After the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, family and friends of those missing put Xeroxed images of their loved ones on walls, lampposts, phone booths, and subway entrances all over Manhattan, in the hope that the people would be found alive and return home.
Within days, a collection of these "missing" photos had appeared spontaneously outside Bellevue Hospital. "The wall of prayers" attracted a steady stream of visitors. Many bowed their heads in prayer. Others burst into tears. The images all seemed to be of young men and women in their 20s and 30s.
As I stood there, taking in the scene, Fatou Ndiyae arrived. She carried a tiny white bundle in her arms and joined the line of visitors. I noticed her colorful African dress and the tiny hand resting on her shoulder. To me, she seemed a symbol of hope in a grieving city, a grieving world. Fatou's newborn daughter reminded me that beauty and life continue, and endure.