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Friday, September 11, 2020

9/11: The 19th Anniversary

Today, September 11th, 2020  marks the nineteenth anniversary of the Nine Eleven terrorist's attacks. As I've stated in my prior entries re this tragedy, I interviewed for a job at One World Trade Center, just thirty-one days prior to the terrorists attacks: August 10, 2001.

Prior to the General Telecom interview, I had been given a gift certificate for a pair of shoes to wear to the place and I wasn't quite used to wearing any type of heel, which got stuck in the middle of an elevator door as it was about to close on me.

Moreover that summer day became one of the hottest temperature days on record. By the time I got to the right office, I must've looked like I was dripping wet because some woman who was also in the waiting area offered me a paper-cup of water.

Then the receptionist, Margaret Mattic, escorted me into the office of Lashawana Johnson, who interviewed me for the position. Ms. Johnson mostly spoke about how she enjoyed coming to work early in the morning to shop for her children and she pointed to the many pictures of them that she had on the walls of her cubicle.

Later that night or maybe it was the next night, I received a phone call from a night shift manager who identified herself as Carmen. She informed me that I was not chosen for the position.

A few weeks later, terrorists flew planes into the Twin Towers, hitting the one where I had interviewed first. When I initially learned of this news I was on the phone with Verizon (which was then located at 7 World Trade Center) disputing a charge and heard the attack as it was happening, including the screams of those in the area.

Upon hearing all of this, I immediately thought about the fact that Ms. Johnson loved the morning hours at One World Trade, and I was certain she had died.

A few weeks later, I was able to contact Carmen who confirmed that indeed Ms. Johnson had died as had Margaret Mattic.

Evidently because Carmen worked the nightshift, she had been home resting that morning and she informed me that she lived in Brooklyn, in an apartment with a view of the Twin Towers, and had seen the planes fly into them, murdering all her morning co-workers at General Telecom Inc.

I know of many others who perished on that day, including Josh Rosenthal, who lived in a building adjacent to my courtyard. He lived in the same building my beloved friend Victor was living in at the time. In the aftermath of the attacks, and for a number of years to follow, someone had hung an American flag in one of the windows of the apartment where Josh had lived. I recall seeing the flag every day in the window for nearly three years after the attacks.

Now, dear reader, to give you a sense of perspective on the relationship of the window to my urban terrace garden, I have taken the liberty of including the following photograph (which I took back on 9-11-2011 — ten years after the terrorists attacks, hence no flag in that window).

IMAGE FROM 9-11-2011              

The image posted directly below (taken by Juan V in bygone years) of my rooftop garden has an orange arrow (which I have added for purposes of this blog entry) pointing to what must have been Mr. Rosenthal's vantage point.


Often as I looked up at that window, the window where there is no longer a flag (because his apartment was sold a number of years ago), I think of Mr. Rosenthal's family, who, has, since his death in the World Trade Center, had a street — the street where he lived — named for him, as evidenced by the photograph posted below.

The naming of the street paying homage to him was evidently a result of the actions of the council woman Gale Brewer who became Manhattan's borough president. 

Therefore, even without a flag in the window, Mr. Rosenthal will aways be remembered by those in his neighborhood. If you would like to read about him, I have included a link (at the end of this entry) to a New York Times Portraits of Grief page where you may do so by clicking here. and scroll down until you see the name, Josh Rosenthal as well as the names of the women (Lashawana Johnson and Margaret Mattic) mentioned in this entry.

I am not sure if today's posting offers any insights other than that sometimes when you hear that nearly 3,000 names — names of those who perished at the Twin Towers — were read today at the Memorial Ceremony, it might be hard to get a perspective on the individuals themselves and the impact they had on those near and dear to them. It is my hope that this entry will help to provide that for you, and if you knew of anyone who died on that fateful day, and want to read about them, you are likely to be able to do so via this link to the general New York Times Portraits of Grief  page where you can look them up anyone who perished and read about a slice of their life.

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