Thousands Form Human Chain In San Francisco Five-Mile Banner Displayed Artist's Work In Memory Of Victims, Survivors
Sep 9, 2002
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)
A 5-mile ribbon of red, white and blue flapped in the morning breeze beneath the Golden Gate Bridge as some 2,000 volunteers formed a human chain along the coast to remember those who died a year ago in the terrorist attacks. The banner, containing more than 5,000 American flags, stretched as far as one could see Sunday and took nearly two hours to unfurl a sight artist Jian-Hai "Pop" Zhao has worked much of the year to experience. "I wanted to create this kind of artwork to bring people together from different communities," he said. "It's a beautiful thing to do." Some volunteers chatted and laughed as the banner was unrolled, while others used the event as a time to reflect. "To have people come out and do something that pays tribute to those who were lost but also brings people together, there's a sense of closure that's a piece of it," said Lori Chelius, a University of California, Berkeley graduate student who held a piece of the banner with the Bay Area chapter of the American Red Cross. Zhao's artwork, called "Celebrate: Life, Liberty, Beauty," is believed to be the longest such work in the world commemorating the tragedy. Its panels were emblazoned with American flags, silhouettes of the bridge and rainbow trim representing the community's diversity. Zhao made the Guinness Book of Records last year by creating a 6.25-mile Olympic Dragon constructed of similar panels on the Great Wall of China. The event attracted Chinese dignitaries and world attention prior to China winning the bid for the summer 2008 games. A native of Beijing, Zhao moved to the United States 14 years ago and made his home in San Francisco. He began working on the Sept. 11 project soon after the attacks, paying for most of it himself with some help from volunteers. As an immigrant, Zhao said he wanted to create something that promoted a feeling of solidarity within the nation and the world.