Scenes, Day Two in New York, Part the Second

Filed under:9/11,It's My Life,Photoblogging — posted by Anwyn on June 21, 2007 @ 8:18 pm

Day two was the day of the subway system. I dived down into the station two blocks from my hotel, snaked my MetroCard out of the machine, and proceeded to slide it through the slot to the left of my turnstile rather than the right. When I realized my error and slid it through the correct slot, the computer naturally thought I was trying to game it (at $7.00 for an all-day pass, it doesn’t account for individual rides but for more than one use of the same card within 18 minutes) and refused me entry. I pleaded my case to the attendant, who let me through the gate. Down the island, first stop Trinity Church as aforementioned, then onto the ferry for Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. I didn’t get off at Liberty Island; only took some pictures from the boat. Exhibits at Ellis Island were quite moving. My feelings on the current immigration hoo-ha can be summed up in a few sentences: I am in favor of allowing in almost any sound, sane, upstanding, law-abiding person who wants a) to become a U.S. citizen or b) to be educated at one of our universities. But the fact that our immigration policies in the past have stilted this ideal is no excuse for circumventing them. Secure the border first. Decide what to do about illegals afterward. Make the whole process more streamlined for future applicants. And screen the immigration status of all those who are arrested for any reason and deport immediately all such who are here illegally. But Ellis was a grand sight and quite moving in its depiction of those who came here seeking both to stay and make a better life.

After a brief stop at the Fraunces Tavern Museum, also as aforementioned, where you can see the Long Room where Washington said goodbye to his officers, I visited St. Paul’s Chapel. Impressive, but its native architectural beauty is marred by the ugly pink and powder blue interior decorating scheme.

St. Paul’s served as a rally point and aid-and-comfort zone during the atrocity of 9/11, located as it is adjacent to Ground Zero, my next focus. Ladder/Engine Company No. 10, also adjacent to the WTC, which took multiple hits in personnel and building that day:

My favorite sight at Ground Zero is the new WTC 7, rising serenely over the rather tortured landscape of whatever construction is evidently taking place, though not very quickly, on the site of the Twin Towers:

Finally, my last church of the day: over the threshold into St. Patrick’s Cathedral:

While I was inside this awe-inspiring structure, the sun came out:

The day ended with a trip up the Empire State Building at about 11 p.m., after I’d found my Italian restaurant from the previous night and, if you can believe it, was let through the gate again by a subway attendant after scurrying into the station, swiping my card, and realizing I’d left my cell phone back at the hotel. Back to the hotel, back to the station, where again the computer thought I was trying to cheat the subway out of $7. The attendant wasn’t as forgiving as the morning one, but he let me through eventually, thinking: Rube.

Whose Fault?

Filed under:9/11,Jerks,Television — posted by Anwyn on December 28, 2006 @ 6:40 pm

Allah got a Christmas wish answered when The View re-aired James Brolin coming thiiis close to espousing truthernut conspiracies. To me, the link is less important for that than for this quote of Brolin’s:

We were Americans. Now we’re split and arguing. So whose fault is that, and what’s going wrong, and think about the issues.

The main trouble with people like Brolin, and it gives rise to their willingness to swallow crap like 9/11 truthernut salad, is that they know absolutely no history and nothing whatsoever about human nature. Splits and arguments among Americans, nasty ones about heavy, anguishing issues, date right back to 1776 and the argument over whether we should even become Americans or not.

This is not new. It is not new to our era. There is vicious infighting over every major issue that comes our way, and we are pushed to the point of being “all Americans” only when the evil of the day and its danger to us are so clearly delineated that even the doviest among us can clearly see the choice between fighting and being subjugated, as in WWII, presumably the start date of that elusive “we were Americans” period Brolin burbled about. It’s all well and good to say now that Britain had no right to rule us and the Revolution was correct even at the price, but it wasn’t so clear at the time. Ditto the preservation of the Union, 1861-1865, ditto the 1930s run-up to WWII. Evils are frequently not so clearly delineated as Hitler was eventually revealed to be. People of Brolin’s ilk would apparently prefer that nothing controversial were done until a few millions had been shoveled into furnaces so that they would not have to whine about splits and arguments at home. Or they would rather find the evil at home, spreading the monstrous idea that the freely elected president of a modern republic killed 3K of his own citizens, than believe that either saving or stopping anybody outside our borders could be worth those 3K lives twice over.

It’s your fault, Brolin. It’s your fault for lacking even basic realism, any common decency, or a smidge more than the “little learning” that we’ve always been warned is so dangerous. Pick up a book like Modern Times or John Adams and then tell me whose fault it is. You prig.

