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Borough Hall art installation celebrates peace

One by one Borough President Helen Marshall along with other borough dignitaries lit candles that circled a section of the garden in front of Borough Hall as small flags attached to the wrought iron fence outside fluttered in the wind.

The solemn ceremony on Sept. 11 as the sun began its descent honored Queens’ residents who lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center last year.

“Today our hearts and minds are consumed with compassion, love and grief for the many families who have lost their loved ones,” Marshall said.

“Yes, our city and our country have changed; we now understand the high cost of freedom,” she said. “We have witnessed the mammoth heroism of ordinary people.”

The small flags in five different colors along with a giant tapestry inside Borough Hall were part of an art installation which commemorated the day when more than 200 residents from all over the borough were killed when two planes toppled the World Trade Center.

Each flag had an inspirational phrase written on it from some of the world’s greatest thinkers: Francis Bacon, Albert Einstein, Frederick Douglas, Albert Camus and many others.

“Grieve not ... nor speak to me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as though I was besides you. I loved you so ‘twas heaven here with you,” said one phrase from an Irish blessing.

A saying by Frederick Douglas said “power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.”

The phrases was copied onto the flags in black ink by the artist, Sunnyside resident Robyn Love.

“It is based in Tibetan prayer flags,” Love said. “The prayers on cotton flags in five colors represent the elements. The idea is the wind carries the prayers throughout the world.”

When Love saw Tibetan prayer flags, she said she was very moved and thought it was a fitting idea to memorialize the people who perished in the Towers. The phrases she wrote on the flags come from people around the world.

“I did an e-mail request — for quotes about peace — to people I know all over the world. And people sent me the phrases.”

The second piece of art was a giant tapestry by Maspeth artist Denise Jaklitsch. She said each symbol in the piece puts into “some historical context what has happened.”

The eagle, stripes and stars represent the United States, while the Towers and the section of the fallen Trade Center depicts the before and after.

“May the phantom image of the magnificent Twin Towers never fade but stand forever tall in our broken hearts,” she said, “reminding us to reach for the stars.”

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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