In 2012, I started a new tradition for the National Day of Remembrance. I had visited the National September 11 Memorial when I was in Manhattan for BlogHer ’12, and was extremely moved by the experience (massive understatement). It occurred to me that, rather than passively watch the televised tributes and read what the rest of the internet had to say about 9/11, each year I would involve myself by actively remembering and learning about a couple of the victims of that terrible day.
Diane Marie Urban was 50 years old and worked at the New York State Department of Taxation. She was widely known for saying exactly what she thought without pulling any punches. Her sister said about her, “She never backed down. She was a pistol.” Shortly before 9/11, Diane had purchased a home on Long Island near her sister and brother-in-law and had plans to spend lots of time with them.
Chris Michael Kirby was 21 years old and had a personality that led to the nickname “Happy.” Chris was working as a carpenter in 2011 while taking classes to become a firefighter like his dad. He was born in the Bronx on New Year’s Day.
Carol Millicent Rabalais, 38 years old, was an administrative assistant at the Aon Corporation. A native of Jamaica, she was one of five sisters. She was known for never holding a grudge, never losing her optimism, and never doubting God. She had three children.
If you would like to do some learning and remembering today, here’s how. All you have to do is go to the September 11 Memorial website’s Memorial Guide and scroll down a little bit. On the bottom left of the screen you can click on North Pool or South Pool for a name listing. After that, pick a couple out and Google them. That’s it. It’s such a small task but so important, and the families appreciate any interest in their lost loved ones. THIS is something anyone can do.
Each year on this day I also think a lot about my dear friend Patty. When I attended BlogHer ’10 in New York, she and I were on a double decker bus tour of Manhattan together and as we approached Ground Zero she became tense and upset. I found out that she had not been to the site since before 9/11/01 because it was too emotional for her. It was the first time I experienced up close and personal how truly devastating that day was to everyone who lived in New York and the surrounding area when the attacks happened, regardless of whether they lost a loved one. Patty later posted her 9/11 story online and it gripped me; I will never forget it. You can read it by clicking here.
If you would like to read about my visit to the September 11 Memorial in 2012, click here.
Hug your loved ones today. Always Remember, Never Forget.