Monday, September 11, 2006

Fifth Remembrance

When the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon occurred and when Flight 93 crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania it was not just New York City/Metro New Jersey and the Washington, DC area that lost its citizens. Americans from 41 states were killed as well as citizens of Bermuda, Ireland, Mexico, England, Canada, Japan, Australia, Dominican Republic , Germany, China, Israel, and El Salvador. Pennsylvania lost 30 sons and daughters that day. Below are those from the Pocono/Slatebelt region.

Melendez , Mary 44 Stroudsburg , PA Deceased WTC Occupant

Ragonese-Snik , Laura Marie 41 Bangor , PA Deceased WTC Occupant

Flounders , Joseph Walken 46 East Stroudsburg , PA Deceased WTC Occupant

Lopez , George 40 Stroudsburg , PA Deceased WTC Occupant

Blanding Jr. , Harry 38 Blakeslee , PA Deceased WTC Occupant

O'Sullivan , Timothy F. 68 Albrightsville , PA Deceased WTC Occupant

Merdinger , Alan Harvey 47 Allentown , PA Deceased WTC Occupant

Calandrillo , Joseph 49 Hawley , PA Deceased WTC Occupant

I did not personally know but I'd like to remember...

McNeil , Walter Arthur 53 East Stroudsburg , PA Deceased Emergency / Rescue Personnel

Walter Arthur McNeil
After a Life in Uniform, He Was Planning to Retire
March 15, 2002


Walter McNeil spent most of his life in uniform, from his early days in Vietnam with the U.S. Army to his final minutes at the World Trade Center with fellow Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officers.
The 53-year-old New York native planned to retire in January to the home he purchased in East Stroudsburg, Pa. in 1996 with his long-time companion Sonia Rodriguez.
Like growing numbers of New York City residents, the couple decided to move to the Poconos so that their child, Walter McNeil Jr., could attend good schools.
Rodriguez met McNeil while serving in the National Guard, and knew his duties often thrust him into dangerous situations.
On the morning of Sept. 11, McNeil called Rodriguez after the first plane hit the trade center, asked if she was watching the news, and told her he wouldn’t be home for a while.
“I know, just be careful Mac,” she told him.
McNeil had come home from Vietnam, from the Gulf War and from the Trade Center after it was attacked by terrorists in 1993. He didn’t come home this time.
Co-workers remember him as a “go-to guy” who trained countless rookies during his 22 years on the Port Authority police force. They also say they won’t forget the delicious barbecued ribs McNeil would cook in the summer months.
McNeil was a member of the Holland Tunnel Police Unit and a sergeant in the 369th Transport Unit of the Army National Guard.

All information and above obituary taken from Newsday Victim Search.

Here is a man who clearly knew what it was to serve in dangerous times and places. He'd survived two wars and the first WTC attack. He was close to retirement. If anyone deserved some peaceful golden years, it would seem he certainly did. I'd like to thank his family for McNeil's years of faithful and dedicated service. I know that the family who supports a man like this makes their own sacrifices in order for the one serving to do so. Now they suffer the worst loss as Mr. McNeil made the ultimate sacrifice in attempting to usher others to safety. May they be comforted by his memory and may they find peace.


barefoot_mistress said...

Today IS a heavy day for America, and for the world.
Let us not forget that all over the world people are dying everyday for the very same reasons.....and that was a huge slice of suffering...9/11...

Thanks for remembering the people of your community Lime. XX

Jodes said...

thank you for this wonderful, touching post. we all remember and will not forget.

lecram sinun said...

Beautiful tribute, Lime.

MyUtopia said...

What a beautiful post!

snavy said...

That was a very nice tribute.

Blither said...

Great Post, Limey!

James Goodman said...

A fitting tribute, Lime.

melanaise said...

what a lovely tribute Lime....

Anonymous said...

a wonderful post honoring a special hero, thank you lime and thank you Mr.McNeil for your ultimate sacrifice.

