Saturday, May 21, 2011

Presentation at View Point School in Calabasas, CA

Dr. Bob Dworkoski spoke quietly, eyes taking everything in. ‘It’s hard to put into words. This is just a moving, powerful experience.’ The Headmaster of View Point School went on to explain that he ‘didn’t know how having this sculpture come to campus would work out.’ Watching his students reaching into a box of paper and pens, writing down their thoughts and climbing a stepladder to slip their notes into the heart of the cross it was clear that the message – some message – had gotten through.
What does 9/11 mean to someone who was five years old at the time? To someone who was too young to have any memory of that day? To someone who didn’t even exist ten years ago, and only knows of a place called New York from TV?
The kids came in waves, one and two classes at a time. They came to see, out of pointed interest or simple curiosity, this cross sculpture thing their teachers had told them about. ‘Imagine this huge building crashing down,’ Jon said, painting a picture for the students as they stood in a half circle around him. ‘And then think about these firemen running into the building right next to that, risking their lives to go try to help save people they didn’t even know.’
Holding an almost impossibly heavy chunk of steel from the World Trade Center in their hands, the students seemed to grasp, to some degree, the horror of that day. As time goes by these young men and women, these rough-and-tumble boys and giggling girls, will journey into adulthood. As they do, they will gain some kind of clearer understanding of just what happened on that terrible morning – and how the world they would eventually inherit had been changed forever. Maybe they’ll see the cross on TV, standing in front of St. Peter’s, and remember the messages they wrote. And maybe they’ll feel just a little more deeply, a little more personally connected to that day so long ago.
As his classmates were writing notes to put inside the cross, tenth grader Matt Anderson made his way over to Jon. ‘Thank you so much,’ he said, intensity in his eyes, peace in his voice. ‘It’s truly a wonder, what you’re doing.’
This was the sentiment echoed by many of the students invited to get up close and personal with the Journey.
Matt went further as I stood next to him, off to the side. ‘This is a great example of a person wanting to help people affected by difficult times. Jon wants to help, he cares, he’s willing to do this for people.’
A great example indeed.
Without meaning to Jon has created a way for people everywhere - from LA to New York, from the mountains of Durango to the streets of Chicago, in the diners and outside the gas stations all along our way – to feel that, however close or far they were to the pain of that bright, sunny day in New York, they are just a little closer to the healing process that this Journey represents.