad: What I wanted to do is convey to people who come here very clearly, without embellishment, how large these Towers were, and that's very evident when they stand on the edge of that pool and there is something that no photograph can capture until you're there-- the sense of the scale of the you, as a person, next to this enormous space --it's something you have to experience there, and to see the thousands of names that surround these two pools to convey the loss of so many lives.
Arad conceived of something simple and beautiful, the task of making it real fell to the Port Authority.
The Port Authority builds and runs much of the transportation infrastructure in the New York region: the bridges, tunnels, airports. They're like the metro areas', in-house engineer, contractor and handyman, all in one, if your handyman had an annual budget in the billions. They actually built the original World Trade Center and the responsibility for building the memorial was theirs.
(Person 1) Nice to see you. (Person 2) You're right on time. Today. Yeah, so we were just chatting.
And so I asked the two former Port Authority executives who oversaw the memorial project, Chris Ward and David Tweedie, to meet me at Ground Zero.
I wanted to understand what it means to make memory real in the way that A-Rod was proposing the complexity of just building it and the complexity of the symbolism and the culture of why did people choose to put so much into the site, which then exacerbated and made worse tractability. You're going to walk around a bit better. Why don't we start by a really simple remember, the 9/11 memorial wasn't an ordinary project.
The design committee made it clear that they wanted something built on the site of the old towers, which created a logistical nightmare because ground zero isn't some vacant lot, it's one of the most dense urban spaces in the country.
I met the Port Authority guys in the lobby of four World Trade Center, which is 72 stories high but is also a one World Trade Center at 104 stories and a two or three, a planned five and a seven World Trade Center, plus the 9/11 Museum, a performing arts center and a massive transit hub with a path commuter trains enter from New Jersey. The hub looks like the bones of a beached whale or a giant hair clip. Depending on your perspective, that structure also contains a mall.
And underneath it all, running right to the middle is a subway line, the number one train. All of these structures had to be built at the same time as Michael Arad's memorial voids. And because everything is basically on top of everything else, the logistics of planning and building were overwhelming. So you have memorialisation, you have a museum, you have real estate, you've got a security center, you've got an ecumenical religious group, you pour all that in and then you've got the overlay of the families were wondering, you know, where's my commemoration?
Where will I mourn? You put that all in and it's impossible to disentangle a set of priorities.
Tweedie Wood and I stood by the two black stone voids in the pouring rain and they tried to explain what they went through.
So we use the analogy that the construction was so difficult because it was like the children's game of pickup sticks that if you if you know that little game where you've got the multicolored sticks and if you pick one up, the other one moves and then you lose, everything here is connected.
The political leadership in New York made it clear that the memorial had to be finished in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks, September 11th, 2011, just to be tangible about it.
The Memorial Plaza, which we were under huge pressure to get done by the 10th anniversary, is sitting on the ceiling of the hub, the hub, the place where all the underground transit lines converge.
We have to completely refashion the construction process of how that hub got built, that huge cost, by the way, in order to get this done. So they built top down rather than the normal traditional.
The normal traditional way is to build from the bottom up, start with the foundation, go from there. And Tweedie says the Port Authority originally had a plan to do things that way.
The problem was when you did that schedule, the Memorial Plaza wouldn't have been done until the end of 2013. And so that's when we were starting to go. Wait a minute, the city is not going to tolerate the Port Authority telling them. We're telling them you're going to have to wait till 2013 before you can commemorate the anniversary. And dates matter. I mean, ten years is different than thirteen years, which is different than, you know, twelve years in, you know, the engineers, a couple of them came up with the idea, build the ceiling first, basically across the entire site with the ceiling, which is the ceiling of what's below us.
But most importantly, it's the floor of the plaza. And then once you've done that, build down from there, as if that wasn't enough.
