2001-10-20 / Letters

My Hometown

My Hometown

Dear Editor,

I pulled into Rockaway exactly 11 days after the World Trade Center was leveled by two commercial airliners that were hijacked and crashed violently into both buildings. Returning to Rockaway was a joyous experience for me, as I has lived here my whole life and needed to return to my true roots of my hometown, after seven years.

As I sit down to write this, bag pipes weep as another funeral, the third
since I arrived almost a week ago, takes place down the block from the
apartment I moved into with my husband and two young boys.
Rockaway was the second hardest hit town in the city of NY as far as the number of deaths that have taken place. Mostly deaths of fire fighters that have bravely and gracefully died trying to save the heart of their city.
This town is decorated with our American flag, hung EVERYWHERE you go as a reminder of this terrorist act of vitriol and viciousness. We wave this flag as a badge of courage and faith.

Three of my family members work around the clock at ground zero, one a firefighter, one a con Edison worker and one a welder. Their faces seem tired and drained and yet they push on almost viciously for the passion of their country and love of their city. My sister in law, her husband the fire
fighter walks around dazed and distant. Her eyes that once shone like a baby deer, now glare with sadness and with fear of what could have been and what was. In her own words she will NEVER be the same again.
The grief of this beautiful, small town that is surrounded by vast beach is so overwhelming you can feel the weight of it. We used to look out into the horizon of our beaches and see cruise ships and oil liners. Now we look out there to see battleships and aircraft carriers.

Maybe I am affected by this grief more than the average Rockaway resident, being that I am no stranger to gut wrenching, sudden death grief. Being that I lost my only brother at 32, two years ago. It scares me to think that this might not be a true feeling, that these people are grieving the same. This town grieved the death of my brother and now I grieve for this town. In Rockaway alone, fifty some odd people have perished as if fifty something of my brother. Each family bearing their own great losses.

I was lucky in a bizarre way. As horrific as it was watching my brother lowered into the ground. These families are lucky to actually have a body to bury.

At first, I thought I had moved back the wrong time-a time of grief and
despair. But now I understand that this is where I belong right now,
suffering along with my fellow Rockaway citizens, holding their hands and supporting them during this most tragic time.

We all sit as a town united and grieve, we all sit and cry we all sit and pray that this is over, but we know better than that.

I write this in the name of Jesus Christ. I write this for the
families of the dead ones. I write this for my town and my country. And I
have never felt more proud to say "GOD BLESS AMERICA."

NEVER FORGET THIS HOLOCAUST!!!!!
With sincere love for each and every one of my neighbors, God bless you all.
RACHEL EDWARDS


Return to top


Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2014 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History