2011 - Ten years…
Well, here it is ... ten years after the tragic event we call "9-11." I emailed Lisa, and asked for anything she might want to say at this time. Her response hit pretty hard.
September 6, 2011
I’m going to have to think about this Paul. Right now I’m trying my hardest to stand on my own two feet, rebuild my life and not let the horrors of the world bring me down. I don’t know if I have it in me to get into that mindset right now. I may just have a cry, but not delve too deeply into the thoughts and feelings of what happened that day.
The past month has [contained] the best and worst days of my life. No matter what I had to deal with for the past 18 years, I always had one companion to come home to… we loved, understood and accepted each other. She was the one constant in my life… she was my partner. Without her I was just lost… but in a way, her absence forced me to try to find myself again. Being alone forced me to face myself and do everything I can to stop neglecting myself, my life and change everything around me.
One of the things I’ve been doing is cleaning out everything in my apartment. Today, I watched a video from 1999 when I went to DC for the 4th of July. I saw an innocence and comfort in myself that I forgot ever existed. A care-free attitude that took on every challenge and saw every opportunity to be open and learn and love and trust and enjoy everything life offered. I don’t know if it was 9-11 that killed that part of me. But I have something to strive for again. I believe I can be that person again. I want to be that person again.
I have a very long way to go. But for the first time in a long time, I have a desire to rebuild, make a difference and start again. I’m glad that you’ve been a constant in my life and stuck by me through every ugly phase I had to go through to get here. Thank you for never giving up on me… even when I gave up on myself. I’m lucky to have you in my life. Thank you Paul. Wish me luck.
Later that evening, Lisa wrote the following:
Wow… I wrote that email to you late last night and I remember crying when I wrote it. I just read it again and I’m crying all over. [Just] now, having read my email to you, I see that I am broken. But I’m thankful to be in a place where I’m making an effort to put myself back together again… finally!
It feels weird to think that any kind of tribute to me exists. Maybe once, I was more deserving. Lately I don’t see too much to be worthy of such an honor. But it’s good to know I’m finally working on it and maybe someday I will feel that worth again.
We were supposed to hear more from Lisa before the actual anniversary arrived. She had promised it might be so. Here's what happened:
September 9, 2011:
The other day, I was cleaning out some drawers and found a video. I put a tape in the VCR on 911 and let it run all day. I’ve never watched it, but I promised [my family] that I would bring it over after work tonight and watch it with [them].
So, my hope to glaze over the day will actually be the exact opposite. I’m going to relive the day moment to moment later tonight, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about it. I just wanted you to know that if you wanted to get an updated opinion of my thoughts… just wait until tonight. It’ll be pouring out of me by then.
But then came this message at close to twilight:
Nope. I’m afraid I have nothing to say. Watched 20 minutes with [family] and I had to leave the room. I asked my mother to sit with [guest] and take over answering his questions while I went out [for a few minutes]. When I came back in, my mother was just as shaken. [Our young guest] was fine. It was like he was watching a movie. But we couldn’t take it. I turned it off. I came home. Nothing to say. Sorry to disappoint.
A few hours later, Lisa Emailed me that she was weeping. That's all I'll say. She was weeping. And not knowing why.
And thus, we grieve. We grieve for the pain brought to Lisa, and others like her ... whose lives were once so bright and promising. We grieve that the sorrow of slaughter continues to eat away, and leave their spirits low.
Next, we take you back to the original tribute as it was first written.
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Hero Girl, Hero Girl,
Why those big, sad eyes?
Could it be from Loneliness?
Or from a soul's despise?
Hero Girl, Hero Girl,
Give the pain to me.
I would gladly bear it all
Than those sad eyes to see.
Hear the call, take the call;
Soon thine eyes do smile ....
Fascination, Dream's Elation
Greet me now a while.
Hero Girl, Hero Girl,
What changed those sad, brown eyes?
Give the secret, please, to me
And I will feed a fortune's rise.
© Paul L. White, 2002
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September 13, 2001
They opened and then quickly closed the New York airports.
Four people were just arrested at JFK for posing as pilots.
They evacuated the US Capitol, Penn Station, LaGuardia Airport, The Empire State Building and countless others.
They transported the Vice President to Camp David.
The Millennium Hotel is expected to collapse. (That is not only the hotel that my girlfriend & I went to for the graduations party a couple of months ago, but also the hotel that another friend stayed in when visiting Manhattan.)
Windows on the World in the former World Trade Center is where I went to the prom.
I am here alone. I have Nanny downstairs mourning the loss of members of her church. Poppy has not stopped crying from what he's seeing on every television channel. Countless friends are unaccounted for. I've been watching people crying all day with pictures of missing loved ones. Forgive me for not feeling optimistic right now.
Lisa, beautiful and unpretentious Lisa, suffered first-hand from the attack on our nation. Why, then, in the paragraph immediately before this one, did she write:
Thank you everyone for the wonderful emails and phone calls of support. I'm sorry I haven't been very responsive.
And I would like to say a very heartfelt Happy Birthday to PAUL! You are a true friend and I thank you.
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Lisa’s strong side would speak immediately after the tragedy, and her tender side would then produce self-doubt.
Most of the great people I’ve met live in the West, but that is only a circumstance. To remember a birthday, in her time of harrowing loss, makes Lisa a must for this web site.
In time, this young lady would arrive at a sort of peace. I trust you will be nurtured by the evolution of her soul in these dire straits.
Lisa's immediate reaction to the tragedy of 9-11 was fairly benign.
September 11, 2001
Let me start off by saying that luckily my family and I are safe. Thank you everyone for all the concerned emails and phone calls.
Right now, I am sitting in absolute disbelief. I feel as though I am watching a movie on television. The simple fact that the Twin Towers are missing from the Manhattan skyline leads me to complete shock. I sit here now, not knowing how many people I know are among the dead. I have many friends who are city policemen and firemen.
My mother woke me this morning with the alert phone call to turn on the television. She reminded me that Boomer (a family friend) has his office on the 101st floor of the World Trade Center. How many people had their offices in the World Trade Center that we don't know about?
