I sat in my English class this morning, after passing the lawn full of flags to represent those lost 7 years ago and reflected. It seems almost all of my September 11th memories center around school. This morning I thought about how different this teacher was from Mrs. Stewart. Kari Stewart will forever remind me of September 11th, if you read this Mrs. Stewart, I'm sorry about that.
But their faces, Mrs. Stewart and Mrs. Neal as they struggled to find a radio station that would offer reception are always with me on these September mornings, year after year. The voice of Dan Rather somehow begins to narrate my memories. His voice muddles the confusion, the furrowed brows and the stunning shock of all of those images that day. The burning building, the second plane, the ash, the debris, the collapse. If I let myself I can still cry just like that morning.
The first anniversary I spent failing my drivers exam. Six years later I claim to be no better at parallel parking. Nor any worse at test taking. But each anniversary seems oddly the same. Like that first one, like it was just last year. The memories come just as brilliantly. Like that technicolor scene from "The Wizard of Oz". Except none of us are Dorothy and nobody gets to go back home to Kansas. This is our reality now. The post 9/11 world is an oddly vulnerable place. And I suspect no election year for many to come will not be shaped in someway by the events of that Tuesday morning.
In the days and weeks and months following September 11th we swore we wouldn't forget. We wore our red white and blue, hung our flags from our front porches and had the biggest burst of patriotism this country has seen since WWII. But 7 years is a long time.
I can honestly say I don't think of 9/11 very often. If, at all. It's there of course, in the back of my mind. Still sad, still painful, but not constant.
But, for those who lost someone that day I would imagine it's always there. Just like there are moments in life when I'm doing something random like shopping for groceries and I hear my grandma's voice. I can't imagine spending the anniversary of her death, watching her die again. Year after year. And yet, for the families that is essentially what 9/11 could be. How utterly painful?
I pulled a name from the list of those killed in the World Trade Center that morning. Initially I searched for an April, but there were none. So I searched down the list and found the youngest Jonathan who died that day.
Jonathan Cappello, 23 from Garden City, New York was working on the 105th floor of World Trade Center One as an international bonds trader when it imploded. Jonathan was the youngest of three brothers, a precocious child according do his mother, he idolized his older siblings. His mother said, "Jonathan loved, loved life, from the time they handed him to me on September 29, he went to bed happy. He woke up happy. And everything was happy in between."
He wasn't sure what he wanted to do after college, much like myself, but 3 months prior to 9/11 he received an offer to work for Cantor Fitzgerald. He took it.
For the week following that Tuesday morning, his parents kept the hope that perhaps he would be found alive in the rubble. Neither he, nor his body were ever recovered. His mother said she found peace with that after feeling like her son has visited her, telling her, "Mom, it's enough. I'm here, but I'm whole. I came with my body."
Jonathan's mother called him, Jonny, occasionally just as I do my own brother, she said of their last conversation, "The last thing I said to him? And the last thing he said to me, what we say to each other everyday, every night for 23 years, I go, "I love you Jonny B." And he said, "I love you pumpkin. You're my woman." That's the last thing I said. It was 11:00 at night."
I have my Jonny today. The Cappello family does not. But I hope that somewhere, somehow, they can find solace in the fact that today someone besides themselves is remembering their Jonny. And the brilliant love he brought to his family for his short time on earth. I know, there is something about a Jonny that is so bright, so loving, so full of intense passion for living. What a light they must have lost.
Jonathan N. Capello, 23, Garden City, New York.
(all info via this interview) (post idea via Project 2,996)