The governor of New York at the time insisted that the subway, the number one line, keep running throughout all this. So they had to build a box around the subway tracks, suspend the box high above the site and work around it, which is one of those odd facts that you only think about if you live in New York and you took the number one train, as I did many times in those years, and you suddenly realized that on all of those trips you were in a real life version of Jenga.
You know, the game where you have a stack of building blocks and you remove them one by one until everything crashes.
So there is a whole re engineering of how you support the one train, how the path train would get protected. And remember, you've got an operating room. So you're you're building a temporary structure and housing the ceiling of a hub with train tracks below you. The one below the one is here, but the path trains through literally building a platform. That's right. That's exactly you. You build a platform and then you clomp the memorial on top of the platform, even as things are going on and then you're feeding.
And that's what I was getting at before. You're feeding the construction horizontally rather than vertically, which, as you know, at about sixty million dollars worth of additional cost to handle them. Like I was saying, at one point, you had people hand excavating underneath the one train because there just wasn't room to get any heavy equipment down.
If you could put the memorial in the Hudson River, you wouldn't have this problem. Of course, you just build some pilings into the riverbed. And if you didn't have to race and finished by September 11th, 2011, your life would be easier as well. You could start at the bottom and build up the normal way, not start at the top and build down in the service of fulfilling the very strict requirements of memory. Something that could have been straight forward was turned into something very complicated.
OK, so again, take something as simple as that. Exactly where we're standing here. Here's here's the brass with all the names.
We were standing by the perimeter of one of the voids. What was pointing at the rows of names of all those who died in the attacks. The names are in Boston brass and inlaid into the void stone walls. It's meant to be something solid that people can touch.
But if you're the Port Authority, you have to think through the implications of that due to the ability for brass to capture heat and then up a really, really hot day. Someone could put their hand down on this. They could get literally a second degree murder if the sun had been on this all day. So there's a cooling system underneath. Brass, so it will always stay safe so people can end up touching at the same time if a little kid in the middle of winter when it's freezing out here and wanting to stick his tongue on it, you know, the famous, you get stuck to the flag on the playground.
So there's a heating system underneath here as well. So just to end up showing these names, you've got a system which is both heating and cooling, a copper facade here for where the names are etched. If you just did concrete wood, you know, there are a lot of different ways you could have put names, you know. Yeah. Out there. But this was and they're all back lit, as you can see. So in some respects, would there be a more efficient way to have names on it?
Absolutely. But this is a special site.
In the end, the price tag for the national September 11 Memorial and Museum came to somewhere around 700 million dollars. To put that in perspective, the cost of the Vietnam Memorial in today's dollars was 20 million. The cost of the Lincoln Memorial in today's dollars was 45 million.
Now is seven hundred million dollars too much? I don't know. It depends on what you're comparing it to. I suppose the point is that we could have done it for less, but we chose not to because we wanted to memorialize that event as perfectly and precisely as possible down to its dimension's location and date of completion. When we want to, we take our memories very seriously.
The maintenance schedule on that kind of thing must be intense. I mean, you're right, it can't fail, right? It's exactly on the ice in the winter. You write that every part of this global warming makes it easier.
So one of the problems is, is if you'll see the way the water flows underneath the perimeter, it's horizontal to the to the ground here about the side. You get a heavy wind in the wintertime and it whips across the top.
It picks up moisture and then blows it on this brick, which then potentially creates ice conditions between keeping the fountains going and security and the heating and cooling systems and the museum staff and chipping the ice off the brick. The operating budget for the memorial comes to another 80 million dollars a year.
So all told, we're somewhere over one point five billion dollars for the memorial.
So far, the 9/11 memorial is option number one for memory management. The alternative option number two is Jacksonville. I had another long chat with my friend no recently. Yes, that now turns out he's getting the art back together and I kind of don't blame him.
And he said to me, Malcolm, I'm having a heck of a time finding all the animals.
Only problem is he's working aspects, specs from the first time around 3000 years ago, he said to me, just take sloths, for example.