I received frantic phone calls from friends and family this morning, concerned for my safety and the unknown whereabouts of loved ones. The simple fact is that we will all know someone who knows someone who died today.
I've seen [editor’s note: via television] people jump out the windows of one of the tallest buildings in the world. I've seen those buildings fall to the ground in ruins. I've seen people running for their lives. I've seen streets that I have walked down covered in ash. Where is it safe?
I've been thinking about the fighter jet pilots that had to shoot down the hijacked plane, which they knew carried innocent souls. I've been thinking about the passengers of the plane, using their cell phones to make final calls to their loved ones. I've been thinking about the people in their offices taking a sip of coffee, getting ready to start their day.
Weather wise, today was one of the most beautiful days we've had all year. Yet, I was afraid to leave the house. I drove down the street, I looked at everything differently. Who are these people? Who is looking to hurt someone? Who just found out someone they love is dead? Why did this happen? How could it happen? Is it over? Is it just starting? Will things ever be the same?
Right now, there are people suffering alone. There are people injured, dead and abandoned. There are people stranded in Manhattan, forced to walk hundreds of blocks and over bridges to get home. I feel helpless and all I can do is sit here in disbelief and horror as I watch the darkest day I hate to imagine.
Later that same day, however, her emotions would begin to build.
September 11, 2001
I saw my friend's husband on the CBS News. He's a NYC Firefighter that has been at the scene since this morning. He's covered in ash and very shaken. One of my mother's client's husbands is a Police Officer. He was called into Manhattan to help collect bodies of other Police Officers.
I just came back from the convenience store. When I walked in, I wanted to hate them. I go there often enough to recognize the men behind the counter were obviously dazed and failed to even make eye contact. I realized that these innocent people who came to this country to earn a living are going to be a target for hate. I feel sorry for them.
I feel sorry for the millions of people who have been affected by this.
The sun is starting to set on a horrible day. I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared. I continue to hear fighter jets flying near my house.
The stage of disbelief has come and gone. I am now in the stage of fear and anger. This is just hitting too close. Someone has crashed into my world and I can't go back to ignorance anymore. I don't know what is going to happen next. All I know is that thousands of people have died today... some of them I probably know. I've watched my world fall down.
I just heard on the news that seventy-eight police officers are missing and two hundred firefighters are expected to be dead. Why?
Demonstrators overseas are celebrating the destruction? How do you respond to these people? ...with love?
I don't know if I should be completely PETRIFIED or if I should feel protected? We all know the airports are closed. For the past 30 minutes I have been watching six or seven flying things going back and forth. I know some of them are fighter jets... but I don't know if all of them are or what they are doing flying near here. My neighbors have all convened in the fronts of their houses, I'm reluctant to join them. I'm more than a little scared. I'm still hearing them.
The skies have quieted down. I am hoping to go to sleep sometime soon, but I fear what I will wake up to.
The following day, frustration entered her words.
September 12, 2001
The fighter jets fly nearby just about every hour. My thoughts and prayers are with all the lost souls and their families.
I was just watching TV about the Westin Hotel in Boston and how the swat team was going in to take people into custody. Outside the hotel were hundreds of people on their cell phones smiling and waving at the cameras. Are these people unaware of what is happening right now?
Do people not realize that thousands of families don't know where their loved ones are? Whether they are alive or dead? Whether they are suffering, buried or being referred to as Jane Doe #486? All day people have been calling into the News describing what their missing family members were wearing, describing jewelry and tattoos in hopes that someone will be able to give them information.
People are lined up at the makeshift morgues, looking for their people. Victims have burned so badly that nothing more than a skeleton remains. Hundreds of body parts are strewn within the rubble.
Maybe I am more sensitive to the situation because these are New Yorkers... I know countless people who live and work in Manhattan... I could have easily been one of these people that are buried alive, calling from my cell phone begging for help.
Respectfully, I can say that I haven't seen one commercial break in two days.
On that same day, Lisa sent me this Email.
Hi Paul… I have never been so grateful for my weblog than I was yesterday. That was my only outlet. Yesterday I was here with my grandparents alone. I was scared… and that is the plain truth.
I’m feeling better today. Thank you for caring about me.
I gave you some of Lisa's public remarks for September 13 at this article's beginning. Later in the day, she added more.
~ Continued ~
You know, I am
scared to death, but I am probably in one of the safest
locations in the world. My house is under constant guard
of the fighter jets and other war planes that are
patrolling the area.
From experience, I
know they basically strip search you before allowing you
to get on a plane at JFK Airport. Ten people are
in custody tonight who attempted to board at JFK &
LaGuardia airports with intent to hijack more
planes. No flight today, nor on 911 was
successfully hijacked out of any New York City
airports. We may be a target, but we are not an
I haven't called
around, because honestly, I don't want to know.
But yes, there are dozens of people that I know, my
family knows and my friends know who are among the
missing or confirmed dead. Additionally, we have
Firemen and Policemen friends who are actively working
at ground zero. Please say a prayer for all of
their souls and their families.
On September 14, the anger could not help but emerge.
September 14, 2001
The work of the devil?
Supposedly this picture is not altered. Someone
recognized the face of the devil in the smoke.
People are celebrating the destruction. This is something I
can not comprehend. There are certain ethnically
populated sections of Brooklyn which have been
celebrating since Tuesday. I shopped at a major liquidator store on Monday... apparently on Tuesday
the employees all applauded and cheered when they heard
of the attack. Could someone explain this
mentality to me please?
I feel sick.
A friend and I went to the diner today for lunch. In
the booth next to us was a couple of that same ethnicity. It made me very uncomfortable to be
sitting next to them... to the point where I considered
asking to be moved to a different table. I voiced
some opinions to my friend, who in turn said to me, "How
does it feel to be a racist for the first time in your
life?" I feel sick.
I know my weakness
continues to disappoint and hurt those close to
me. I pray that I will once again find the
strength to feel the love that I have worked so hard to
Lisa would find that strength and love very soon, but for now, grief and doubt overcame her. On September 15, she closed her commentary. All words, past and present, were gone. That same day, she Emailed me privately.
