To mark the fifth anniversary of his daughter Tal's death on the No. 37 bus, Ron Kehrmann followed in his friend Yossi Zur's footsteps and came up with his own unique way to memorialize her and share her story with the world.
While going through her possessions, Kehrmann and his family found her diary and inside it, a cartoonish picture of a camel on a skateboard the 17-year-old had drawn. They decided to create a simple but moving tribute to Tal, asking visitors to the Web site in her memory, www.tal-smile.com, to "Color Tal's Camel," with Kehrmann's goal "to collect 1,826 camels ahead of the five-year anniversary, 1,826 days since she was killed," March 5, 2003.
At the bottom of the Web page are the words: "Tal's smile didn't wither," and the results certainly proved the campaign will have a long life, too. The project far surpassed anything Kehrmann imagined, reaching 5,142 by the date he'd set.
"People from all over the world have responded to it, and sent in all kinds of creative things," notes Kehrmann. "I've gotten pictures from China, Australia, the US, the UK and the rest of Europe. The point is that memorialization doesn't necessarily have to be sad, but rather something that everyone can relate to and be a part of."
A Muslim man from the Triangle "wrote me that he had a daughter Tal's age, that he was very sorry about what happened," he says.
School classes, a bat mitzva girl and her friends, and others have all colored the camel or added messages, like one featuring a crying sun and a message reading: "Tal - Be strong up there and don't cry." One is covered in peace signs, another is under a disco ball, but each demonstrates a connection to the picture which seems to touch everyone who sees it.
Viewing the images on-line is a moving tribute to a young woman who, as one contributor put it, "will always remain in our hearts."
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