Peace Scientists work for peace
The day after September 11
Sep 11, 2001. SJ Dodgson MJoTA 2015 v9n2 0911

Since 2001, life has started, ended or continued for all of us, and today the memorials for the immediately killed and the walking wounded are fewer, and less enthusiastic. But the burden of grief from the immediate survivors continues.

My immediate reaction on hearing that 2 planes had smashed into 2 New York City buildings was to drive to the Red Cross and donate blood. During my drive I heard live eyewitness accounts that the towers had fallen, and when I arrived at the Red Cross, it was closed.

When I returned to work, writing about pneumonia, the boss sent us all home. No-one could concentrate, especially after we heard how so many fireman had been trapped and killed when the towers fell.

The next day, Sep 12, my youngest son became a teenager, and we tried to find an open restaurant to celebrate. They were mostly closed, and the one we found was empty except for us.

The personal fall-out for me was huge. I was suddenly actively recruited by advertising agencies who needed professional medical writers who were willing to get on airplanes and fly over the country and around the world.

I knew that airplane disasters of this magnitude would result in tightening security, and whatever happened, would not be able to happen again. So I left my job in Marlton, New Jersey, and signed up with a company that had started in New Zealand, and got my instructions in the Auckland Room. Three weeks after 9/11, I was in a pool in a luxury hotel in Santa Barbara, chatting with HIV physicians about their work. And 6 weeks later, I was climbing up the hill to the Parthenon in Athens.

But every day from 9/11, I was reading comments from medical writers in New York, who reported that New York City looked like a funeral home, with names and faces of lost friends and relatives posted on walls and posts. And dust everywhere. And inaccessibility to lower Manhattan. And disruption.

In 2009 and 2010 I stayed for many nights in East New York, in the Pink Houses. Pictures from inside and outside the Pink Houses, below. I am shown with a singer, Yanusa, whose picture I was taking for a poster.

The Pink Houses have a round garden memorial to the janitors, waiters, security guards who worked at the World Trade Center. So many stockbrokers and analysts lost their lives, and so many folks taking the A train from Queens and Brooklyn. May the lives lost be remembered and the survivors be comforted the days after Sep 11, when we celebrate life.

Ten years after 9/11. SJ Dodgson MJoTA 2011 v5n2 0912


So much going on in New York this weekend: Egbe Omo Yoruba National Convention in Long Island, 9/11 memorials in a big way at the World Trade Center site, in less grand ways with wreath laying in communities in communities - on Brighton Beach Russian-Americans laid wreaths at their memorial and in Brooklyn, church services remembered the 19 Nigerians who died in the terror attacks. But mostly, the memorials, the ones that mattered, were in all our hearts.


For me, Sep 11 is not about death, but about life. In 1988, on a sunny warm Sunday afternoon, I drove my car to a friend's house, dropped off my 2 young sons, and drove my car into the parking garage at the University of Pennsylvania. walked down 3 flights of stairs, crossed 38th street, walked down Hamilton Walk, climbed up 2 flights of stairs to my lab and office. I collected my bag, and walked through the corridors to the emergency room, plopped down my bag and announced that I was in labor.


All through the night of Sep 11 I labored, and when the nurses realized that my baby was in trouble, they wheeled me into the operating theater, the Chairman of Anesthesiology gave me a general anesthetic and at 12.24am, Allister Michael Dodgson Blossfeld was born.


A lot has changed since 1988, and a lot has not. I was then an academic researcher and assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania; my friend, the Reverend Lucy Ammerman Esq, was then a young mother as well as consul to a huge rail conglomerate, and now a vicar in an Episcopal church outside Philadelphia. Allister has grown up, and grown tall, but Sep 11, 2011 was another sunny Sunday, where normal people were doing normal things in Philadelphia and New York.

A newspaper blooms in the Pink Houses in Brooklyn click here
Pictures on the right were taken in 2009 while I was staying in a 4-bedroom 7th floor apartment in the Pink Houses in Brooklyn, in a futile but exciting attempt to boost the circulation of the New York Echo, which name then belonged, uncopyrighted, to a 16-page newspaper published from the 4th bedroom, see the pictures. It was a valiant effort, and in so many ways it could have succeeded, but ego, jealousy, and total lack of focus collapsed it. Ah! But it was fun, so much fun.
Building a university city in Nigeria (West Africa) AND a university city in Kenya (East Africa) at the same time from an apartment in Minnesota (God bless him) click here
BROOKLYN: Sep 11, 2015, Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Leader and Chair of the Council's Housing and Buildings Committee, released the following statement on the fourteenth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks which claimed almost 3,000 lives in New York City, Washington DC and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. 

STATEMENT BY COUNCIL MEMBER WILLIAMS

 

Like so many Americans, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing at this very moment 14 years ago. I'll never forget hearing the devastating news while helping campaign for a local election, and will forever be grateful that my family was safe. It goes without saying that so many didn't have my same fortune, and that our country was changed forever. My prayers for peace and comfort go to all New Yorkers on this solemn day of remembrance, especially the families which carry the legacies of the loved ones they tragically lost. 


In the memory of our fallen brothers and sisters, let us renew the commitment to acknowledge the humanity in which we all meet and unite as one New York, one America and one world with compassion and love. There is still so much work to be done across the globe to address tragedies, terror and disregard of human life still occurring with stunning regularity. I am proud to see how far our city has come in rebuilding the site and its surrounding area. The accomplishments we've achieved thus far prove to be a sign of our city's fortitude, strength and steadfast resilience, sending those who wish to do us harm at home and abroad a clear message: 'New Yorkers will always stand proud and strong.'



Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Leader, represents the 45th Council District, which covers Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, and parts of Midwood and Canarsie. He is the chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings, and co-chair of the Task Force to Combat Gun Violence. He is a co-founding member of the Progressive Caucus, and a member of the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus. He was first elected to office in 2009 and re-elected in 2013.