By Janice K. Wright (aka JK Wrights 2U), student, Center for Distance Learning
October 4, 2012
In Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, N.Y., inside the Bill Brown Bedford Park located on Avenue X and Bedford Avenue, sits a memorial mural which pays tribute to the victims slain in the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The work of local artist Ray “Rockin’ Ray” Fiore will be forever attached to the stone wall, which doubles as a hand ball court. His artistic work has ignited others to form the Brooklyn Bedford Park 9/11 Committee, created to respect the victims and honor the families of those lost that tragic day.
On September 11, 2011, along with my daughter and mother, I had the honor of visiting and being a part of this unforgettable experience, an annual memorial event within my community. I became aware of the event as I reached out to locate at least one of the victim’s family members in the community. As I conversed about this American tragedy and had an in-depth conversation with a group of peers, I began to ponder the sense of loss that the families are faced with. On some level, I would think that each of us feels a sense of loss or has been affected as an American, but realistically, it is not as personal to those of us who were not there or who did not lose any loved ones to this tragedy.
Key organizers and participants all worked diligently to ensure that the annual memorial event was well organized. The Boys Scout Troop 238 from St. Edmonds (pictured left) and the Army’s Medical Support Unit 7238 (pictured above) were in attendance, among so many others. Linda and John Errante and Angela Sabino, also present, represented the original organizers. Even their children have volunteered at this event since they were very young. Sabino’s daughter, Mary Gomez (pictured below right), is now an auxilary police officer. The organizers’ network with military branches, local law enforcement, caterers, entertainers and others in the community to ensure that the annual memorial observation has a well-rounded agenda.
To give insight into a personal loss, I longed to I track down a family member of a victim, and I was able to find Mary Dwyer (pictured below right) and Mary Brecken (pictured below, left), the sister and mother of victim Lucy Fishman, who met a devastating fate September 11, 2001.
“My daughter was wonderful; she was an awesome daughter, mother, sister and friend. Everyone loved Lucy, and the most difficult part to this event is that it’s never over,” said Brecken. “I remember going to a relative’s home and seeing the 9/11 caption with the towers burning on the television; for me it was like she was burning again.”
This is my interview with Dwyer:
Q: What are the virtues and unique qualities that are most missed about your sister?
A: “Lucy was the problem solver of the family, and her unique quality was that she was unselfish, putting herself last to be supportive of others.”
Q: Do you ever notice anyone or anything that reminds you of your sister? For example, people that look like her or have her voice, or do you ever have a feeling that she’s around?
A: “If I see someone walking down the street with her blonde hair and body shape, I could almost think I see her. I can visualize her through songs; she is everywhere I go, and she is always around.”
Q: September is emergency preparedness month, how could this be tied in with the 9/11 attacks in regard to being prepared in case of an emergency?
A: “You can have a kit, including flash lights, batteries, food and water for a hurricane, tropical storm, etc… There is no way to prepare for an unexpected attack of violence. There was nothing that could have prepared the victims for this event.”
Q: How has your family been able to cope with the loss and move towards closure?
A: “There is never closure, for us it is never over, as the 9/11 incident is always circulating in one form or another. So it is never over.”
Q: How has this affected the family emotionally?
A: “Lucy’s son, my nephew, is truly affected. He feels he was cheated out of a life with his mom; he is now starting to realize the entire situation. Where his sister has memories of their mom, going to the nail salon or coaching her sports team, my nephew does not have that because he was three when his mom died.”
Q: How has this 9/11 devastation changed your life?
A: “It did not change my life, rather it rearranged my life. It turned my life and my world upside down. My mom used to see her grandchildren [Lucy’s children] every day, but after Lucy’s death her two children were split apart, separated. Mary had been married twice, and with each of the two husbands she had had a child, and the [husbands] became the custodial parents of the two children. One moved to Long Island with her dad, and the other moved to upstate New York with his dad. My niece now drives and is older so we see her often, but my nephew is only 13 and has his life with his dad and his new wife, and now they also have their children together. My nephew has school, sports and his life with his family and siblings in upstate New York, so we do not get to see him often; maybe once or twice a year. It is so hard on the family, all of us were so close before Lucy was taken away from us.”
I could detect and sense the close-knit bond of the family and I felt grief. So much pain, devastation and loss has been forced upon this family and the many others that lost loved ones in the attack.
I was delighted and overwhelmed to have a chance to write this article. I am so grateful that the organizers and the family were gracious and kind enough to allow me, my daughter and my mother to have the opportunity to experience the life and legacy of Lucy Fishman, who will forever be loved and missed.