Many memorial services are being held Tuesday, the second anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States. But one of those who lost a loved one in the attacks says it’s also a time of renewal.
Christy Ferer says, “Those we lose never leave us. They live on inside us.” Her Husband, Neil Levin, was one of nearly three thousand people who died in the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
In an article in the New York Times, she says, “The second anniversary of 9/11 is a catalyst to extricate myself from the hurt and negative energy that memories of the attack can still generate.” She says she is now ready to “graduate not from grief, but from victimhood.”
One of the ways she has been able to reach that point is through her work for the New York City Mayor’s Office. She is the liaison to the families of victims of the World Trade Center attacks.
She says, "It was a great way for me to distract myself from my own, you know, personal situation and try to help other people."
What about other New Yorkers, do they also consider this a time of renewal?
"Oh, yeah, I do think so. I think most people are looking forward, absolutely," she says.
Ms. Ferer is also a board member of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. As such, she’s closely following efforts to rebuild the area where the twin towers once stood.
She says, "Well, the LMDC, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, is going to be building a memorial there. And this month, five memorial designs will be announced and one will be chosen and eventually that will be built in the next few years. So, what’s going on in New York is trying to actually repair that 16-acre gaping hole. And they’re doing an incredible job. By Thanksgiving the PATH train will be rebuilt and able to deliver 60-thousand a day as it once did."
There is also a site plan for the 16-acres that outlines where the memorial will be placed, along with a park, office and residential buildings. Ms. Ferer describes it as a “road map.” It will be up to the architects to come up with ideas as to what it could look like.
But she says there is one issue that will take a long time, if ever, to resolve.
She says, "I think the biggest gaping issue is the DNA identification of their love ones – with the human remains. The medical examiner’s office will be working on that ad infinitum. And that really is the biggest gaping issue that I see a lot of these families have."
But the families have not been forgotten over the past two years. She says generosity – on an international scale – has poured into New York.
She says, "Every day there were tulips that came. There were patchwork quilts. There were sculptures. There were artwork. There was enormous magnanimity one could not have imagined. Organizations and people would call up offering everything from dolls made in South America to money for the victims’ families from wealthy Wall Street firms."
Christy Ferer plans to step down as the mayor’s liaison to the families of the victims. But she will remain with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and be involved in rebuilding efforts. The State University of New York has honored her husband with the creation of the Neil Levin Graduate Institute. As she says, “Now is the time to focus on renewal.”