Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced. — James Baldwin (1924-1987)*

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Yesterday’s Sunday Republican carried a poignant column by executive editor Cynthia Simison addressing the feelings of Westfield residents 19 years after three of their own had died in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In the print edition it was headed “This year marks a 9/11 unlike any other.” (Click on the link to read.)

Tara Shea Creamer had been “aboard American Airlines Flight 11, the first hijacked airliner to fly into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center,” Simison writes. Brian Murphy and Daniel Trant were working for a finance firm in the North Tower when it collapsed.

In 2004 the Sons of Erin dedicated to their memory a stone bench engraved with their names—Erin, Brian and Dan—donated by the club’s women’s auxiliary. What makes this year different is that owing to coronavirus caution the annual memorial service there will not be held.

In the Republcan three photos show the smiling faces of the town’s 9/11 dead. In a larger photo the bench does not look comfortable to sit on, with a brick and stone standard in the background, the words “We Will Not Forget” carved into the stone. Tasteful plantings add color, as do seven or more American flags.

It seems churlish to say, but while perhaps hundreds of family members and other Westfielders will remember the three apart from one another and away from the memorial site, what will be remembered along with their three neighbors is the official government/media narrative engraved in most people’s minds.

I feel it. Were she still alive Tara would be about my wife’s age. Her son just got his master’s degree at one Massachusetts college and her daughter is a sophomore at another. Tara hasn’t been there for them for the last 19 years.

Patrick Murphy, a bricklayer and mason (like my grandfather as a young man), spearheaded the creation of the small park at the Sons of Erin. He announced regretfully on Facebook that this year’s observances there would be canceled. Dan Trant’s sister replied she understood and expressed gratitude for all the organization does “to keep the memories alive.” Amen.

Several years ago a Facebook friend said I was “dishonoring the dead” to challenge the official account. I think just the opposite. Those who died 19 years ago this Friday were murdered. By terrorists. The first responders who died and are still dying were collateral damage. But the official account does not hold up. It dishonors science and engineering. It dishonors the American people. Our news media avoid looking into it, choosing rather to kick true reckoning down the road.

Another article in yesterday’s Republican, HERE, calls attention to memorial observances planned for Friday in Springfield, Agawam, Chicopee, Ludlow, Northampton, West Springfield and elsewhere in Westfield.

— Mark Channing Miller

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* I came across James Baldwin’s quote HERE.


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