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Sunday, 11 September 2011

Never Forgetting Those Lost, Left Behind or Living With Scars

Like many of us in this country and the USA and beyond; my husband and I have spent this Sunday 11th September 2011, reflecting on the past, observing silences that honour the fallen and shedding tears for all of those innocent victims of the world's worst single atrocity in my living memory.
As my husband and I sat clenching one another’s hands in a tight, unspoken expression of, 'I love you so dearly and I am so thankful to have you by my side today and everyday', we listened to the seemingly never ending list of names of the murdered, read out by the loved ones who they left behind.
Neither us, nor I imagine they, could quite believe that ten difficult years had passed and I have no doubt whatsoever that those old enough to have recollection of that day, could remember exactly where they were and what they were doing at 8.46am (NAEST), when the first plane hit The World Trade Centre and the world as we knew it changed forever for us all.
Although my husband as a member of the RAF, served and lost colleagues, in the wars that followed the dreadful events of that late summer's day in 2011; I feel extremely fortunate to have not had any direct connection to this tragic day and I pray for all of those who so sadly did.
I hope that if we weren't aware of the number of people who died in Pennsylvania, Washington and New York that day before- then we certainly are after today, the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks.
The number of people who died on that dreadful day, was estimated to be 2986 and there are also claims that there has been one death since, as a result of lung cancer contracted from the toxic dust that was inhaled by so many.
We can not fail to forget the loved ones of those who were killed that day- many of whom had to suffer the unthinkable and listen to the last frantic pleas of help from those whom they treasured so dearly.
We must also ensure that we lest forget, those who fortunately escaped so narrowly with their lives and have to wake up each day with the distressing memories of that day and try their best to carry on- a challenge which at times must just feel so impossible.
Today I have thought about and prayed for, the lives and the souls of all of those people who did nothing wrong but innocently go to work, (or indeed wave their loved ones off to work), that fateful sunny day in September 2011: but of course being the writer of a blog about those living with disabilities, I believe that it would be wrong of me not to focus a little on the lives of those who were made disabled that day and who have had to live with those consequences, on top of having to live with the emotional scars that witnessing such utterly incomprehensible horror must have brought.
Out of respect and research, I have been 'Googling' for stories or data pertaining to the number of people whom are having to live with physical difficulties on top of the understandable emotional trauma acquired from that day.
I may perhaps be a rubbish 'Googler', but I found it extremely difficult to find any details of survivor’s physical situations on my search.
I have wondered whether this is perhaps because with an event of the magnitude of horror of 9/11, the physical difficulties may perhaps take second place to the grief and trauma brought about from witnessing such utter hell on Earth and as such are not spoken about so openly.
This makes sense to me; although only leads me to wonder of the even bigger picture. Living with a disability is hard enough and has such difficult challenges when you do not have to contend with the scars of living through a terror attack.
 Those of you reading this who are disabled, will perhaps be wondering with me just how unimaginably difficult these peoples lives must be with having to cope with such emotional scars, on top of the difficulties of simply physically getting through each day with a disability and the trauma and understandable frustrations that come with this alone.
Finally this evening, my search was fruitful and I found a story of courage to rival any that I have found so far!
The tale is of one Lauren Mannings, the then 37 year old director of global market data, at the now infamous Cantor Fitzgerald financial services firm; who escaped with her life on 9/11, only to be left with 80 per cent burns.
Lauren teetered on the brink of death for weeks following September 11th and on finally becoming concious, the emotional impact of that day naturally took its' toll upon her: but of the physical cost to her life; Lauren speaks of the frustrations of being unable to do the simplest of things, such as walk her mere 29 pound terrier, cook a meal, (the smallest nick in her delicately healed skin risks infection), or even apply glitter to the paper snowflakes for her son’s first-grade class.
“Through the grace of the people in my life, I am able to conduct what appears at first glance in many ways more normal than it is beneath the surface,”, says Laura Mannings. “My husband, he’s been my hands.”
Lauren's story has been told in the book “Love, Greg & Lauren”, which follows the three months after the terrorist attacks, as seen from her bedside by her husband Greg.
Greg Manning sent daily e-mails to the couple's loved ones, describing his efforts to connect with his comatose wife through music and poetry. The book chronicles these emails in which I imagine to be a touching testament to their difficult journey- I shall let you know ASAP, as I shall be purchasing it from Amazon for my Kindle as soon as I finish writing this post!
This NY Times article, (that I enclose a link to below), also features the brave tales of Harry Waizer who was given only a 5 per cent chance of survival and also of Elaine Dutch who suffered truly horrific burns.
This article is highly deserved of reading, if only to be educated of the so far unspoken continuing physical trials of those affected by 9/11.

Today I remember and pay my respects to all of those lives affected by that awful day.

I remember those who died so tragically in the attacks and the events immediately thereafter.
I remember the loved ones who they left behind.
I remember those who survived the atrocities and who are still living with the physical and emotional affects of them.
And I also remember those who have lost their lives as a result of the conflicts that have come about as a consequence of that fateful day's events.

To all of those people above, I remember and honour you today and everyday.

God bless you all and be with you always.

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