Paul I feel like I am dying inside. I had no idea, but a longtime friend is an Arabian Muslim. He read my weblog and of course my words hurt him to the core. I feel sick that I could be responsible for inflicting pain on someone close to me.
I feel alone. I am trying to regroup. I am trying to be strong. But all I feel is selfish. I turned to the one person whom I have given so much of myself to. Never has he uttered a negative word to me in the time that I have known him.
I needed something from him. I needed to know that I was loved. I needed to know that someone so close to me could help remind me of who I am and why I am that way.
He reacted with words of disbelief that this is what I was selfishly preoccupied with during a time when we should be thinking of anything but ourselves.
Maybe he is right. But that is what I needed from him and regardless of whether or not he wanted to talk about it, the fact that I NEEDED to hear it should have been enough to at least throw a dog a bone.
That I have degraded myself to referring to myself as a dog does not make me happy.
I don’t know the point of this email. All I know is that I can’t stop crying. Am I feeling sorry for myself?
Probably. But when I say I feel alone, nothing could be truer. I feel empty. I am causing so much pain when that is not my intention.
"Dear God, I don’t know what to do."
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I sent Lisa this bit of creative writing immediately after discovering the close of her commentary.
Subj: Voice Silenced .. An American Tragedy
Reprinted by permission of May It Never Be, official voice of Heroesville.
On the morning of Sept. 11, tragedy hit the shores of this country as never before in her history. Americans mourned throughout the world.
Everywhere you turned, on TV, you saw the same pictures, over and over. You heard the same words ... regardless of network.
One voice spoke freely, and informatively, of the Grief, the Shock, and the Horror of America Under Attack.
And now, we regret to inform you, our readers, that, as of today, Saturday, September 15, that person's Sound has been silenced.
Readers throughout the country flocked to her web log every day, hoping to see a new entry, a new discovery, a new revelation from one of their leading citizens. Always, there was news that brought comfort and solace to the heart.
Imagine their dismay when these same readers found a blank page today where a web log used to be. No links to previous writings, no explanation ... just the visual representation of Mute.
Perhaps this young lady received more news that truly devastated her? We cannot know.
We, here at the editorial staff, must ask: what does this say for the future of our country? How can the first thing that happens, after a national disaster, be the eradication of freedom of speech? Why must this lady's honest feelings be thwarted?
Her fans report that, in times past, blog readers would criticize her to such an extent that she'd give up writing temporarily. Those fans conclude that such has happened again, and they hope it is just as temporary.
We at May It Never Be say: Let Freedom Ring! Let Respect for Freedom Despise those who would damage it.
© Paul L. White, 2001
Just as immediately, Lisa returned a note to me.
Dearest Paul, I truly believe you should go to a local paper or magazine and share with them your talents. You are an incredibly gifted writer and I fear that gift is being wasted on me. You speak from the heart in such an eloquent way, I’m surprised you haven’t pursued this talent before.
As for me, I’ve run out of things to say right now.
To accentuate that sentiment, the following day Lisa created her first of two blog pages. It could not connect to previous writings.
September 16, 2001
I have no words.
I had known about Lisa’s love of kittens for a long time. Back in April, of the same year, she published this (I've combined two posts into one).
April 27, 2001
I found this
little sweet kitty in my backyard. I need to find
him a home fast. Please ask everyone you know if
they want a cute, healthy, playful kitten about 6 weeks
not potty trained yet... This little sweet face
was walking on my desk before, and then my keyboard started typing funny... then it stopped
working all together. So forgive the unanswered
April 28, 2001
Can you feel my
heart breaking? I brought the little kitty to a
pet store to be put up for adoption today. Oh...
that was so hard. I was going to wait one more
day to see if I could find him a home myself. But
I knew if I spent another minute with that purring sweet
face, I would never be able to say goodbye.
Ugh. My chest hurts.
In August, Lisa found yet another kitten, and looked for it a home. Her sentiments moved me to write two poems, just days apart.
Thou art one who leads,
A Joan of Arc who bleeds.
Tear drops foil
The barren soil
For us, the waiting seeds.
© Paul L. White, 2001
There's Something 'bout a Hero's Reach
That doesn't mind to touch her feet
For any furry thing there be
That tender makes entreaty's plea.
© Paul L. White, 2001
Lisa and I have a mutual acquaintance living close to her. Months before 9-11, Lisa was able to give her a kitten. Around 9-12, I emailed Regina as to Lisa’s travail. Regina knew exactly what to do.
During a time
when I need a smile so desperately... it came in the
sent me recent pictures of Jasper.
Me with a no named little kitty I found in my
Jasper, a healthy happy kitty with a warm home
and a family to love.
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The following day, Lisa wrote about her beloved Poppy. I will quote a portion of her post here.
September 17, 2001
I share a two-family house with my grandparents, Nanny and Poppy. They are both in their 80's and God loving people. I don't know if it's Alzheimer's or senility, but lets just say that Poppy is very forgetful
Every day when Poppy wakes up, he remembers experiences from sixty years ago, but he doesn't remember what happened yesterday. He turns on the television or reads the papers and his brain is hearing/seeing for the first time what is going on in his own backyard. I try to go downstairs as often as I can to create a diversion, but whenever I do... there Poppy sits crying.
Poppy's innocent brain looks out the window and sees the American Flags in our yard and our neighbor's yards and asks if it is Flag Day.
Poppy's crying would continue, and over subsequent months he would slowly lose his life.
By clicking the link below, you can read the full text of Lisa's blog above, and other sometimes humorous, always poignant memories of her grandfather.
1917 - June 15, 2002
Forever in my heart.
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Rage At Last…
On September 19, Lisa’s rage finally surfaced. She could stand it no more. The huge loss of life by so many, for no reason but to inflict terror, caused her to speak without abandon.
She featured, in her blog, a picture of the Statue of Liberty giving a certain hand signal. Just above her head were the words, "We’re coming you [expletive]!"
Lisa must have received far too many criticisms. The following day, she wrote extensively.
