The Names

In: English and Literature

Submitted By yuchieht
Words 969
Pages 4
The Names ( revised ) This year is the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks: a tragic incident that impacts every aspect of the Americans’ lives. This year, there are many television programs and commemorations dedicated to the victims of the September 11 attacks. In the end of a television broadcast, Billy Collins— who was appointed United States Laureate for the years 2001-2003 in June 2001— narrated his poem: “The Names.” “The Names” was presented to the public at the first anniversary of the incident. This poem is about the people whom we lost, and the horrid day which we experienced. The first thing we notice in this poem is the names mentioned within the poem. The final count of the September 11 attacks was 2,749. It is impossible for the author to incorporate all of the names in one poem. He uses all 26 letters to symbolize the names of all the victims; he chooses one name to represent each letter. Here is an example: “I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened, then Baxter and Calabro, Davis and Eberling, names falling into place as droplets fell through the dark.” Among all the victims, some people were unaccounted for. The author assigns the letter X to represent those missing people: “Let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound.” During the September 11 attacks, posters and signs were made to show whom the families were looking for. The missing people were announced on TV and radio broadcasts. On each anniversary of the September 11 attacks, we still can see or hear these names on TV, radio, and other occasions. We are again surrounded by these victims, even though they are long gone. The author creates a vivid image in the poem to illustrate this feeling: “Names written in the air and stitched into the cloth of the day.” He places these names in alphabetic order, and arranges them throughout the poem. We can sense…...

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