Robert R. McMillan – September 11—After More Than Seventeen Years

For several years, I would, each month, go to the 25th floor of One World Trade Center, the North Tower, to attend the Board of Directors meeting for Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield which became WellChoice, Inc. Normally, I would drive to New York City and arrive early for each meeting. That meant I would walk into the building around 9 a.m. Back on 9/11 the North Tower was the first one hit – 8:46 a.m. That would have been close to the time that I normally arrived at the building. For that reason, I will never forget that awful attack on the lives of innocent Americans and so many others from around the world.

It has been estimated that almost 3,000 people lost their lives in that attack. The person directly responsible, Osama bin Mohammed Laden, hid for almost ten years.  But, on May 2, 2011 bin Laden was killed by Navy Seals who raided his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

9/11 was a terrible day and included two other serious incidents. One plane flew into the Pentagon and killed hundreds of people. Another plane, because of the resistance from passengers, ended up crashing in a rural Pennsylvania field. In total, counting passengers and people in the two buildings, there were over 3,000 killed by the terrorist attacks.

At the time of the attacks, my wife and I had just purchased a weekend condo out in Greenport, New York. When I heard about efforts to build a memorial for 9/11, I decided to help out. The memorial stands on a pier visible from the dock near Claudio’s Restaurant. Designed by Roberto Julio Bessin, it consists of an Osprey, sculptured with wire, sitting on metal salvaged from the World Trade Center. The theme of the sixty feet high 9/11 memorial was—that like the almost extinct Osprey which has come back—so shall the United States.

Then an interesting opportunity arose. One of the members of the Memorial Committee owned a company that had been responsible for salvaging the metal from the World Trade Center and moving it to waste facilities. My law firm did some environmental work for his company on Long Island. You may recall that some of the salvaged metal went to create the bow of a new U.S. Navy destroyer. The rest was discarded. I was asked if there was any interest in a small Osprey sculpture on World Trade Center metal for my home?

“Yes,” was my immediate answer. Now, I have a wire sculptured Osprey perched on World Trade Center metal. It stands about three feet high and sits next to the fireplace in our living room.  It is a constant memory of the 9/11 experience. Like the Osprey, the United States and buildings at the World Trade Center shall rise again.

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