In Respectful Memory

Posted: September 11, 2006 in Journal

I do not know James Joseph Demonico, and of all the people in this world to try and do justice to the memorialization of his life, there is probably few less suited to do so than I am. I can only claim to be touched peripherally by the fall of the Twin Towers. I was horrified and afraid and desperate for news of survivors, just as the entire world was. But I’ve never even been to New York City, and had never visited the World Trade Center. So I only have my imagination to try to discern what the victims might have been like. I can only imagine what their families might have gone through. I can only imagine the trauma the entire city underwent.

I can imagine that James Joseph Demonico was performing the same routine he had for much of his 56 years, on the morning of September 11, 2001. He would have made his way to his office in the World Trade Center and settled in to begin his day. As a member of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, he was no doubt refreshed from a recent vacation he’d had (*), and was reapproaching his responsibilities with renewed vitality. He could have grabbed a cup of coffee, stopped to chat with his friends and colleagues, and perhaps had taken his time getting started that morning.

I hope he went off that morning with a smile and a kiss shared with his loved ones. I hope that, somewhere in there, there was a hug, a laugh, a clasp on the shoulder. I hope that he felt appreciated and loved and alive on that morning. And, when faced with the inevitable, I hope that he remembered all the good that he experienced in this world, and that in the end a sense of peace overcame any fear.

I do not know on what floor Mr. Demonico resided when the Twin Towers were attacked. I just know, by an impersonal and bald statement on a few websites, that he was confirmed dead either at or in one of the buildings. I looked long and hard for more information about James, to little avail. But from what I did find, it paints a picture of a very fine man.

I know he was called “Jimmy”. I know he grew up in the Bronx. I know he is Godfather to a little boy. I know he was a fun-loving person. I know he was a dedicated employee. I know he has a family that misses him (*).

I know so little about this man, yet I feel enormous respect for his memory and the memories of all the victims of the terrorist attacks. We will never forget, but we will go on.

(*) Postings on the September 11th Victims Website by his friends and colleagues revealed these personal insights into James Joseph Demonico’s life.

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