11 years after

On this 11th anniversary, let us remember in prayer all those who died, those who were injured, those who mourn, those who stepped forward to extend a helping hand, those who suffer 9/11-related illness. May God bring healing to all touched by these attacks, and to each of us. On this day, let us care for one another, help us take care of ourselves, and seek to live in peace. Amen.  facebook.com/groups/911prayer

Forget for a moment the issues with the Memorial, with the Port Authority and the Mayor and the Zadroga bill and Homeland Security. Remember the people of 9/11, the victims, the survivors, the responders.

Behind every name there is a face, and many, many stories. Here are a few. (This page will be updated throughout the day of September 11, 2012.) I invite you to consider your own remembrance at Remember Me: The Virtual Facebook September 11, 2001 Memorial.

Remembering JOSEPH LOVERO, of Jersey City, NJ. Joe was chasing firetrucks before he could add. Growing up, he lived near a fire station that became his second home. When he was old enough, Lovero took the fire test, but was ineligible because of a heart condition. Instead of fighting fires, he helped out as a volunteer and later a fire dispatcher. On Sept. 11, 2011, Lovero completed his shift as a civilian fire dispatcher in Jersey City and rushed to the World Trade Center. His family and friends are not sure why Lovero went to the scene, but say that he may have been asked to set up a communication center. “If something was going on, he would always be there to help,” said his daughter Maxine McCormack. Joe was assisting a FDNY Battalion Chief when the 2nd tower came down. They ran for cover, the Battalion Chief survived, Joe was seriously injured, and the Battalion Chief found him in the rubble when the smoke cleared and had him transported to St. Vincent's hospital where he died. [Principal source: NYTimes.]

Remembering ABRAHAM ZELMANOWITZ, blessed be his name. Abe Zelmanowitz was an Orthodox Jew who worked as a computer programmer for Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield on the 27th floor of One World Trade Center. One of his best friends was co-worker and fellow computer programmer Ed Beyea, who was a quadriplegic. With the elevators not working after the 9/11 attack, Beyea had no way of getting out. Rather than go down the stairs and try to save himself, Zelmanowitz chose to stay with his friend, presumably comforting him until they died together in the building's collapse. Many believe they prayed together during those final moments as well; Beyea was a devout Roman Catholic.

Remembering CRAIG W. STAUB.
I met Craig through his family, who love and miss him very much, and remember his vitality, humor, and outgoing nature. On 9/11/01, Craig was looking forward to a new chapter in his life. He married Stacey in June of 2000, they had built a house in NJ, and were expecting the birth of their first child. Craig worked at KBW on the 89th floor of 2WTC, and appeared on a financial news show from his office shortly before the WTC was attacked. While his family hoped for his safe return, Craig was not able to join them for his daughter Juliette's birth on 9/22, which would have been Craig's 31st birthday. Craig, his wife Stacey, and daughter Juliette are pictured. [Principal source: personal knowledge.]

Remembering ROSA JULIA GONZALEZ. Rosa Gonzalez was a single mother, 32 years old on 9/11/01. She lived with her 12-year-old daughter Jennifer, and close to many of her seven sisters and a brother, who had moved to Jersey City from Puerto Rico. After the attack, when Rosa telephoned her sister Migdalia from the offices of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on the 66th floor of 1 World Trade Center, these were her last words: "I love you," she said. And then: "Promise to me that you are going to take care of my daughter." Rosa died while making her way downstairs, when the north tower collapsed. She was with friends and colleagues, most of whom perished with her. [Various sources.]

Remembering NEILIE ANNE CASEY. There is no logic to any of it; that much is obvious. But the truth is that they did meet as freshmen, in logic class. That was at Holy Cross, and Michael Casey still remembers the sight of Neilie Anne Heffernan's long auburn hair. They were married on Cape Cod in 1996 "because it was meant to be," he said; their "incredible bond" only intensified when their daughter, Riley Eileen, was born nine months before 9/11. The Caseys were both runners. On Sunday, Sept. 9, they took their daughter on her first three-mile road race. On the night before the attack, the Caseys played a travel video of Bermuda, planning the trip for their fifth wedding anniversary, Sept. 21. On Sept. 11, Mr. Casey kissed his wife goodbye and watched from the bedroom window upstairs as she left their house in Wellesley, Mass., at 5:45 a.m. "I flipped the light on so she could see me, and she turned and waved back as she left." Thus this last memory before Mrs. Casey, 32, boarded Flight 11 on a business trip to California. [Principal source: NYTimes.]

Remembering GAVKHAROY KAMARDINOVA. For a variety of reasons, very little is published about some victims of these very public attacks. 26 years old, Ms. Kamardinova had only come to the U.S. the summer of 2011. A Muslim and citizen of Uzbekistan, Gavkharoy found a job working at a snack canteen run by an independent vendor and serving employees of the AON corporation high in the south tower. After she did not return home on September 11, her employer was not forthcoming about her employment or presence at work, presumably due to legal reasons related to her immigration status and their liability. Ms. Kamardinova's family journeyed to the U.S. to seek their daughter, and spoke of her youthful hope, her hard work, and her happiness to be seeking opportunity in New York City. [Principal source: personal knowledge.]

Remembering WELLES REMY CROWTHER. At 24 years old, Welles was an equities trader working on the 104th floor of the south tower. After the north tower was struck, he evacuated the building, helping others along the way. Welles was known by his family for always carrying a red bandana, and at least 12 survivors credit "the man in the red bandana" with bringing them to safety. Crowther, with a red bandana covering his mouth and nose to protect him from dust, reentered the building at least three times to rescue people. With members of the NYFD, he was re-entering the south tower when it collapsed, and his body was found 6 months later in the destroyed building’s lobby. [Various sources.]

Remembering ASIA COTTOM: Asia, 11, had just started sixth grade at a new school, eager to learn and pleased to be at the campus where her father worked. The North Michigan Park girl was selected to take a trip to California with a teacher to participate in a National Geographic Society ecology conference. The girl and teacher Sarah Clark were on American Airlines Flight 77 at the start of their four-day trip, and were killed when it crashed into the Pentagon. Some staff members said they knew her because her father works there as an aide, helping to coach basketball, patrolling the halls and serving as a book clerk. Her father is popular with students, Backus employees said, because he is patient and walks around with a big smile -- the same way his daughter was described by several people. They said Asia was a kindhearted girl who was helpful to other students who had difficulty learning and was herself persistent, continually trying until she grasped a lesson. On Wednesday, the day after the hijacking, one of her teachers, Lizzie Jones, addressed the sixth-grade language arts class. "We are missing someone today. Do you know who that is?" she asked. "Yes," some of the children said. "Asia." The students talked about how much they would miss her. [Principal source: Washington Post.]

There are many more people whose stories I'd like to share - many more still whose stories I do not know. 9/11 interrupted so many hopes, and ended the lives of so many people whose lives were full of potential, of love. Each is worthy of remembrance.

But for me, 9/11 has always been about the living. We honor and hallow the dead for the lives they lived with us. Please also remember those who survived the attacks, but have lived with suffering. Those who escaped; those who were injured; those who mourn the murder of dear ones; those who have taken their lives to escape their pain; those who deal with on-going illness and traumatic stress; those who responded to aid those in need. May God bless all who have been touched by tragedy, and blessed be the peacemakers who seek an end to violence.

God bless America; God bless the world.


Paul said…
Thanks for this, Paul.
Paul said…
Thanks for this, Paul.

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