WTC Tragedy Remembered:
September 11, 2005

9-11 Memorial Service
[2005 Photos and story]

The following address was given by Mr. Paul Carris during the service.

Thank you Rev Glasser for that introduction. To the Millers, I know nothing can truly heal your loss, but I am proud to be part of our community that is here to honor Robert and keep him and you in our thoughts and prayers. To Hasbrouck Heights, from the minute I got home four years ago with friends waiting at my house right up the kind words I still get today, I thank you all for the support and friendship you continue to show my family and me.

I am never sure what to expect on this day. Each anniversary emotions kind of sneak up on me and I’ve noticed the same thing with my fellow workers at the Port Authority. We start the day and then realize at some point there is this emptiness that comes. But that emptiness, whether it is from losing a friend or family member on 9-11, or from Hurricane Katrina as we have so recently seen, is something that comes anytime we lose someone close to us. Every loss is a tragedy, especially when the person is young or still living a vital life.

Like most of you, I have thought countless times about what happened 4 years ago today … and all I can come up with is this … there is no human explanation or human rationalization to help us understand why some of us survived and some did not. 9-11 was a TRAGEDY on a global and deeply personal scale and in this day and age when we mince words and twist meanings to suit our purposes, there can be no spin put on the meaning of tragedy.

We could spend the rest of our lives trying to figure why 9-11 took place, or being bitter, angry at the terrorists or the government, or being depressed over it … but, to what end? … Those are destructive emotions that can consume us and prevent those of us who are still here from living the fullness of life that God has blessed us with … we could risk missing opportunities to have relationships with new people and improve relationships with those we already know… we could risk missing in the important things happening in the lives of our loved ones.

One of the things I have learned is that "We cannot always control what happens to us, but we can control how we choose to react to it."

That statement is appropriate for any time in our lives, but it is also a statement much easier said than done.

Picking up on what Rev. Glasser had to say, I know that God allows good to come from tragedy … And there are good things that happened this day 4 years ago and since, which I want to point out:

• Most importantly, up to 25,000 people survived and it wasn’t just by accident. Almost all of them including my friend Judith and I can chalk that up to the efforts of the fire, police, emergency workers, paramedics and our fellow workers.

Each year more stories are revealed about regular people who helped each other that day. Looking at the television images it is hard to believe how calm everyone was in the stairwells. We were stopped for 10 – 15 minutes at a time and no one panicked. People shared water with each other, made room for the firemen coming up the stairs and the injured that needed to get down quickly.

• A story that has not been heard much is that after the 1993 bombing, a large structural girder was placed between the Lobby of the North Tower and the Marriott Hotel … the hotel was located in between the two towers and was severely damaged in ‘93. The girder was to add structural stability to the reconstruction of the hotel. After the first jet hit the north tower, where the Port Authority offices were … the department directors were told to assemble in the Marriott lobby. Most of the agency’s directors were in that lobby as the south tower collapsed and crushed the Marriott. Those people happened to be standing under that girder and they all survived. The engineers who designed that girder used to be teased about its overdesign and what was considered at the time an extravagant cost. And it’s a good thing they did …

• Of the several funerals I attended after September 11, the remarkable thing about them was that anywhere from several hundred to over a thousand people were in attendance at each one. To realize that each of our lives touch so many others is important and it is so easily forgotten when we are focused on our own problems.

A friend of mine at the Port is from Pakistan. He carried an elderly man with cancer who was weakened from chemo treatments down many flights of stairs that day. No one cared that my friend is a devout Muslim.

Another friend of mine took the only photos from inside the WTC stairwells and he wrote a book titled "WALKING FORWARD LOOKING BACK." It is a good message because it is natural to look back and remember those we lost, but it is more important to cope with the hurt, the loss, the anger and keep moving forward to do something with our lives. For me, my faith has gone from doctrines that were mostly learned and studied to a faith that I experience every day.

These are some of the good things I think about to help me control how I react to September 11, or any bad event in my life…But, focusing on the good does not mean I will ever forget the evil which occurred that day … I cannot …. and I am not sure I want to. What I can do, however, and what you can do, by focusing on the good … is to positively remember and honor the memory of those who lost their lives that day.

So PLEASE, I ask that you …

• Pray for this world we live in.

• Pray for our Country, our leaders and our military.

• Pray for our community.

• Pray for each other; pray with your actions, by helping each other the way everyone in the WTC stairwells helped each other four years ago. Thank you and God Bless you all.


Paul’s heroic efforts, as told by Judith Toppin’s story: "Angels Walk Among Us"


World Trade Center
Remembered ...

WTC Remembered 2005

[Memorial Service]
[Mr. Paul Carris Address]

WTC Remembered 2004
[Memorial Service]

WTC Remembered 2003
[Memorial Service]    [Karen Fels Photos]

WTC Remembered 2002
Candlelight Procession Start at [Kipp]
[Down Passaic to Circle]
[Service at Circle][Public at Service]
[General community photos]
[Middle School Patriotic Tribute]
Karen Fels Pics [Procession][Service]

WTC Remembered 2001
[Candle Light Vigil] at Depken Field 9/15
[CommunityPerspective][Community Photos]
[Karen Fels Perspective]
[Kristy Castora Perspective]
[Heights School Reaction]
Paul Carris Heroism [Angels Walk Among Us]

Neighbor lost in the attacks ...
Robert C. Miller Jr., 55, Anon Corp.

[Flag History- Rose Heck]
Hasbrouck Heights Home Page

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