September 20, 2001
To those who have a problem with my expressions regarding yesterday's, "We're coming..." posting and any other views I have expressed in the past. This is still America and that gives me the right to freedom of speech.
Every day I learn of someone new who is dead. You've heard of my friends whom I refer to as The Michigan Street Boys. One of those guy's father is dead. Another is at Ground Zero right now sorting through body parts of his fellow firefighters... his best friend is dead. The night that my girlfriends and I went to the place in Manhattan to see a host friend of my brother's, well, he's dead. One of my client's husbands is dead. Phyllis' close friend that she has known since high school is dead. My uncle's longtime college friend and former roommate is dead. A fellow you all know that took another friend and I out in the city, his cousin is dead. Sixteen people from a close friend’s gym are dead. Someone I used to work with, cousin... dead. My other uncle has two friends that are dead. These are just a few that I know about. There are over THREE THOUSAND other innocent souls which are dead. DEAD!
I am among one of the very few lucky ones in which I haven't lost any immediate family or friends. But, I am amidst a community that has not been as fortunate as I have. People in other parts of the country may not have to walk on eggshells with each person you know... not knowing if they just lost a loved one. People in other parts of the country may not have to deal with their friends digging with their bare hands hoping for any sign of life, but instead find a baby's shoe with a foot still in it. People in other parts of the country probably don't have the news stations dedicating shows to loved ones giving out their home phone numbers in hopes that someone has information about their lost ones. People in other parts of the country may have seen pictures of the Manhattan skyline, but don't know it as a regular view in their every day lives.
If you don't believe in war, that is fine. Have your opinion, but after your immediate world has turned into a battleground, tell me how you feel then. The people responsible are not going away with peace, love and hugs. "Think of all the innocent people we will destroy?" Are you serious?
If you don't agree with me, that is fine. But I have the right to say anything I please. If you don't like it, don't come to my website. And don't point anymore guilt my way, because I have enough emotion to deal with right now. Yes, I do believe blame is warranted, but I am not the one to blame... I am a victim and I am lashing out. Forgive me... but [expletive]!!
Twenty-four hours later, the mood had changed.
|September 21, 2001
I am feeling less
angry today and more pride.
Today, the heroism
hit me. The first units called to the World Trade
Center were all Professionals. They looked at the
buildings, knew the strong possibility that their lives
were in jeopardy by entering those buildings and did not
hesitate to do their job. Their relentless bravery
in sacrificing their own lives, saved so many
The same holds
true for the group of passengers that took on the
hijackers of the Pennsylvania crash. They knew
that they were going to die, but that was not their
concern, the concern was to save the potential thousands
of other lives at stake.
I don't know how
exactly our military is going to handle the
retaliation. But each and every soldier will be
sacrificing their lives for the sake of saving millions
These are the true
heroes of our time. Thank you.
What is going on
in New York? Unity!
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Over the next few days, Lisa got out of the house, and spent time with close friends and family. You could see her spirits mend.
But then came the inevitable. She began a series of tributes In Memoriam.
September 25, 2001
the memorial service for Greg
Saucedo... New York firefighter.
Greg was a
friend of my brother's and best friend to fellow
firefighter Dave Simose (one of the Michigan
I wish I
could tell you the heroic story that was his life,
but I personally didn't know him that well.
I met him only once.
Greg was the
host one night at a party that two of my friends and I
attended. It was a great
party. Everyone knew everyone. It was a
family and we were welcomed with open
arms. We shared one big festival hosted by a guy
who took care of us all.
I was going through a bit of a rough time then, and he could tell. He encouraged me when others weren't looking, so as
not to show favoratism. He was a hero
to me, a role he will keep
for all of eternity.
the soul of our friend, host and hero... Greg
September 26, 2001
Mark Motroni, Jr one of the Michigan
Street Boys. Today is the memorial
service for his father, Mark Motroni, Sr.
Mark was my
brother's college roommate and has since been a
very close member of the family. I don't
think I have ever met his father, but if he is
anything like his sons... heaven will be laughing
just a little bit louder now.
prayers and love are with the Motroni family
I hope you
find peace in the fact that all three of your sons
survived the tragedy, Mr. Motroni. May God
bless your soul.
Mark Motroni, Sr. Tribute
Lisa took a one-day reprieve from memorials to address her Jewish friends.
September 27, 2001
It is Yom Kippur and to all the Jews, I wish you a good fast.
I live in a highly Jewish populated community. I just ran some errands and although there were only a few cars on the road... there was plenty of police presence.
Outside each Temple and Synagogue were at least two police cars additional to the officers guarding the doors. I don't know if I should feel protected or frightened.
The same with the Manhattan entry checkpoints. I am positive the government is not creating 4 hour traffic jams to make us feel secure. There are things going on that they don't want to alert us to. That is certain.
I heard a news broadcast that a man was seen fishing at an Upstate New York Reservoir. The police searched his car and found vats of agricultural chemicals intended to poison the reservoir. After that one report, I never heard anything more about the incident... only that there is high security at the reservoirs and they grounded those crop planes.
September 28, 2001
I was pulling out
of my driveway a few hours ago and noticed that traffic
was backed up all the way down the street. I don't
live on a main road, so this seemed odd to me.
Instead of trying to inch my way into traffic, I went
against the grain and took the less popular back
As I drove down
one of the side streets I noticed a dog about to run in
front of my car. I stopped in time and pulled over
to find out where she belonged. Her collar didn't
have an address. I started talking to her in that
high-pitched, only dogs understand voice and told her,
"Home!" She started walking towards a house and
stopped to roll on the front lawn. I walked up the
porch and noticed there were two doors. The dog
lead me to the right one. I knocked and her owner
answered and thanked me for bringing her
We were talking for a little while
and she asked me if I was coming from the funeral.
I then realized that is where all of the traffic had
originated. The church up the street from my house
held the funeral for Kevin O'Rourke. Mayor Giuliani
the service. I didn't know Kevin personally, but I
know many of his relatives. My next door neighbor
is one of them. The funeral procession was passing
his house out of respect.
