HL 174 – The 9/11 Memorial Ceremony Twenty-Two Years On

September 12, 2023

Home | Blog | HL 174 – The 9/11 Memorial Ceremony Twenty-Two Years On

Yesterday, as every September 11, I watched the televised photos of all the September 11, 2001 victims as their names were read by relatives at the annual memorial ceremony held at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan.  As always, the experience was intensely emotional, with some associations and thoughts perennial and others randomly evoked by recent events.

Like most New Yorkers of an age, I thought of the 9/11 victims I had known and thought there can’t be any New Yorkers of that vintage who didn’t know at least one victim either personally or with only one degree of separation.  One friend died while attempting to evacuate colleagues from the 67th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  Another of mine was a schoolmate whose New York Times obit reported that he was so involved in helping the homeless that he spent almost as many nights in shelters as his own home.  And twenty-two years on from those loving little obits of every single 9/11 victim, I still am so grateful that I subscribe to the print edition of the Times though reading it online exclusively for more than the last decade.

One of my single degree-separated victims was the daughter of a work colleague.  And her best friend’s father had been a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston Logan to LAX, hijacked, diverted and torpedoed into the North Tower at 8:46 AM.  I recalled watching that Tower on fire from a coffee shop near work and then sprinting to my office to call my friend, the State’s Attorney General, because his office at 120 Broadway was only a few hundred yards from the Trade Center.  While on the phone he told me at 9:03 AM, mid-sentence, that a second plane had just crashed the South Tower – where he and I had worked together two decades before.  Yesterday, I took notice of the apparent nationality and ethnicity of the victims as their names were read and photos shown.

As a Semite I always note victims who I believe were Arab or Ashkenazi or Sephardic Jews, the latter who apparently hadn’t gotten the message loathsomely invented by poet-bigot Amiri Baraka in his poem “Somebody Blew Up America” . . . Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers to stay home that day. . .”  And this time that yearly thought about New Jersey’s then Poet-Laureate sent me to Candidate-Bigot RFK, Jr., who at a recent fundraiser explained that “Covid-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and Black people.  The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese” and then on to Elon Musk whose X provides Lebensraum for Third Reichians and other anti-Semites and who claims that the Anti-Defamation League has caused the bulk of X’ 60 percent revenue decline.

As every year, I focused most intently on the names and photos of those I had known.   Because the roll of remembrance proceeds alphabetically, I steadied myself several minutes before their names would be read.  Over the years that practice has inscribed the 50 or so names and images that precede those of Richard Ross, Howard Kestenbaum, Neil Levin and Stacey Sanders.  Over the years I’ve gotten to know those other 50 and a few of their relatives.  When their names are read, I feel pretty much the sadness and joy, same as when mine are read.  That helps me stay human and hopeful and if I have time, I will try to expand my group to the full 2977.

1 Comment

  1. Eric Smith

    Thanks for this profound reflection on 9/11, Lloyd. What you have written personalizes that tragedy for me as I have no direct connection with anyone lost that day. My principal sadness arises when I think about those brave firemen trudging up the stairs with their fire hoses, shouting out their paces. How was it that the structural engineers could design tall towers capable of withstanding the crash of a jetliner yet they had not factored in the destructive force of the conflagration that would be caused by the jet fuel. When the likelihood of a collapse was finally realized, the fire fighters were unreachable.


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