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Tradition: Commemorating 9/11 in a Meaningful Way

In 2012, I started a new personal tradition for the National Day of Remembrance. I had visited the National September 11 Memorial when I was in Manhattan for BlogHer ’12, and was extremely moved by the experience (massive understatement). It occurred to me that, rather than passively watch the televised tributes and read what the rest of the internet had to say about 9/11, each year I would involve myself by actively remembering and learning about a couple of the victims of that terrible day.

Edward J. Rall was a firefighter who began his FDNY career at Engine 232/Ladder 176. There‚ and also at Rescue 2 where his career prematurely ended, he was known for keeping the firetruck ready to roll at any time. In his spare time he was a fitness enthusiast who also coached youth baseball. He was 44 years old when he died on 9/11 and left behind three teenage boys.

Born in Chiba, Japan and eventually living in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Hideya Kawauchi worked as a general affairs officer at the Fuji Bank division at 2 World Trade Center. His wife Tomoko said that Hideya was a fan of fashion and could be found at the local Brooks Brothers quite often. He was 36 when he died in the attacks.

Another fan of fashion and shopping, 31-year-old Lorisa Ceylon Taylor often had purchases delivered to her mother’s home. At each visit she would act like the new clothes belonged to her sister and exclaim, “You don’t want this? I’ll take it!” The weekend before the attacks, Lorisa and her husband celebrated their seventh anniversary by dancing until 4am. On September 11, Lorisa and her mom took the subway together to their jobs (Lorisa worked at Marsh & McLennon), laughing together and chatting about Lorisa’s three daughters, calling out “I love you!” as Lorisa’s mom got off the train at her stop.

Graduating from Fresno State in 1985 with a degree in Criminal Justice, Otis V. Tolbert was commissioned an Ensign at Officer’s Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island in 1989. He deployed from Guam in support of Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and eventually graduated from the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center in Dam Neck, Virginia. He earned many awards throughout his naval career: Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various unit and campaign awards. He served in the Pentagon on the Chief of Naval Operations Intelligence Plot staff, and was Assistant Officer in Charge when the Pentagon was attacked on 9/11. He left behind his wife and three children.

If you would like to do some learning and remembering today, here’s how. All you have to do is go to the September 11 Memorial website’s Memorial Guide and scroll down a little bit. On the bottom left of the screen you can click on North Pool or South Pool for a name listing. After that, pick a couple out and Google them. That’s it. It’s such a small task but so important, and the families appreciate any interest in their lost loved ones. THIS is something anyone can do.

Hug your loved ones today. Always Remember, Never Forget.