Kevin O'Rourke was
a volunteer at our local firehouse as well as a
professional NYC firefighter. His family is one of
tradition, pride and kindheartedness. The
O'Rourkes lost one of their family members and the world
lost another innocent soul.
|September 29, 2001
Below is an article about Jonathan Cappello, who would be celebrating his birthday
Today, also, a dear, beloved pal
is attending the memorial service of her high
school sweetheart, Steve
Lamantia. This picture was taken of the two of
them last month.
Steve is one of
the 730 Cantor Fitzgerald employees killed in the World
Trade Center. In my friend's words, "Steve was one of
the nicest guys you'd ever want to know. Steve
never had anything bad to say about anyone. Steve
was Captain of the Football and Lacrosse teams in high
school and was voted 'Most Athletic'. Steve was
President of his Fraternity at Roanoke College, junior
and senior year. Steve had a good heart, a good
soul, gave good bear hugs... a great guy. It makes
no sense that this person was wiped off the
I did not know
Steve but I do know my pal. I know her friends
and the people she surrounds herself with. That is
one thing that I admire most about her. She
has a magnificent gift for attracting the greatest
quality of people. For Steve to endure as a
longtime boyfriend and friend... he had to have been a
truly special person.
My love and
deepest sympathy goes out to Steve, his family and his
Jonathan Cappello Article
|September 30, 2001
TRUE AMERICAN HERO
This is Peter
Bielfeld. Pete went to Wesley College and played
football with my uncle. They remained friends throughout the
years. I had the privilege of meeting Pete at my
uncle's wedding when I interviewed him for the wedding
video. He was probably the easiest person to get
to talk to the camera. He was outgoing, witty and
I've reveled my
whole life on the story of how my uncle and Pete
got thrown out of college together for getting into a
fight with a soda machine. They shared many
experiences together, some of them not so good, but all
of them we can look back and smile about...
On the morning of
911, Pete was in a doctor's office in Brooklyn.
When he heard the call, he told the nurse he had to
leave. Although he was assigned to a firehouse in
the Bronx, he went directly to the World Trade Center
and ran into a firehouse on Liberty Street. He
found gear in someone's locker. He left his wallet
and a note to the person that he was borrowing his
gear. He also wrote a message of love to his
parents if he did not return. He selflessly went
into the tower to help others, only to be met by his
Pete's jersey #42,
will be retired at Wesley College. In my uncle's
words, "Who would of thought that the boy who
was kicked out of that school would become the great man
that he did?" We all say the same thing about you,
Pete will be
greatly missed. He is a TRUE AMERICAN
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During the next two weeks, Lisa busied herself with personal and family matters. Her sister wanted to move back from Florida, and, faster than you can salute, Lisa flew down to help her drive home.
The roads, she reports, did look a bit different.
October 13, 2001
When my sister and I were driving home from Miami, we went over the Varrazano Bridge and saw the Manhattan skyline for the first time since 9-11. It was very sad, but a song was playing on the radio that made me know I was home in New York again. The song was "Die [Name]" to the tune of "My Sharona." It was awesome.
The drive honestly scared me a great deal. There was a procession of Army Tanks at one of the rest stops in Virginia. We passed countless army jeeps and there were soldiers at every gas station we stopped at. Driving through D.C. was surreal... I just wanted to get my sister and my self right on home. I'm so happy to be here right now. There's no place like home.
Several days later, Lisa’s message was simple.
October 19, 2001
Embrace everything you have and be thankful.
In just a few days more, anger and rage, and tumultuous sorrow, would change to love and gratitude.
October 23, 2001
I'm feeling a bit hokey today, so if you don't want to hear me get all mooshy, view another entry.
I want to thank everyone for your love and support. It never ceases to amaze me what wonderful people some of you truly are. I appreciate all of you.
I feel I should elaborate a bit though. I am fine. I am happy. I am healthy. I have the greatest support system in the world. I have so many great things going for me and I appreciate every one of them. I have no regrets.
I'm going to proceed with my life and who knows what can happen? All I know is that I feel love, I receive love and for that I am truly lucky and thankful. So, don't worry 'bout me. I'm living a life and these kinks occur from time to time.
However, the gratitude would never surrender to... Surrender.
October 25, 2001
This picture was
taken at the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri of an
actual bomb that is being sent to the Afghan
Desert. The men at the 509th Bomb Wing went out of
their way to make this tribute to Peter Bielfeld.
Thank you for your efforts! I never thought I
would ever say, "May God Bless You..." to a
Lisa then began to philosophize.
November 5, 2001
Eh... so the Yankees didn't win. It would have been nice for the people of New York, but we're still proud of them. They did have one heck of a season. Great job boys!
Do you know what I don't *get* about people? I don't understand malice. How people could deliberately go out of their way to be mean to others. My theories lean towards the idea that it is a power struggle. It's unfortunate that people can't find enough power in themselves that they need to take someone else's away.
This may sound weird, but I try to do the opposite. I try to build up enough power in myself and give it away to people who need it. I think if the rest of the world could catch on to this maneuver, the world would be a better place.
I feel like I just gave a Miss America speech.
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We’re going to skip forward in time, and then come back to November of 2001. After that, we'll add demonstrations of a new spirit. I want the closing views of Lisa to be the ones that show her most at rest, in peace, and victorious.
In December, Lisa gave us a link to a video that was then on the Internet..
December 6, 2001
If you don't know the full magnitude of September 11, after seeing the video below, you will get a closer understanding. And for those of you in other parts of the country, imagine these are people you know and it's happening in your neighborhood.
A group of us are meeting in Manhattan on Sunday for dinner. I'm excited to see Regina again! It'll be my first trip into the city since 9-11. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to handle that. But I'll have a girlfriend & my sister with me... talk about a great support system!
Heroes of 9-11
This link is no longer available.
Lisa’s holiday messages gave, perhaps, the greatest evidence that her soul was healing.
December 25, 2001
My beautiful grown-up kitten
and I wish
you a happy holiday from under our Christmas tree to
December 30, 2001
I have a heart
full of love, lungs full of air, a brain full of
knowledge, a life full of experience, an address book
full of friends, a closet full of clothes, a
refrigerator full of food, a shelf full of books, a
computer full of software, a car full of
I have a very full
The year 2002 would move along, and, except for Poppy’s departure, Lisa began to live a somewhat normal life. The ill effects of her trauma seemed to be behind her.