I need two main slots to pale throated sloths, to brown throated slots, to Hoffman's two toads loss and two pygmy three toad sloths. And while there were lots of three toads last last time around, now they're endangered. And even when I do think I found one, they take forever to get back to me. They're Sless.
So Noah said to me, I need a tool with powerful matching technology that helps me find the right slot for the right job and doesn't take forever getting back to me.
And I said, Noah oneword zip recruiter four out of five employers who post on zip recruiter get a quality candidate within the first day.
That's how good their matching system is. And I'm pretty sure you're not 100 percent positive that it works for last two. They are awfully ingenious over there at Zip Recruiter HQ, zip recruiter helps you find the right person for the right job. Even in cases with the person you're looking for is a three toed sloth who doesn't like to check his email, see how the recruiter can help you hire. Try it now for free at zip recruiter dotcom slash Gladwell.
That's zip recruiter dotcom slash Gladwell one more time zip recruiter dotcom slash GLAAD w e.
L l. Start your mornings with the news that matters in just 10 minutes. I'm Nyla Boodhoo, host of Axios Today. Every weekday, I'll be talking to a team of award winning journalists to bring you scoops from the White House, analysis on the economy and insights into the trends shaping our world. Axios is known for our smart brevetti reporting in our newsletters and HBO show. Now we've teamed up with Pushkin Industries to bring that to a podcast. It's like taking a seat at the smartest breakfast table in the world.
Listen, wherever you get your favorite podcasts sponsored by Chevron and Goldman Sachs. Do you have your high school diploma and a bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut? I Orgasmatron. All right. Did you ever go to jail or prison? No, I went to Jacksonville, Florida, during the count.
Every homeless organization in the country does this. During the last 10 days of January, volunteers go out and count the number of people living on the streets. The group I went to see changing homelessness had 180 volunteers divided up into shifts, morning, afternoon and evening gathering information.
What are you working on? I work for someone. Do whatever you have to do now.
So when he became homeless, did you become homeless? Did you run away from a family? Was there violence at home? Any kind of differences or whose job did you start to like?
Jacksonville did its first count more than 15 years ago, more as an academic exercise than anything else.
We really honestly thought. We knew. We knew. Why do we need to do a registry? Right. We know everybody.
That's Don Gelman who runs changing homelessness. The more they thought about this idea of a registry, the more they wondered if they were missing people. What if they were homeless people out there who never stayed in a shelter or who never showed up looking for services. So Gilman decided to do a real count.
So that was the first time we went out when it was convenient for our clients and not convenient for us. We went out between four and six a.m. on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Yeah, the idea being if you're on the streets in the early morning, you really are homeless. You are homeless. That's where you spent the night.
So now for the count, the volunteers gather before sunrise college students, formerly homeless people who remember what it was like on the streets, teachers helping out before their day starts, nurses from the nearby hospitals, they carry with them hygiene kits, toothpaste, socks, soap, shampoo.
They fan out across Jacksonville, looking under bridges, in parked cars, in abandoned buildings.
If you're sleeping, they leave you alone. If you're awake, they ask you questions. What they learn gets fed into something called the by name list. And the data from that list is graphed as a scatterplot. That was the chart. I went down to Jacksonville to see. Each homeless person they found is represented by an icon on the chart. The vertical axis is a measure of vulnerability. Do they have disabilities or mental illness? Can they take care of themselves?
The horizontal axis measures how long they've been without housing. If your name appears down in the left hand corner, that means you're pretty healthy and haven't been on the streets that long. If you're in the upper right hand corner, vulnerable and homeless for an extended period of time, that's a different story.
Looking at that scatterplot. It's not dots, it's little people. So it's always bringing it back to even though we're looking at aggregate data, we're always bringing it back to that individual who's experiencing homelessness. So we know their name. We know who they are.
The fundamental condition of homelessness is invisibility, those on the streets are the easiest to ignore and the easiest to forget, the scatterplot reminds us who they are, what their lives are like, what their needs are.
