VOL. 116 | NO. 176 | Wednesday, September 11, 2002
A Nation Mourns
A year later Memphis mourns, remembers
By ANDREW BELL
The Daily News
As the nation marks the one-year anniversary of the day
that changed America, Bernie Wang prefers the day be rather unremarkable.
The Navy officers brother was one of the fortunate ones
inside the World Trade Center last Sept. 11 to escape injury. But, despite
Wangs concern for his brother and the rest of America that pivotal day, he
does not want the nation to be fixative.
Its important to remember those who died, of course. But
as a person and as a country, I want to think of it as just another day, he
said. I just want to go to work as normal.
Despite his sentiments, exactly 365 days after the aerial
attacks on the nations capitalistic and democratic symbols took nearly 3,000
lives, not much will be completely normal.
Today, flags will be lowered to half-staff as a nation cries
Nearly all churches across the land, including ones locally,
will have candles lit and some kind of memorial service planned most of them
at 8:46 a.m., the time in New York City when the first plane struck the World
Security will be on high alert, including Memphis police
officers, who have plans to pull their vehicles to a curb and salute for 30
seconds at precisely 8:46 a.m.
At all fire departments, public servants will mourn for
fraternity brothers and sisters who lost their lives while scrambling to rescue
people within New York Citys collapsed rubble.
At Downtowns Memphis Fire Museum the fire and police
departments will have a joint ceremony honoring fallen comrades. The event,
beginning at 8:45 a.m., will include a color guard/bagpipe procession from the
intersection of Main Street and Adams Avenue beginning at 8:50 a.m., followed
by a reading of the names of the 343 lost New York City firemen.
At The Flag Place Tuesday, Kay Rose, a dental hygienist,
stopped in to check on a special Sept. 11 banner depicting an eagle and firemen
hoisting a flag she had ordered for her family. Her husband, Randy, is a
She said today is a special day, especially for those with
family members who are firefighters.
I think everyone remembers where they were and what they
were doing (last Sept. 11), she said. I remember my patients name and what I
was doing when it happened.
Offering release of agony through musical expression, the
Memphis Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will perform a free concert of Mozarts
Requiem, a tribute to the dead, at Eudora Auditorium. The concert is in
conjunction with fellow orchestras and choirs around the globe performing at
8:46 a.m. in every international time zone. The first performance will begin in
New Zealand and the Philippine Islands.
The concert is one way schools will observe the day, as many
classes plan to tune in by radio.
Jean Chapman, a trained school psychologist and Division of
Health and Social Support director for Memphis City Schools, said while dealing
with todays remembrance wont be easy, it will be less complicated than
helping children cope with the tragedy last year because teachers have had time
Last year, no matter how young or old you are, everybody
felt helplessness that day, she said. But this year, we have time to find
things you can do for coping, for allowing a positive outlook.
Besides tuning into Mozarts Requiem, Chapman said
teachers have a variety of activities planned so children can express any
confusion or pain they feel about the tragedy, including art projects, creative
writing and balloon releases. None of the activities are mandatory, she
At Overton High School, drama students will perform a
four-act play called A Celebration to Remember. The play, created by one of
the schools teachers Sara Lyn Archibald-Wood, includes four parts: shock,
grief, coping and celebration.
Also, Chapman said, a school counseling phone line is set
up, which any teacher, child or parent can call for assistance.
Its most important to remember that children react to
things in a range of ways, Chapman said. Our goal as counselors, teachers and
principals is to assess and then determine how to help them based on their
We want to support them and reassure them that everything
is OK, and we can work it out together.
Linda Gabriel, a pastoral counselor at Christ United
Methodist Church, said she had counseled a few church members over the past
year that lost friends in the tragedy. She encouraged anyone suffering turmoil
to attend a memorial service of some kind to help cope with the grieving
Its about acknowledging whats causing the stress and
pain, and knowing youre not alone in it, she said. Its connecting with
something greater than ourselves and also connecting with others.
In 1997, Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington tore
down fences and opened gates to the public, one of the few military bases to
have such open interaction with non-military personnel.
After Sept. 11, 2001, new, higher fences were installed, and
road checkpoints with armed guards were put in place that now limit public
It was the driving through the base entrance last year when
Wang first heard on his car radio that the WTC had been struck by a plane.
After learning of the second plane collision, and unable to contact his brother
by phone, Wang feared for the worst.
It was very stressful because on one hand I had to be tough
(with co-workers), but on the other hand I was worried about a little brother,
It wasnt until about two hours later that Wang heard from
his brother, John, who worked in the lower level of the commodities exchange
South Tower building. Wang recalled the irony in conveying Johns safety to his
troubled mother and father.
My parents should have been worried about me, not my
brother. Im the one who signed up for this thing called war, he said.
For Wang, the relief that his brother and another friend
survived the tragedy makes each Sept. 11 henceforth a day of gratitude.
I hope people will use the time today to pray for peace,
and not a rallying point for war, he said. Im in the business, and I know
what the cost is.