Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Her name is Rosa.  She was a young wife on September 11, 2001.  I don't know her, but I met her husband briefly that day.  I was born and raised in New York City but moved away decades ago.  Over the years, my only brother and I and our families settled - coincidentally -  in the same city in the South - hundreds of miles from N.Y.  In 2001, my parents decided to sell their home and move to be closer to their children and grandchildren.  And so that's how it happened that I was in New York City, helping my parents with last minute packing at their home - on September 11, 2001.

As anyone who was in New York City that day can tell you, life became surreal, everything happening in slow motion and fast forward. At about 11:30 AM, my mother and I walked to Von Briesen Park, along with thousands of shocked and silenced neighbors, because it was a clear view across the bay to lower Manhattan and The World Trade Center.  The same emotions that gripped the country - anger, shock, grief - gripped the crowd standing there.  Eventually, my mom and I decided to walk back to our home and as we did, Rosa's husband was standing on the sidewalk with his cell phone in his hand, ashen faced dialing and redialing a number.  "Do you have someone who worked there?" we asked him.  "My wife, Rosa worked in the Towers.  She called me that she'd made it down to the street after the plane hit,  but right after that the Towers collapsed and I haven't heard from her."  We stopped to pray with him. My mother hugged him... He was in a panic.  Rightfully so.  

Communication in the greatest city in the world was like a Third World Country that day.  (And for several days after)   The phone system - cell phone and landlines - were on OVERLOAD.  You could not get a dial tone.  At all.  You couldn't just call a loved one and say, "Hey, I'm o.k.  I'm walking home because the subways aren't working."  The streets were STOPPED.  Buses weren't going over bridges because bridges were closed as precaution.  The most reliable form of transportation became a person's two feet.  People were walking MILES and MILES to get home.  And the people who loved them were simply waiting as the sun was setting, darkness arriving  - not knowing if or when their loved would be walking through the front door.   It wasn't like a normal day where you'd get a call to tell you that they were in the hospital.  All you could do is wait.  And wait.  And wait.

Shortly after dark, as we were all just out on the sidewalks comforting each other, still in shock and processing what had happened,  I heard a sound that broke my heart and haunts me to this very moment.  It was coming from the house where Rosa's husband had been standing earlier in the day.  It was Rosa's husband and he was screaming out her name, "ROSA!!  ROSA!!! My ROSA!  Where are you Rosa?  COME HOME TO ME.. ROSA!!! ROSA!!! ROOOOOOOOOOOOOSAAAAAAAAAA"

I heard the cry for Rosa.  I am not a talented enough writer to convey in typewritten words the SOUND I heard that day.  I cannot convey the heart crushing, agony and emotion behind the cry.  I became even more angry than I was.  I became incensed that two people were forever cut off from one another because someone else decided that Death was a good thing to introduce that day.   The cry for Rosa put all the events of September 11th in to perspective for me.  Death is what happened that day.  Someone's hatred for someone else brought a wave of death that swallowed people in a tsunami of evil.  Rosa's husband was separated from the wife he loved because someone he didn't know was filled with hate.

Over the next several days... moving my parents....dealing with the chaos... I never did discover if Rosa came home. Or if he found her in a hospital.  Or what happened to Rosa. All I know is that the cry for Rosa should never have been heard. The cry for Rosa should not have been cried.  And it was repeated thousands of times that day.... the same agony... a different name.

We cannot undo September 11, 2001.   Years later.... the crack in my heart from being so close to such evil opened once again... and I remember Rosa and her husband's cry.  Suddenly...a small whisper to my heart.....and like a curtain was drawn for a split second... I understood that there was a similar cry in Heaven... thousands of years ago.   A Father forever separated from His children because a snake decided that Death was a good thing to introduce to the world.   His hatred for Our Father caused that snake to introduce Death to His children.    I understood for a small split second that the cry for Rosa was nothing compared to the cry for ME.. and YOU... coming from God on a Cross......... "I cannot live without you... and so I will die to pay for the evil sin that is taking you away from me forever.... I cannot allow it. I cannot live without you."
Through one man sin entered the world.
Through one Man - LIFE defeated the death and the evil that sin brought.

I wish I knew what happened to Rosa and her husband.
I do not.
But God does.
This place is not the end of the story. It's the beginning.

I pray that reading about the cry for Rosa will cause someone to understand that as we remember senseless evil today... we will also remember unimaginable LOVE that sent God's Only Son to conquer it. 

"Because I live... you shall live also."  - Jesus

Mrs. Older


  1. I wish this could be posted on a national news website. Beautiful, poetic, heart rending words. Thanks you.

  2. This is hauntingly beautiful and sad. It brought me to tears. Thank you for taking the time to share this.

  3. I saw this on another site and came here. This is prize winning writing. who are you?

  4. Keep trying to post comment but it never shows up. Want to say that I think this is very moving.