Today marks the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Today, many people will pause to remember those who lost their lives on that fateful day, as well as those who have died in subsequent attacks around the world. People will also remember those who have given their lives in the pursuit of justice and peace. And many will offer special prayers for healing and comfort for those who have lost loved ones to terrorism. But perhaps in the midst of all the memorializing, we should also ask if there’s something we can do that will honor all these victims and their loved ones.
—The Word Among Us, 9/11/2006
I can hardly believe that it’s been five years since 9/11. Five years. The children born to fathers who died that day are in kindergarten now, possibly alongside the babies conceived in the wake of the disaster. Now, just as then, I feel the need to do something.
I am participating in 2,996, a project sponsored by D.C. Roe. 2,996 is a blogosphere memorial of each victim of the attacks of 9/11: from the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93. I found out about the project via Happy Catholic and immediately signed up. You can read others’ tributes as linked from this mirror list. (Traffic was so high that the original site overloaded.)
This post is in memory of Martin Giovinazzo, age 34, of New York, NY. He was a maintenance worker at the World Trade Center. He is suvived by his wife, Dorothy, and their children: Theresa, Ashley, and Andrew. [Read a more detailed bio at Newsday.com.]
I didn’t know Martin, but I know that, more than likely, he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have a personal mission to be kind to the maintenance workers and housekeeping staff I meet as I travel across campus each day. We’re all ordinary Americans, trying to live and learn and survive as best we can. Martin was just doing his job when he was made a pawn in a terrorist plot against the United States. We will never forget him and all the others who died that dark morning.
I’m proud to be an American,
Where at least I know I’m free,
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend her still today,
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt, I love this land;
God bless the USA!
—Lee Greenwood, “God Bless the USA”
I still remember where I was that day; we shared our memories in my first class this morning. I was in biology class when my friend Brett was called out of class. His parents had come to pick him up, telling him that there was bombing in Washington, D.C. I was worried, but just wondered what was going on. We moved from class to class as long lists of student names came over the loudspeaker. Parents steadily arrived to pick up their children. Gradually, I heard the real story. We weren’t allowed to turn on the T.V.’s, and the teachers didn’t know any more than we did. Eventually, my name was called, and I fought back fearful tears as I went down to meet my mom. She’d been off from work that day. I sat at home, watching the footage on T.V. until I got the real story. My dad was still in the Air Force then, working on Bolling AFB. Bolling is in D.C. He didn’t get home until late that night, but I know I have never been more happy to see him.
My parents’ generation had JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassinations. Mine has 9/11. We will never forget.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.