Cross-posted at Electric Venom.

In Memoriam: Frederick H. Kelley III

Filed under:9/11 — posted by Anwyn on September 11, 2006 @ 12:00 am

Frederick Hammond Kelley passed away on September 11, 2001. He was an employee of Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial firm headquartered in One World Trade Center. He is survived by his wife, Janet; their four children, Rob, Sean, Kristen, and Kate; and their two grandchildren, Kristen’s children: Kayla, 4, and Matthew, 2. The two young grandchildren never met their grandfather, but their grandmother says, “They know he went to heaven. They’re very cute about it all.”

Born July 16, 1944, on Long Island, Fred Kelley attended college at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Janet Kelley, who was raised in Pittsburgh, attended a junior college in nearby Altoona, and they were married on September 3, 1966. Mrs. Kelley graciously agreed to speak to a stranger about her husband and about how her family has coped with the loss that befell them on 9/11.

The couple made their home on Long Island from the start of their marriage. Fred Kelley was a sailing enthusiast who loved Long Island Sound and the other waters around his home. Mrs. Kelley, who continues to live on Long Island, says that Fred could not imagine living anywhere else, though the commute into the city made it not the easiest life he could have chosen. He possessed a strong work ethic; he habitually got to work early to “get a jump on everybody and know what was going on.” Mr. Kelley had worked for Cantor earlier in his career, switched to a different company, and then returned to Cantor several months before 9/11/01.

Fred was a member of the Centerport Yacht Club and owned many boats over the years. He sailed and raced frequently, sometimes with his children, mostly in day races in the waters around Long Island. They often won; Mrs. Kelley has many of their trophies. His last boat was a Seidelmann 37, and it was sold to a family friend with whom Fred often raced and whose daughter will marry Sean Kelley in December, 2006. Kate Kelley is engaged to be married in July, 2007. Mrs. Kelley described their family excursions. “Every summer we’d take the boat for two weeks … Long Island Sound leads out to Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard … it was always fun. The kids loved it. And he loved it.” Mr. Kelley also golfed, but his pride and joy in life was his family.

Mrs. Kelley remembers her husband as an emotional man with great empathy. What might he have said to friends grieving a loss such as the Kelleys’? “He would have been the type that was crying with them … there’s not much you can say.” And her family deals with their loss the way they know Mr. Kelley would have–privately. “I have never gone to any of these ceremonies that they’ve had. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but my children and I don’t go. We know for sure that Fred wouldn’t go, and I guess we know that we don’t have to make ourselves go. And we’re pretty close as a family unit, so I think we feel that that’s the best–comfort each other.” Though their loss is profound, Mrs. Kelley says, “I think we’ve managed to move on. Maybe it’s made us stronger people. Maybe it tells you what’s more important in life than what you may have thought earlier, before this happened.”

Religion was important to Fred Kelley, a Catholic. “I can honestly say, I think, as he got older, it became more important to him. I guess that’s not unusual.” She says, regarding her children, “Hopefully he’s guiding them. He was a lot less intense than I … he was a more happy-go-lucky person, you know. The kids would go to him to talk about troubles more than me, because they knew I took it so seriously. So I’m sure they’re missing that a lot. And they’re stuck with me … I have wonderful children. They have been so supportive and wonderful; it’s been a great reward.” One ceremony that the family does attend is the mass held on Septemer 11 in their parish, Church of St. Patrick. “For many years, you don’t take it in. You just take it day by day. It’s a shock that I think your brain just can’t take in, and maybe still hasn’t, really.” Is the public’s response appropriate, given that most of us cannot know what the families went through? “I don’t think anybody who hasn’t gone through it would understand. You know, it’s just too unbelievable that it ever happened. And I think this is a very hard time of the year, of course. Very hard. But again, I get through it with my family. And I have very close friends that have been wonderful, truly wonderful, so I’m grateful for that too … that’s the only way I get through it, is family and friends.”

Mr. and Mrs. Kelley had just celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on September 3, 2001. They went into the city, stayed at a hotel, saw a play. The photo above was taken at the wedding of his daughter Kristen. “It’s rare for him to be in a tuxedo. It’s the funniest thing that that’s the one they used.” What would Mrs. Kelley like people to know about her husband? “Nothing, other than that he was a wonderful husband and father, and we miss him.”


We have but faith: we cannot know,
For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.

–Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1850


The 2,996 Project. 9-18-06: Project 2,996 has moved.

There are two squares dedicated to the memory of Fred Kelley in the 9/11 memorial quilt project, United in Memory. These images are reproduced with the permission of the project.

previous page

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace