Monday, September 11, 2006
Five years ago today we all experienced a great tragedy. We can still hear and feel its echoes today, especially those of us who live in New York City for we have a physical reminder of that day. The workers at Ground Zero did an incredible job and now only a neat hole remains. It looks like any other construction sight. Unless you know what was there before. The Towers stood for almost all of my life, they were a fixture, ever present. Every now and then when I pass the site I still experience a moment of disbelief that they are gone. Even so, I was fortunate. The one person I knew who worked in the Towers got out early on that day, even before the second plane hit. Others were not so lucky. There are 2996 names inscribed on the memorial. This entry is a tribute to one of the fallen.
Laura Marie Ragonese-Snik was 41 years old in 2001. She was born on August 29, 1960. Wife of John, mother of James. Every workday she commuted from Bangor, PA to her job at Aon Corporation. She loved to laugh and she loved to sing and would jump at the chance to perform, be it in church or on a karaoke stage.
Though Laura lived in Bangor she was a New Yorker. She went to John Jay High School in Brooklyn. There she met her best friend and future sister-in-law Maria, a.k.a. Reasy. In 2001 they had been friends for 27 years. And they still are. Maria and Laura's family have created a non-profit organization called Laura's Angels. Maria wrote: "A very powerful author, Anna Quindlen wrote: “Sometimes the lights go on for the darkest possible reason.” That is, in essence, what happened to me after the events of 9/11. The choice was before me; I could either sink into the darkness and despair that threatened to consume me at every turn, or I could find a way to do something positive in the name of our loved ones. With the help of my close friend, Diane DeWitt, I chose the latter, and that is how “Laura's Angels” came to be."
It began on the first Christmas after 9/11. Maria and her friend Diane decorated a tree with hand made angels. They asked each of Laura's family members to take one as reminder of Laura. To Maria's surprise the angels did not get packed up with the other ornaments in January. They stayed out and provided comfort to Laura's family. Maria decided to extend the gift to all those who had lost someone on September 11 and Laura's Angels was born. Each year at Christmas a tree is chosen and decorated with 3000 angels, one for each person lost on that day so that we never forget them. Maria has plans for Laura's Angels. She hopes to create a network for families and survivors and to work on a permanent memorial.
All of the letters and tributes to Laura speak of her as a bright joyful person. Think of her then in joy. Remember her life and keep peace in your heart. Spread it around so we never have to lose another life to hate and ignorance.
Laura's Quilt Square
To read other tributes please go here.