Four-Word Story

by Roger Pynn

I’m a storyteller … but I could never have imagined telling a truly powerful story with just four words … until yesterday when we visited the 9/11 Memorial in lower Manhattan, where we’d gone as throngs do every day to pay their respects.

Anyone who says their eyes aren’t already watering when they finally step through the fence is in denial.  It is overwhelming.  Yet it is peaceful.  When I came upon these four words – “and her unborn child” – time stood still.  They are etched 11 times into black granite beside the names of mothers-to-be who died.  Nothing else is needed.


Those who planned the memorial did so in a way that will tell stories forever.  The stories of those mothers who died with their babies; firefighters who died with their brothers; thousands none of us know who died in horror.  The story is breathtaking.  In the heart of the liveliest city on the planet, there is a deafening silence as people read stories told in first, middle and last names.

In the storytelling business, power often lies in simplicity.

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