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Monday, September 11, 2006

In memory of Dorothy Mauro

Five years ago, America and the world watched in horror as the most devastating attacks against the United States of America took the lives of 2,996 innocent men and women as they went about their daily lives.

Five years ago today. Sometimes it still feels like yesterday.

Somehow words seem inadequate, incapable of capturing the horror and the pain that must still be fresh to those who lost loved ones - and even to those of us who did not. Although I did not personally know anyone who died in the attacks I still feel a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes every time I hear the stories of those who died at the hands of barbarous murderers filled with a senseless hatred for America. I am sure I am not the only one. The emotions evoked by the memory of the attacks are still very raw and fresh in my mind.

And this is how I believe it should always be. Because as I watched the towers crumble, the destruction at the Pentagon and the wreckage of Flight 93, I promised myself, as many Americans did that day, that I would never forget. I intend to keep my promise to remember and honor those who fell.

I have no doubt that on that day, September 11, 2001, we lost some of the best people that America has to offer. And I believe we owe it to them to remember how they died and why we must never allow such a thing to happen again.

Today, on the 5th anniversary of the attacks, I would like to take a moment to remember one of the victims in particular, Dorothy Mauro. I did not know her in life, but she has been on my mind frequently these past few weeks. She was fifty-five years old when her life was tragically ended too soon as she went about her work as a state tax clerk in one of the WTC buildings. She was a beloved sister (survived by her twin Margaret), an aunt and a friend to many. The many existing online tribute sites dedicated to her memory made it very clear to me that she was a woman who understood the importance of living each day to the fullest. The messages left by those who knew and loved her speak to the fact that her death continues to leave a painful void in their lives.

Her sister Margaret was kind enough to respond to an email I wrote to her and told me a bit more about Dorothy's life. I learned that Dorothy was born in Brooklyn and that she loved New York City and never wanted to move away from the city she was born in. Dorothy was a woman who loved to read, to go to the movies and was passionate about theatre. She enjoyed visiting museums and historical sites and she was extremely well traveled, having been all over Europe to places like Italy, Spain, England, Belgium, Ireland and Budapest. She was a woman who was very close to her twin sister and spoke with her at least five times a day. I'm sure there are no better words that I can find to describe her than the ones written by her twin Margaret:

"She was my best friend, my confidant, and my travel companion...She was a loving, compassionate person. She was fun to be with and anyone who was fortunate to count her as a friend were very lucky, Dorothy was loyal and a true friend."

I really want to thank Margaret for sharing her thoughts about Dorothy with me, for allowing me the privilege of a small window into the life of someone who seems to have been so full of, well, life. Everything I've learned about Dorothy confirms my belief that we lost some truly incredible people on that tragic day.

When I first decided to join this tribute project, I wasn't exactly sure what it was that made me feel so strongly about doing it. After all this, I realize how important it is that each and every victim be recognized by each of us as much more than just another victim. These were our fellow Americans. They had lives, they loved, and they were loved, are loved and will always be missed. The events of September 11, 2001 affected me deeply but I think now it has reached a new level. It has become much more personal in a way. And I think this is what we as a country need, we need it to be personal so that we won't be able to forget - the way the family members and friends will never forget for as long as they live. It's hard to be eloquent, it's hard for me to find the right words, but I hope I'm making some kind of sense...

I guess in closing, I just want to send out my deepest sympathy, especially to Margaret Mauro, but also to all of the family members and friends of the victims of 9-11. I hope that you can take some tiny measure of comfort in knowing that your fellow Americans mourn with you and that many of us will keep our promise to never, ever forget.

Here are some pictures sent to me by Margaret Mauro.

Dorothy Mauro

Dorothy and Margaret

Memory quilt (made by Margaret Mauro)

To read more of the 2996 tributes please go here.

wingless was still breathing at 11:59 PM -

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