But then came the month of September.
September 9, 2002
The day is coming... I'm trying to muster up the words.
September 10, 2002
My dear uncle just left. He was in town for a memorial service held for his college roommate and "partner in crime," Peter Bielfeld.
I know there are a lot of people out there who don't understand and can't relate to "Never Forget."
It's not about remembering the people responsible for a senseless tragedy. It's not about remembering the instability of our security. It is about remembering the people whose lives were taken away. It's about remembering who they were and what they had to offer this world.
It's for the people left on this earth to remember, honor and respect the people whom they loved.
Wanna hear something crazy... I'm afraid to go to sleep... I'm afraid of what I'll wake up to.
September 11, 2002
I don't know what else to do... I'm staying in bed.
I can't believe it... the winning NY Lotto numbers came up 9-1-1...
I've been in bed watching TV all day. I know I should turn it off. But one channel has a ticker running on the bottom of the screen with all the victims names, ages, the town they lived, where they worked and what they did.
Some of them I knew... most I don't. But I've been to their neighborhoods, some were my age, some had the same job as me... any one of them could have been me.
Tomorrow is another day... and it is going to be different.
I felt so privileged on the anniversary of our nation’s tragedy. Lisa emailed me some special sentiments, after receiving my condolences.
Thank you sweetie... out of curiosity... does every television channel by you have tributes to 911 on?
I’m watching it... ABC and Peter Jennings... it’s killing me... I should turn it off...
But I’m watching about people I know and knew... I feel like I need to be with them.
Thanks for being with me today... I needed that.
What I am watching are the individual stories. It breaks your heart.
Tomorrow is another day and I guarantee it is going to be pivotal.
I know some days I feel weak, but it’s only to revamp my strength. Today was good for the sake of tomorrow.
It’s a new dawn... it’s a new day…
Lisa repeated her message of renewal in her blog.
September 12, 2002
It's a new year as far as I am concerned. The past 365 days have been horrible on many levels. I have said a final good-bye to one of the most important people in my life, and to many friends.
I spent the entire day in bed yesterday. It felt like I was asleep for a year.
It's time to heal. It's time to move on. It's time to rebuild. It's time to live. Who's with me?
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In the years after Lisa's 9-11 Experience…
September 11, 2003
The memory is
For hours, they
have been stating names... thousands of names. Some
think that is excessive. I recognize names in every
the alphabet... That is the excessive part.
I found out a few months ago, that someone I
with died in the WTC. Brett Frieman and I were never
friends, but he'll always be missed by the people who loved
him. His quote in our high school yearbook says,
"Give an inch
they'll take a yard, give a yard they take a mile, once a
twice a child. Everything is just for a while." - Bob
Rest in peace,
|March 19, 2003
I am not sure what
I am seeing on TV. In 30 minutes it will be
explained to me. But what I hear in my head
simultaneously with the light green flash is:
Bielfeld...... Greg Saucedo...... Steve Lamantia......
Mark Motroni...... Kevin O'Rourke...... Mothers......
Fathers...... Sons...... Daughters...... Husbands......
Wives...... Aunts...... Uncles...... Cousins......
Editor's Note: At the moment of this 2003 update, our nation was defending its shores, continuing to do battle with insurgents, after a victorious pre-emptive strike on Iraq. Perhaps the grief and sorrow which Lisa faced gave wisdom in her open, but measured, comments:
March 20, 2003
better judgment I'm going to express my political
beliefs. I am not interested in starting a
debate. These are my opinions and as long as I am
an American, I have a right to express those
beliefs. If you don't want to hear it... see
In a perfect
world, there would be no vulnerability in our
security. But as recent events have proved we are
very vulnerable... anyone, anywhere at any
I don't believe
going to war is going to solve this problem of hatred
and vulnerability. However, it seems to me that it
is a necessary first step in starting to eliminate the
danger. When this war is over, there will
inevitably be second, third, fourth and fifth steps
taken until that sense of security is restored. I
believe that goal is worth fighting for. In all
reality, that goal may never be achieved, but
eliminating certain forces seem necessary
Many lives will be
sacrificed, yes. The men and women fighting for
our freedoms and safety elected their position.... the
same way the firefighters elected to enter the WTC to
save lives... the same way the passengers of flight 93
overtook the terrorists to save lives... True
American Heroes. All of them.
To the innocent
lives that will be sacrificed for our freedoms... there
is no way to justify it. However, how many more of
our innocent lives needs to be sacrificed?
Personally, I would do everything in my power to
eliminate the possibility of another family facing the
ultimate tragedy that thousands of Americans have
In a perfect world
we would not need armed forces, we could wave a wand and
freedom and security would reign. It is not a
|April 9, 2003
This morning I
watched the monument of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad fall
to the ground. The Iraqi people threw things at it
and eventually trampled on it. There was a little
Iraqi boy waving an American flag. The only thing
I felt was joy for the people who are closer to freedom
for the first time in their lives.
I was thinking
about how the people will tell their grandchildren that
they were there for that moment... and the pride they
will see in their children's freedom that wasn't
available to themselves. Americans are helping
create those freedoms. I am happy for Iraqi
citizens and I am proud to be an American.
November 23, 2003
Allow me to get a
little sentimental here. I used to live for the
holidays. I'd start preparing weeks, even months in
Throughout my entire life, Nanny & Poppy were at
every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Birthday. Since the
loss of Poppy, my heart just isn't in it anymore.
seem right. I miss him. I miss him every day and the
holidays just amplify the loss.
This writer will long be convinced that the passing of Lisa's beloved Poppy arrived sooner than it should have, because of 9-11.
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Lyle Alzado ... Friend and Hero
We now have VIDEO where indicated!
This commentary followed a television broadcast of "The Lyle Alzado Story." Mr. Alzado is a long-time friend of Lisa's Dad, and the entire family.
December 23, 2003
HAPPY FESTIVUS FROM THE REST OF US!!!
