The Eighth Anniversary

You might think that the rain predicted for New York today would create a fitting atmosphere for the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

But the weather was beautiful the day the Twin Towers crumbled and so many people lost their lives. It seemed impossible that such horrific events could occur on such a nice day.

I remember interviewing someone who was working close to the towers who told me how disconcerting it was to finally catch a bus home and emerge in uptown Manhattan, covered in ashes, only to find normal-looking people carrying on with their daily routines.

Of course, nothing was normal. That day, it seemed as if our routines were disrupted forever.

I cried every morning, for weeks, as I read the vignettes in The New York Times about the individuals who died in the towers or on the airplanes or as they tried to rescue those in the towers. I’m crying now as I write this.

I didn’t personally know anyone who perished as a result of the attacks. But whenever I see Christine Lee, who works at the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, I am reminded of her sister, who was last seen on the 95th floor of Tower 1.

Nancy Yuen Ngo was then 36 years old, with a husband and two daughters, ages 2 and 6. She was a network consultant for Marsh & McLennan, which lost 295 of its 1,908 employees that day. One was on a hijacked plane and the rest were in offices at the World Trade Center.

When I was working on a series of stories for the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, I went to the memorial Marsh & McLennan erected to its lost employees adjacent to its offices in midtown Manhattan at 1166 Avenue of the Americas. I found Nancy’s name, along with the name of William Bethke, the brother of the Rev. Myrna Bethke, a United Methodist pastor in New Jersey.

Some people have expressed the fear that each passing year will diminish the magnitude of the tragedy, that we will forget the loss of those innocent lives and the absence of their impact on the world.

We have not forgotten.


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