I pointed to someone way over on the right hand, side to side with the most vulnerable people are clustered. Don Gilman's colleague Charles Temple recognizes the name right away.
He's talked about every meeting that we have now. That guy, that guy, because he's our guy, we get him has like a hole that drops our hole after time.
Some of these clients, even if they're not up on the vulnerability index, they're they can be difficult people to work with.
Some people need all kinds of help. Others really only need one thing housing.
But which which ones are Clay County guy that's been out there for a long time. He's been on the list for over a year. And it's like like you said, there's just nothing out there for him. But we bring him up every week. We talk about him every week.
And we actually just last week, we may have identified a housing resource, HUD Vache might take him, make a waiver and actually accept him through every Tuesday at one o'clock in the same room where I'm sitting, all the key housing advocates in Jacksonville gather and combed through this list, all the names, one by one.
What's happening? I mean, what what is the barrier? Is it because they want to stay in a particular part of our community and there's not a whole lot of affordable housing there, is it because they have a very recent eviction? Is it because they have a very recent or a violent felony at some point? And how do we who are our landlords that will maybe work with this person?
The names on the Jacksonville list are arranged deliberately where they fall on a scatterplot gives each name meaning. And I was struck as I sat in that conference room by how similar that was to the names list at the 9/11 memorial.
The victims there suffer from the same condition of invisibility and the list of the names around the top of the voids is supposed to give them permanence.
Why not do it alphabetically, like I would like other memorials do? I think one of the biggest reason, at least in my mind, is you lose so much of the story of these people by doing that.
The job of figuring out which name went where on the parapet fell to another architect, Michael Arad Stiehm Amanda SAC's.
I think it's important to know if they were on a plane, if they were in the North Tower or the South Tower, if they were a first responder. I think it adds a level of meaning. It brings meaning to their name as much as possible. I also think, you know what of the other reasons? Just the very basic reason was there are there are a few people with very similar names. There are people with names that only the middle name is different when you when you list these people alphabetically.
I think it loses you lose the sense of people as individuals.
The guiding principle of sex is work with something Michael Arad called meaningful adjacency.
What it means is. And every person is placed. Along the parapet in a adjacency with one or two or sometimes three people, also, obviously other victims, that they were in some way close with two thousand nine hundred and eighty two people died that day.
Their names are first grouped according to the floor of the tower they worked on or the plane they were on or if they were emergency rescue, the ladder company they belong to. Then within those groups, each name of the dead was placed nearest the people who meant the most to them. Sacks had to work out each of those relationships and determine the patterns behind all those long columns of names, I would say.
I spent two years. To three years on this arrangement, just trying to understand the relationships, trying to do these kind of tests and see how it would work and whether any adjacencies that were particularly meaningful, I have to say, I think for me. The whole I mean, every every person on that memorial. Was I'm sorry, I'm getting emotional. I can't say that any any agency had any more important than any other. I mean, some stories are, you know, you think the.
Kind of crazy, like, for example, there were two women on Flight 175 and there was. Another woman on Flight 11, and I can't remember exactly what their relationship was. But I think one of them was the godparent of the other and Flight 11 went into the North Tower and Flight 175. Was went into the south tower and the fact that there were people that knew each other on those planes. Is insane sex wanted to find a way to put the names of those two people as close together as possible, maybe at the point at which the group of names who died in the North Tower touched the group of names from the South Tower.
We actually wanted them to be adjacent, adjacent as possible. So we wanted the one in the North Pole to be on the lower right hand corner. And the south pool would anyway be towards the upper north west corner.
She tried a hundred different ways to plan it out, couldn't make it work, so. Yeah, it's kind of sad, the one adjacency that we didn't get is the one that I'm that I'm remembering. Yeah, but I just, you know, as I said before. Just every name, every person has so much importance, I don't I can't really say otherwise.
