For the last 17 years, my family deals with the heartbreaking reality of no longer being able to celebrate my brother’s birthday. He would’ve been 42 this summer. No mother should have to post what you see above.
My brother Christopher was working his way up in the commodities exchange to become a broker. On that day he left home early to prepare for a short work day so he could head over to his girlfriend’s house in Queens. He was in a good mood, and so was I. The night before, I had purchased a new Jeep, and I woke him up to tell him I was picking it up the next day. He was happy for me. That was the last time I saw him.
I was a landscape foreman. I was out with my crew doing our usual thing when my boss called me. He told me I need to call my mother, and I need to come back to the shop. My boss knew my brother well. Our families celebrated the last Christmas together. I found it odd that my mother called my job, and knew something wasn’t right. While driving back to the shop, every radio station was talking about a plane that hit the World Trade Center. I thought it was some dumbass in a small Cesnna who didn’t know how to fly. I called my mother and assured her nothing was wrong, even though my brother wasn’t answering his phone. It wasn’t until I got back to the shop and saw the second plane hit the tower in real-time that reality hit me. Something wasn’t right. I was a mess.
My cousin who I worked with drove me home. As I walked into my house, I saw the tower collapse to the ground. It was the first time I saw my father cry.
I’ll never know how he actually died. Was it from an explosion? The fire? Smoke inhalation? The building collapse? Did he jump? I don’t think about that much anymore because his death was unnecessary in the first place.
We didn’t find his truck until February. It was a few blocks away in a Battery Park garage. It was covered in dust from the collapse. I ended up keeping it for a while, and even though I had it detailed numerous times, the smell of ground zero never left it.
Nearly nine months later, we received a call from the NYC medical office. Remains found back in October were identified as my brother’s. They asked if we wanted to know what was found. We weren’t interested. Even though we had a huge memorial service in late September of ’01 to say goodbye to Chris, we has an official funeral service with close friends and family to bury his remains in late June of 2002.
For me, anger has outweighed the sadness. Anger and frustration. I became consumed with the political climate in the aftermath of 9/11, and it eventually led to the creation of this website.
I’ll never understand how the threat of Islamic terror is still widely ignored by many folks in this country. There have been 33,364 Islamic terrorist attacks since 9/11, which far outweighs any other political threat in the world combined. Instead, people lose their minds over actions taken to keep us safe from these threats.
I wish June 28th or Septermber 11th could be a more solemn day for me. It would be less stressful to fondly look back to the 22 years I got to have a brother, but I have been swept up in the hateful environment of American politics.
What could we do or say to wake people up to the realities of terrorism or other issues that threaten American sovereignty without them having to go through what mine, and 3000+ other families had to go through? Hopefully, something I said, or something from another article on New Media Central could help.
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