What did I think of
the show about Lyle Alzado last night? I wasn't thrilled about
it. I think they should have geared more towards who Lyle was
as a person. With his real friends and not about who he was at
work. I remember him giving a lecture at the high
school. I couldn't have been more than 5 or 6 years old at the
time. I didn't understand what he was saying for most of
it. But 25 years later I do remember distinctly the last
sentence he spoke at the lecture:
"All I'm saying is,
you can be a truck driver... just be the best d*** truck driver
On the field he was
fierce, intimidating, explosive and that was his job. He was
just being the best d*** defensive end there ever was.
And the whole
steroid thing is really disturbing to me. When he was dying,
he wanted to send out a helpful message to other people. He
was trying to save others from his experience. Steroids wasn't
what molded him as a person... helping people was. It was a
small chapter, but unfortunately "Steroid Abuser" will always be
tattooed with his name now.
The whole thing
with his 3 ex-wives was just a waste of air. I'm sorry, but
gathering 3 bitter ex-wives together to talk about Lyle is just a
recipe for bashing. It would have been bad for anyone. I
did however like Kathy's take on everything (his 4th wife and
widow). She told the story of who he really was.
They showed Daddy
and the garage very briefly. They showed all of his best
friends very briefly. Dad and Sal Ciampi were his idols.
Mark Lyons was his best friend. But on the show they were all
just a blip.
Uncle Lyle once did
the Joan Rivers show. She asked him who his friends
were. Right away, he said, "My real friends are they guys I
grew up with..." With that (a complete surprise to Lyle) Dad,
Uncle Mark and John DeLeo walked on to the stage. He freaked
out and they all embraced.
People ask if Uncle
Lyle, Uncle Sal and Uncle Mark are my real uncles. In blood,
no. But they were all true brothers.
The last time I saw
Lyle, I was about 18. In all those years, I never saw a mean
streak in him. What I saw was a hilarious and generous man who
loved his friends. He always followed the Italian motto of,
"Take Care Of Your Own." No matter where he was or what he was
doing... if he ever met anyone from the neighborhood, he would go
out of his way to make them feel special.
He was doing a
signing in the local mall once. He saw Larry (a buddy,
Lawrence High School graduate and former football player of my
dad's). Lyle pulled Larry behind the table and had him sit with
him. When people got up to the table, they all extended good
wishes to Lyle and Larry. Larry must have felt like I felt at
a recent Christmas Party with celebrities.
That is who Uncle
Lyle was. He took care of his own. Someone should make a
show about that. And someone should definitely include his
son, Justin. Justin gives lectures about the dangers of
steroids. Justin is carrying on the message Uncle Lyle tried
to relay, of help. But there was no mention of that in the
God Bless You Uncle
Lyle. We knew the real you. No TV show could change our
minds or truly capture your greatness. Rest in peace knowing
your life carries on in us.
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On Privacy and the 2004 Superbowl Half-time Show …
I'm getting a lot
of flack for this, but I'm sticking to my guns. I strongly
believe that children should be spoken to honestly about sexuality
and the human body. However, if I were a mother, I don't think
I would go into the description of things like [intimate jewelry]. But, that would be my choice, not some celebrity's.
If [intimate jewelry items]
were the standards and practices of the Super Bowl halftime show,
then I would make a choice whether or not I wanted my children to be
exposed to that. But for someone to make that choice for me...
I think that is completely inappropriate and unacceptable. So,
in conclusion... *sticks tongue out*
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Faith vs. Religion
Where I have I been
for a week? Well, during the holiest of holy weeks, I've been
feeling very frustrated about how my spiritual beliefs strongly
conflicts what the church represents. I believe in my religion. I
believe miracles happen every day. I believe a paradise awaits all
that believe in heaven. I believe that all people deserve to be
treated with kindness and I believe in giving to people less
fortunate than myself.
However, the church
has turned into a multi-billion dollar organization who, I believe,
abuse their power to take advantage of the innocent looking for
direction. If Jesus were alive today, I do not believe He would need
a house of gold and a marble pedestal to speak His word. I don't
believe He would ask for money to support that multi-billion dollar
organization. If anything, I believe He would speak against what has
turned into Organized Religion.
As far as I
understand, Jesus did not try to influence the Romans on their ways
of ruling their nation. Therefore, by what authority does the church
have to get involved in politics today and use their influence to
skew their followers beliefs?
I believe the laws
of God are written in our hearts and those moral laws should be
defined by the individual and redefined by growth and experience. I
don't believe in following laws defined by men thousands of years
ago and carried out by imposing the guilt of Satan.
But, if ever I
decide to get married, I plan on doing it in a church. I still
believe that is the only way to perform a sacrament under God's
eyes. But wouldn't that be hypocritical of me?
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The Constitution and those who choose same-sex unions …
While this editor agrees with the static nature of many so-called "religious beliefs," Lisa speaks eloquently, precisely, and with great social skill on the gay rights issue.
She does so in response to my complaint that such life-style may be taught, and recommended, in public school systems some day. May we all learn from Lisa's kind and express style.
This is why I love being an American. We all have opinions and we all have the right to express them. I respect you and I respect your opinions. I think its wonderful that you can express them so eloquently. It is a true gift.
In my case, if I ever have children, I would explain to them openly about gay relationships. It is part of our “open” culture right now. Just because I ignore it, doesn’t mean it's not happening. I would rather my child heard it from me first.
The greatest thing about our constitution is that it's open ended. Nothing is set in stone. It’s meant to change with society. Something that (no offense) religion is not as open to.
Okay... I’ve said enough.
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The Way She Is…
"I believe that friends are quiet angels who lift us to our
feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."
Angel quote: © Copyright 2000, Lorraine K. For the story of this quote, and it's origin, please click here.
Angel picture © Copyright 2001, Bill and
Barbara Culhane at Angels from Best of the web.
As promised a while back, we will return, now, to November of 2001. Lisa's sentiments from the email above
describe her to a "T," even though she meant them to be a general commentary on
The picture below more than symbolizes her arrival at absolute inner peace.
