PBS: Six Words For 9/11

September 7, 2011

Six Words For 9/11
Need to Know on PBS – By Gloria Teal and Karen Brazell

How would you remember the events of September 11, 2001, in just six words? In this collaboration between Need to Know and SMITH Magazine, people share six-word memoirs of what happened that fateful morning, their process of healing and the many ways in which 9/11 transformed their lives forever

My husband, Alexander M. Filipov, was killed on AA #11, the first airplane to hit the towers on September 11, 2001. [At first,] I was angry and confused, hopeless, as if I were in a black hole, never to come out. But then, I thought of my husband: the stories he would tell, the way he helped our sons with their math, teaching them to sail by using the position of the stars, his love of gardening and inventing and painting. He sought out the best in people and cared about the world in all its beauty and pain. I knew he would not want me to be angry. In his name, and to celebrate the way he lived his life and not how he died, the Al Filipov Peace & Justice Forum (www.alfilipov.org) was established. Each September, the forum invites a distinguished speaker from a variety of backgrounds and faith traditions to encourage listeners to work for social justice in their lives, communities and world.
Loretta Filipov: My husband, Alexander M. Filipov, was killed on AA #11, the first airplane to hit the towers on September 11, 2001. [At first,] I was angry and confused, hopeless, as if I were in a black hole, never to come out. But then, I thought of my husband: the stories he would tell, the way he helped our sons with their math, teaching them to sail by using the position of the stars, his love of gardening and inventing and painting. He sought out the best in people and cared about the world in all its beauty and pain. I knew he would not want me to be angry. In his name, and to celebrate the way he lived his life and not how he died, the Al Filipov Peace & Justice Forum (www.alfilipov.org) was established. Each September, the forum invites a distinguished speaker from a variety of backgrounds and faith traditions to encourage listeners to work for social justice in their lives, communities and world.
When my dad’s life ended, my love for my dad did not end....I consider it a divine blessing that I was able to find ways to both grieve his loss and the tragedy of that day, but also keep my heart open and alive. Over the years, reflecting on the impact of 9/11 and the ways in which I found myself navigating that experience, the perspective of feeling like I was “broken open” emerged. When the feelings of grief, anger and sadness sprung forth after 9/11, on the other side of experiencing and expressing those emotions I felt the hardened shell of who I was cracked apart and I became more connected to my emotional / intuitive heart and soul. I felt more alive. I felt more connected with what I now consider my true self. It was kind of like feeling “snapped back” into the present moment....What is obvious to me is that all “things” in this life will all pass away. But a love that I feel deep in my heart and soul feels like it is alive in its own unique way, is connected to all of life, and is timeless. The love I feel for my dad I experience in this way. I can feel him alive within me – within my heart every day. Anytime I choose to reflect and go that place, that love is there and feels will always be there, forever.

Antonio Aversano: When my dad’s life ended, my love for my dad did not end….I consider it a divine blessing that I was able to find ways to both grieve his loss and the tragedy of that day, but also keep my heart open and alive. Over the years, reflecting on the impact of 9/11 and the ways in which I found myself navigating that experience, the perspective of feeling like I was “broken open” emerged. When the feelings of grief, anger and sadness sprung forth after 9/11, on the other side of experiencing and expressing those emotions I felt the hardened shell of who I was cracked apart and I became more connected to my emotional / intuitive heart and soul. I felt more alive. I felt more connected with what I now consider my true self. It was kind of like feeling “snapped back” into the present moment….What is obvious to me is that all “things” in this life will all pass away. But a love that I feel deep in my heart and soul feels like it is alive in its own unique way, is connected to all of life, and is timeless. The love I feel for my dad I experience in this way. I can feel him alive within me – within my heart every day. Anytime I choose to reflect and go that place, that love is there and feels will always be there, forever.

My world got bigger after 9/11. Following the death of my brother, Jim, at the World Trade Center, I helped to found September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, an organization made up of people who lost family members in the 9/11 attacks. Through my work with Peaceful Tomorrows, I have had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world who have been impacted by war and terrorism.

David Potorti: My world got bigger after 9/11. Following the death of my brother, Jim, at the World Trade Center, I helped to found September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, an organization made up of people who lost family members in the 9/11 attacks. Through my work with Peaceful Tomorrows, I have had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world who have been impacted by war and terrorism.

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