We have a memorial for the dead at Ground Zero, arranged according to their relationships, and we have a memorial for the living in Jacksonville, a scatterplot of the homeless arranged according to their needs to memorials with the same intent, because when we add context to names, names become real.
But, of course, once you start reflecting on the similarities between Ground Zero and Jacksonville, then inevitably you start thinking about the differences.
Hi there, I'm Michael Lewis, host of Against the Rules, and we're back for our second season, we're talking about coaches. It wasn't that long ago that we only had coaches in sports, but now there are life coaches and coaches. You can even hire a coach to improve your online dating performance and your charisma. But coaching has become an odd source of unfairness.
Who has access to these coaches and who doesn't find against the rules wherever you listen brought to you by Pushkin Industries. Marijuana, motorcycles and mayhem, deep cover is a true story. It begins with an FBI agent going undercover in a biker gang and it ends with, well, a war, a full scale U.S. invasion.
I'm Jake Halpern. I'm a journalist. And for the story, I've been at dive bars, horse farms, backwater swamps. I've talked to FBI agents, pirate reen actors and a bunch of big time drug smugglers. Listen to deep cover now and your favourite podcast app or deep cover pod dotcom brought to you by Pushkin Industries. Initially, I was actually drawn to eastern white pine trees are very tall, towering, and there was just an evergreen and I read somewhere description of them being described as sort of the towering giants of the forest.
Michael Arad was told his original design for the 9/11 memorial was too bleak to void's on an empty, windswept plaza. So he decided to add trees.
And I thought there was something beautiful about the idea of actually them directing your gaze upward toward the sky while you were there and developed a design that had about 70 or 80 of them on the plaza, but that, you know, didn't feel quite right enough. A-Rod deliberated with his partner in the memorial's design. The landscape architect, Peter Walker, they settled on Swamp White Oaks, a gorgeous tree, peeling bark, lustrous lobed tutone leaves green with a silvery underside.
But then, of course, it was left to the Port Authority, to David Tweedie and Chris Ward to figure out how to plant a forest suspended atop a transit hub.
So then adding all of these tree weight of these trees. Yeah, delayed for at least a year, figuring out the engineering to put all these tree pods apart, put all these trees here, the amount of dirt necessary and the moisture that goes into the dirt in the weight because there is a void under Nadler's million of a different structure of additional structural support on the buildings under 40 million just to support the weight of the trees. And how many trees are there.
So we're going to say three hundred and sixty and sixty to each to each tree. So here's a tree here. What's the big box? Big box. And there's literally manmade dirt, which is super light compared to nutriment dirt with the material in it, which allows it to capture moisture to be very efficient for maintaining the health of the trees. But each box has its own moisture reader inside of it so they can tell, you know, when it's the tree is threatened.
So you've got an even sort of part of that. You've got this amount of technology that put anywhere else.
You go, oh, my God, this is these are just trees, but not just trees, perfect trees, peeling bark, lustrous lobe, tutone leaves, trees that are fed and cared for and each given their own place to live.
How big is the box? We'll probably escalate here. So like 10 by 10, 10 feet. Well, and the problem was when you began to move them over areas where there was less infrastructure underneath it, it got even more expensive to build the box and then bring this infrastructure to support the box trees with an expensive, bespoke, carefully engineered social support system.
Yeah, but again, that was driven from. Hi, how are you. Good for you.
And then suddenly a security guard came running up. Apparently, we needed authorization to conduct our interview. The attention to detail at the 9/11 memorial extends even to when and how you were allowed to engage in recorded conversation.
These are the guys who built this whole thing. I was the executive director of the Port Authority in the first quarter. So if anyone, we just talked to a police officer real quick. Yes. But fortunately, the media department does not work for the NYPD. But yes. We ended up leaving the memorial plaza for the sidewalk 50 yards away. We stood in the rain and looked back at the exacting beauty of this act of collective memory, the 9/11 memorial is perfect, but the Jacksonville memorial is not.
