A memorial to put the faces of the missing in a collapsed building in Florida
Lorenzo and Alfredo, Ilan and Deborah: The victims of the collapsed building at Surfside near Miami are no longer numbers but names and faces, a temporary memorial installed on the fence of the camp’s basic lifeguard on Saturday.
Behind the gates, an alleyway, smoke still pours from the Champlain Towers building with a wing amputated, and we hear the sound of a crane clearing the debris of the disaster on Wednesday night, killing at least four people killed and 159 went missing. Thursday.
Below the picture of Alfredo, the father with the beard and glasses, and his teenage brown-haired son Lorenzo, the words “Missing” and a message: “A friend of the family tells me they were in Apartment 512”.
There is also a picture of an elderly couple at a table in a restaurant, of a young man in a suit and bow tie, or of a couple, Ilan Nabrief and Deborah Berezdivin, embracing on the beach. Sometimes Bible passages were written on a sticky note.
Bouquets of flowers were hung around the photographs and candles were placed on the floor.
“We see the smoke from afar, and the faces of the missing here, they are now unforgettable,” Olivia Ostro, a French woman who has lived in this small town north of Miami for 20 years, told AFP.
“We put faces on these 159 missing, these parents, these children. They are people like us,” she explains with tears in her eyes.
Gina Berlin, who has been living in the neighborhood for nearly 30 years, had come to pray for the missing. “I am still in shock,” said the 54-year-old woman, some friends who lived in the untouched part of the building and were able to escape.
– Peace and Meditation –
However, it is difficult for people to assemble amidst the noise of power generators and emergency vehicles plying to and from the base camp. The police even stopped people from stopping in front of the memorial for a time.
A few streets ahead, the stillness of a park also turned into a place of memory, in contrast to the cacophony of cranes.
Neighboring residents have erected a small monument at the entrance to a dog park on the corner of a street lined with tiny houses. Bouquets of flowers, messages of support and the names of several missing people were hung on the railing along with the numbers of their apartments.
Dana Calvin, 53, got the idea on Friday. Referring to the families of the missing, she said, “I just want to extend my prayers and my love to the community and especially to those who are waiting for answers.”
Daniela Calzadilla, 48, sits cross-legged on a bench while her dog Paco works out.
“Here you can find peace,” she explains. “I know a lot of families who have passed away, meditation is great for feeling calm in your body and mind,” she explains.
Passing through the front of the park, Rafael stops in front of the Immortal Memorial.
This 63-year-old member of the Jewish community, born in Morocco and living in Surfside for 20 years, returns from a synagogue where “the atmosphere was overwhelming because of those who were missing” on this Shabbat day.
Many of the missing in the building are Jews, but this small monument “shows that we are a community in this small town. We are all neighbours, it creates a sense of extraordinary unity.”
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