DevilBlueDress said...

I too remember so much of the details of that day. Thank you.

RennyBA said...

What a beautiful post and nice tribute Lime. Hope it at least gives some comfort to them.

Fred said...

Great post, Lime.

"May they find peace." Amen.

Spitfire said...

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Rob said...

This is a truly beautiful tribute, Michelle. I HOPE that people will never forget -- but it seems that many already have. THANK YOU for providing a powerful reminder of what happened that day and how it affected ALL of us, but especially those 2996 innocent victims and their families and loved ones. Justice for them demands that we never stop pursuing those who perpetrated this evil deed on innocent civilians and non-combatants...

m said...

Thank you.
You shined a well-deserved light on Mr McNeil's life.
It makes me think of all the lives wasted in war/terrorism and other man-made disasters.

Here's to a more peaceful and less violent future.

Brian said...

Thank you for this post Lime. It was a beautiful tribute to an heroic man.

Logophile said...

Comfort and peace~ to us all,
thanks Limey.

Nancy Drew said...

God bless them all.

Lacquer, Semi-Gloss Lacquer said...

If I could add:

Francis 'Frank' N.

Frank N. was a father of (three?) girls (early to late adolescent,) who lived, initially in the Otisville, NY area, and then in Middletown.

He had recently separated from his wife, and they were going to get an amicable divorce.

He was close to his daughters, coached their basketball team, was devout, attended church pretty regularly, and was a vice president of (Marsh McClennan?) based in the South Tower of the WTC up in the top floors.

(We didn't know any of this until after he died, and read the tribute to him in the Times Herald Record.)

What we did know was this:

Frank was quiet, but always would smile and say hello.

He was a Giants fan, had a beautiful leather team jacket, and could often be found rocking back and forth on his heals, with the rest of us, freezing our asses off, way pre-dawn on the Otisville train platform, waiting for the train (which came up out of Port Jervis.)

Frank was in a horrendous car accident a year or so before, and had flipped end over end, and had broken his back and neck.
He was nearly killed and took months to recover, (he walked sort of stiff, and couldn't really turn his neck too far.)

He was a good looking Irish sort of guy, in his late forties-early fifties I guess, and often would just comment about the game from the day before, when I (a nervous temp headed into Manhattan to work for the first time,) would try to make small talk.

He would some times sit next to a beautiful woman who had sort of longish copper colored hair and huge dark brown eyes.
Sometimes he'd not, sometimes he would.

We all took the same trains and saw each other all the time, (including the guys who had the poker games going on the way home...)
-and for two hours we'd wonder, 'what's up with those two.'
-it was a silent drama, it was a bunch of small towns and steady commuters, everybody wanted to know, nobody did.

On the morning of September 11, I walked up the stairs, having ridden the escalators from the PATH trains behind frank and the beautiful girl to the concourse level.
He turned left to go to his elevators and his office.

I turned right, and made my way out onto the street.

ten minutes later, the first plane hit.

Never saw him again.

The copper haired lady, we all knew took it rough.
We smiled and were nice to her, held the door, just made it a point to be kind... She was a beautiful kid.

I have some regrets in this life, I guess we all do.

-Two of them?

-I didn't know Franks name, until after he was killed, (he was just this good guy who made me feel normal just by exchanging comments about the weather.

-I never took the time to thank him for doing just that.
He was a big wheel in a great firm in the greatest building on the planet,
--I just knew him as a regular guy who survived a horrible car wreck.

-sort of like your post about your kindergarden teacher,,,
taking the time to thank somebody for just being a good part of life...
do it. Just do it.

Cosima said...

I hope that one day the world learns to have empathy towards fellow human beings. Seeing how fast people are sacrificed for a supposed "cause" makes me so sad and feeling helpless.

jillie said...

What an amazing tribute!!!

Heather said...

That's a lovely tribute - thank you for sharing a little bit of his life with us.