I just found this picture of
me from the Newport Jazz Festival. Don't I just look so
content under my umbrella in the pouring rain lying on a wet blanket
listening to Ray Charles...
Further healing takes place as each year passes from that terror-filled day. Perhaps the best showcase of Lisa's current outlook can be found while she was on vacation in Maui.
There, she was completely alone, without constraints, responsibilities or expectations.
November 10, 2003
My vacation was an
active one. Just about every day I did some crazy
excursion. I don't want to go into too great detail, because
that will be dull. I will share one story now, because it was
the greatest I felt all week.
Everywhere I went I discovered price gouging. Got so annoyed, I
decided to abort my shopping mission. Instead I walked to the shore and
checked out the free views.
I saw an elderly
Hawaiian man sitting on a flattened cardboard box... I assume he is
homeless. He had long gray hair and a long gray beard, he wore
funky sunglasses and a Hawaiian hat. I introduced myself and
asked him if I could sit down. For about an hour we talked
about the Hawaiian way. He said he spent his days preaching
the word of the Lord. But he wasn't preaching to me... he was
simply sharing his experiences and his peaceful life. I asked
what he did for money and he told me, "The Lord provides." I
felt so calm and appreciative that he would share his vibe with
me. Before I left him, I went into my wallet and gave him
some money. He said, "Lisa, you don't have to..." I stopped him
right there and said, "I know I don't have to... I would rather give
it to you than give it to them [pointing at the overpriced
stores]." He said, "God bless you. I love you."
what? I love him too. He represented the unspoiled
Maui. The lost world of beauty, peace and calmness. I
left feeling lighter than air. I had touched a world of
perfection and it was one of the greatest experiences of my
November 11, 2003
Here's another story. We all know Maui is the honeymoon
capital of the world. I spent one day amidst all the newlyweds
at my hotel's pool. Everyone
was lined up in lounge chairs... couple, couple, couple, couple, Lisa,
couple, couple, couple... But none of the couples were
talking. No conversation, no laughter, no enjoyment. I
couldn't believe it. Then I glimpsed over to the girl sitting
next to me. She was reading a book entitled, "I Do. I
Did. Now What? Life After The Wedding Dress." I'm
sorry, but if this is the reading material you bring on your
honeymoon... well, that is just so very sad. At that moment, I
was the most validated single person in the world. I would
absolutely prefer to be on a vacation alone than to be "that"
Am I being too
judgmental here? Maybe. But I'll tell you this, I may
have been the only person in that hotel not having sex... but I was
genuinely happy with myself and my life choices. I couldn't
ask for any more than that.
In this next journal entry, Lisa evidences two things: 1) her soul can find humor in adversity, and 2) she has learned to reverence all creatures, and experiences ...no matter how seemingly insignificant.
November 13, 2003
I was really hoping
my vacation would revamp my brain and replenish my work
energy. Wrong! I've been draggin' since I got
back. I miss
the freeness and inspiration of beauty.
I'd like to share one more
experience. My last day in Maui, I drove the Road To
Hana. I bought a very detailed guidebook of Maui which laid
out this drive thoroughly. They said the car of choice for
this drive is a convertible. They also clearly stated that if
the weather looks bad at first, not to worry because it clears up
after 5 minutes. An hour later I'm drenched and waiting for
the expected blue sky. I can't believe this book failed to
mention that you are driving through a RAIN FORREST!!! Cut to
me, the soaking wet tourist with the convertible top down in
aside, it was a beautiful drive. The rain caused flash floods
which produced the most gorgeous waterfalls imaginable. Then
came the Black Sanded Beach. Absolutely surreal!!!
There's no comedic
ending to this story. It was just a tranquil and remarkable
experience. I did see a lot of cows too.
There continues to be more about Lisa that qualifies her for status
of "Hero." I hope the bit we’ve given here will stay with you for a long, long
Godspeed Lisa. And thank you for all.
BACK TO LIST
Lisa says goodbye …
This editor still grieves over Lisa's sudden departure from the Internet. Suffice it to say that he believes this result was "on its way" ever since 9-11.
When I started
Baggy Boxers I was filled with uncertainty. What would I write? Who
would care? What purpose would this serve? As doubtful as I was, I
still took a chance. Now I can say with all confidence, that this
was one of the best experiences of my life.
I was lucky to
meet some of the greatest people in my life. People got to learn a
little about who I am. And I got to know a little more about
So as I bow out of site (get it), I’d like to thank
you for keeping me laughing, learning and loving all this
I’ll never forget these days.
Lisa, you are sorely missed.
I kept Lisa’s identity confidential for her protection and
BACK TO LIST
From Lorraine M.
In October of 2016, this webmaster received an Email from Lorraine M. who notified him that she was the authoress of the phrase regarding angels and friends. It was the sixteenth anniversary of the time in which she penned the words, and little did she know then that just one year later these words would come to signify so much regarding 9-11. Here is her story.
"I believe friends are quiet Angels who lift us up when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."
For the past 15 years I have watched these words of mine go viral from the moment I wrote them. They are my words expressed through God. I wrote the quote on October
23, 2000 to my personal friends. I was going through personal troubles, and was expressing my love and appreciation. I was a new single mother dealing with self worth, finances, and spiritual angst. My friends gathered around me and lifted me up
through God's grace.
Once 9/11 occurred the email public began posting my quote, along with beautiful
pictures of angels everywhere. There was even a picture in [a major publication].
I use the relationship of a mother and child, because that is how I feel about all of my
works (especially my children).
Never did I know, or even think my quote would be a comfort to so many in the
upcoming years. Which is why I continued to shy away from putting a limit on their
use. God would not have wanted that, I believe He wouldn't. But as the many years
have passed, I see my words without a mother, and feel as though they've been torn
from me. (I cry as I write this to you - it pains me to see the words "unknown" or "anonymous" attached to what I have given birth to.)
With all that said. I give you permission to use my quote in your project to honor
Thank you, Miss Lorraine. It is an honor to have met you. (You can return to the article's quote by clicking here.) As with Lisa's, I kept Lorraine’s identity confidential for her protection and assurance.
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