Image courtesy Chris Muir, Day by Day
How does one remember 9/11 and honor the day on its seventh anniversary? Most bloggers will have some kind of memorial on their sites, but today is a travel day for me, which I’ll get back to in a moment. For me, I’d like to reprise a post I wrote in 2006 about one of the more faceless victims, Ysidro Hidalgo-Tejada:
Not long ago, I received an invitation from the 2,996 Tribute Project. The organizers want bloggers to remember each one of the dead from that terrible day, and in order to ensure that no one gets forgotten, they assigned a victim to each blogger. The project assigned me Ysidro Hidalgo-Tejada, a food-service worker in the World Trade Center.
I tried doing some research on Ysidro. The messages at the website indicate that he had a family that loved him, a family that the Dominican Republic immigrant supported by working at the Windows On The World restaurant at the top of the North Tower. We have heard something about the situation that the people in the restaurant faced in their final minutes. The restaurant manager called several times to emergency workers, trying to get some assistance and eventually realizing that it would not come. The smoke and fumes were choking those trapped in the restaurant even before the tower fell, but they did their best to hold up until the very end.
We do not know how Ysidro spent those last desperate minutes. We do know that all three stairwells were severed by American Airlines Flight 11. Did he try to make his way out? Or did he die like he lived, helping others and supporting them even after hope ran out? In the end, we have no information on which to judge, just like I could find no information on the life Ysidro lived before the attack that killed him.
It’s hard to do justice to Ysidro. I never knew him, his family, or even have an inkling of his life; all I have is his death, and not even enough of that to distinguish him from the other 2,996 victims of the attack. But in a way, Ysidro serves as an example of the people who died that day. All Ysidro did was work hard and support his family, serving the diners who made their way to the highest restaurant in the world in one of the greatest cities ever built. Everyone who died that day just wanted to help people and make life a little better for themselves and those around them.
Ysidro came to the United States because of the promise of freedom and the ability to make his own way in the world. He died because terrorists fear and hate that about America and the West. Ysidro stood for something they could not abide: the ability to make his own decisions and live life his own way. Ysidro deserves to be remembered far more than the lunatics who took his life and all the others.
Godspeed, Ysidro. I’m sorry we didn’t get the chance to know you better. The terrorists stole that opportunity from us.
I want to recall how each of these people left their mark outside of being victims, and recall the human cost of forgetting the danger of terrorism. Ysidro should be home taking care of his family and enjoying life, and murderous, lunatic bastards stole that from him, and from everyone Ysidro left behind. Multiply that by 3,000, and consider that for the rest of the day.
As I mentioned, this is a travel day for me, and those who know me also know how much I dislike air travel. I’m traveling on the anniversary of 9/11 to go to the nation’s capital to participate in a free and democratic political system. I’m not going to let terrorists frighten me into seclusion. This day more than any other seems appropriate for this kind of trip.
Michelle has a series of great posts on this day. Start at the top and keep scrolling.