It's messy, a work in progress, names get taken off the list when people find apartments or move away and new people get added to the list all the time, do the exits stay ahead of the entries?
We do measure and flow outflow on a regular basis, and we want to see our inflow less than our outflow. But we are teetering pretty much on the same amount that we are exiting or the ones we are housing, the same amount that we are seeing. So it's pretty close, but I think there's still a gap in there. Yeah, yeah.
So you're not over time, you're not the numbers not shrinking. It is shrinking, but it is painfully slow.
There's no mystery why it's painfully slow.
We would love to master lease one hundred one bedroom units that are at a price point that our rapid rehousing clients could reasonably maintain. And we we just can't find them. There were a number of years well, where I've been here, I think while you were been doing this to where we could find those, they existed. They were out there like many other places, some of those older units. They're quirky and interesting. They're starting to get rehabbed.
The rents will go up. And then the people that used to be able to afford them cannot anymore.
Gilman said that right now she can find the money to put her clients in apartments that rent for up to six hundred and fifty dollars a month. But there just aren't any apartments in that range in Jacksonville. If she could find the money for an 800 dollar a month apartment, it would make things far easier. But where are you going to find an extra 150 dollars a month?
Who has that kind of money lying around? We are hitting the wall, we really we really now as a community have to pay attention to this. If our goal is to have fewer people out on the streets instead of more, we got to start figuring out how do we build more deeply affordable housing faster?
Some portion of the people who do not get help end up dying on the streets. Almost every community in the country has a service for those who've fallen. It happens in late December on winter solstice. It's become a tradition. In Jacksonville, the service is held at the city rescue mission downtown. A choir sings, a local pastor gives the homily. Then Don Gilman performs her final duty of the year. I've had the honor for the last 10 years of reading the names and the list is always too long.
And before I read the name, I remind everybody that there are six categories of homeless people and that someone's mother or someone's father, someone's son or someone's daughter or their sister or their brother.
So it's it's more than dots on a scatterplot. How many people were on the list in December? Thirty, thirty six. Thirty six. The optimist in me always thought that the ultimate purpose of memorials was that they would dress rehearsals for our collective memory, that in the course of building a shrine to the fallen, we remind ourselves of our broader obligations to the vulnerable. You give the benefit of your empathy and generosity to the memory of someone who was on a plane hijacked by terrorists or to the memory of someone who worked in a toppled tower.
And then it becomes easier to extend that empathy and generosity to the lonely and the suffering who are still among us. You get good at meaningful adjacency for the dead, and that makes you better at practicing it on the living. But that's not what happens, is it? We go to any length, any length to commemorate one person's death, deploy armies of architects and engineers, then in the same breath look the other way as we step over someone lying on the street.
A gorgeous mausoleum for the dead, a scatterplot for the living. Crystal Panzner, age 32, Sam Sadowsky, age twenty five, I went home from Jacksonville and spent an afternoon watching winter solstice services on YouTube.
Minneapolis. Philadelphia. Spokane. San Francisco. For small groups of people huddled together in the cold of a December night, holding candles, singing hymns. Margaret, Josephine Thompson, JoCo Pudsey, Marguerita, then he's reading the names of the dead, hundreds of them, George Randall, all of our age.
Twenty three. Edward through Tennyson's age 47 unknown.
Unknown, unknown. I watched until I couldn't anymore. Then I wept. Revisionist history is produced by McLibel and Leming as to which Jacob Smith, Hillary Clinton and on a name. Our editor is Julia Barton, original scoring by Lewis Scarer. Mastering by Flon Williams. Fact checking by Beth Johnson. Special thanks to the Pushkin crew, Heather Fain, Carly Migliore, Maia Canik, Eric Sandler, Maggie Taylor, Jason Gambril, and, of course, Jacob Weisberg.
And from everyone here at Pushkin, thank you for listening to another season of revisionist history. You are the reason we have the privilege of revising history every year. I'm Malcolm Gladwell.