September 09, 2011


Back in 2006, D.C. Roe organized an amazing event across the internet in honor of the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.  What was done was unprecedented as over 3000 bloggers each took the name of a victim, researched them and posted a tribute on their blogs....a salute to their lives rather than the tragedy of their deaths. 

I consider myself to have been privileged to have been among those bloggers.  On this, the tenth anniversary of that horrific day, I join with this nation that I love in saluting her heroes...the survivors, the wounded, and the ones who gave all on that day and in the years since.

Below is my tribute from that 2006 effort.  I have re-run it before and I will do so again in the future.  Keeping alive the memory of one young man is the least I can do. 

(**Unfortunately, D.C. Roe's blog no longer exists so the links are inactive.)

September 11, 2001.

Just saying the date stirs up a whole host of emotions. Fear. Anger. Sadness. It used to stir up patriotism, but these days it feels like patriotism (if it means support of our troops, president and what’s taking place in far away places like Iraq and Afghanistan) marks you as ignorant, uninformed or just plain stupid. Politically, we’ve become a country divided into polar opposites and we’re all behaving badly…bashing and trashing each other with glee. In this, I see a small victory for the terrorists. A country divided and fighting amongst itself cannot be as strong and focused as a united country.

All that is why I’m glad to be participating in D.C. Roe’s project to remember, on this the fifth anniversary of 9/11, the 2996 men, women and children who died when this country, that allows us the freedom to disagree, fell under attack. For one day, over 3000 bloggers will lay aside differences in political opinion and honor the lives of the victims. Each participating blogger has been assigned the name of one who gave all that day. I was assigned the name Jon Richard Grabowski.

To begin, let me give you a face to put with the name.

That’s him. That’s Jon. He looks so young, doesn’t he? He was 33 on September 11, 2001.

I had a hard time with this project. The idea is to honor the lives of the victims, not rehash their deaths for the umpteenth time. It’s easier said than done. I have spent hours googling and dogpiling and following link after link. Nearly everything led to lists of the victims and told little or nothing personal. As today approached, I was wondering what I would write. Then some of the other bloggers began posting early and I came across a link or two through them that provided at least a grain of information.

Jon, I wish I could have found more information about you. From what I was able to find, it sounds like you were a really nice guy. You were the husband of Erika, your soul mate, who loved you fiercely and still misses you terribly. You were a son. Were you a father? I didn’t find any mention of children. Maybe you were a brother or an uncle? You were certainly a friend and a co-worker. At 33, it sounds like you were doing pretty well in your career. You were a vice president of technology information with Marsh & McLennan….a job you began only the week before the attacks.

Jon, you were described as enigmatic, devilish (I think I can see that in your picture), selfless and having a wry wit. Erika said that you "could always make sense of the world" for her. I wonder if you could have made sense of that terrible day and all that has come since. Would you have answers for us, Jon?

So you see, it isn’t much to go on, but I do have a picture now, of a handsome, young man with soulful eyes, madly in love with his wife, starting a new phase of his life and probably full of hopes and dreams for the future. That picture will be with me forever. Jon, my tribute to you is simply to remember you, that yours was a life that mattered.
*Please go to D.C. Roe’s blog to find links to other tributes.

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