On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers
will join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11.
Each person will pay tribute to a single victim.
We will honor them by remembering their lives,
and not by remembering their murderers.
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more, day by day,
You tell me of our future that you planned;
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve;
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad
I have become a part of something that is a bittersweet task. Writing and honoring a man who was a victim of the 9/11 attacks. It is called the 2996 project, a project in which people sign on and are assigned a name of a victim from that day to write a tribute. Ironically, I was assigned a man who was my age at the time of his death.
This task has been quite challenging both mentally and emotionally. All the things from that day becoming crystal clear as I see the list of names that were lost and that same feeling of helplessness. My biggest fear in doing this project is that I will not do this man and his family justice but keeping in mind that there has always been that pain in me because there was nothing I could do to make a difference, or to help that fateful day. Now, I feel as though in some miniscule way, I can do my part. As an American, as a human, as one voice to another giving recognition to someone who I'm sure many of us have only skimmed past in that long list.
This man, 37-year old Michael William Lomax, is but a mystery to me. A man I never would have given the time of day had his fate not been sealed. How sad is that? And not by choice but because he lived in New York, me in Minnesota. And it's a big world.
Michael was orginally from Heaton Moor, Stockport in England, one of 67 British folk killed that day. He was an Oxford graduate who did some moving around before him and his wife Erica settled in New York 5 years prior to this tragedy.
Before settling to work at Aon Corporation on the 93rd floor of the South Tower, Michael worked in London for Commercial Union, then moved on to Toronto, then Boston. He was a businessman doing what most of us Americans do everyday, his job.
Although I searched for anything that would give me a feel for what sort of man Michael was, coming up with very little to go on, there was one thing that stuck out the most with me. He had phoned his wife that day to tell her he was safe. He wanted her to know, he wanted to ease her fears, her pain and probably to tell her that he loved her one last time. He had to know. I can only guess that he wasn't a selfish man, that he thought of others before himself, but mostly, that he was brave and at peace. But as I said, I can only guess.
On this 5th Anniversary of the attack that has changed our very existence, please let us remember those whose lives were taken so abruptly from them. So viciously stolen. Please remember the families of those who lost loved ones. And remember all those brave souls such as Michael, who touched the lives of others, who woke each morning just as you and I, kissed his family good bye, and went about his day.
Although I probably never would have met Michael in my life, I am very honored to have discovered what I have about him. To absorb that all the names on the memorials, plastered all over the internet, are not just a list that one should just ignore. To be a part of a mass tribute to each individual victim and to learn about them, their families, their lives. It is an honor to contribute if only a small gesture, to a moment in time that will forever be imbedded in the depths of my soul and that of my family. And it was an honor, Michael William Lomax, to pay tribute to you.
May you rest in Peace. God bless you and your family.
A Memorial Garden was opened by Princess Anne in 2003 with walls of oak pergola listing the names of the Britons who died that day. Etched into the elegant wood are the words spoken by the Queen shortly after these senseless deaths:
"Grief is the Price we Pay for love."
Please take a moment to go to other blogs/journals and read about the victims. There are some wonderful things being written and the value is in the experience of learning who these people really were. Here is a link to all the victims of that day as well as the links to the blogs:
Here are only a few tributes that have been written already:
Elizabeth Claire Logler
Charles Peter Lucania
Jay Robert Magazine
Craig Damian Lilore
Joseph E Maloney
Arnold A Lim
Charles Wilson Magee
Alfred R. Maler
Thomas Richard Kelly
UPDATE: Although I would love to continue to add to this list as the emails come into my inbox, it will at one point or another get to be quite a long list. If there are others out there who would add links to their tributes, to help with displaying the names of those we are honoring, it would help the blogosphere and others to know that these people were more than just names on a list.