Remembering again


I've already touched on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks over the last few days, but I cannot let the day pass without pointing you to the New York Times' "Portraits of Grief", a collection of brief profiles of the people who died in those attacks.

Here's a link to the profile of my friend Jayesh Shah, which highlights the close relationship between Jay and his younger brother Niloy. You have never seen two closer siblings, and no one can ever remember seeing a cross word pass between them. Close in age, they came from India to America as small boys, and made the adjustment to the new world together. They went to high school, college, and grad school together, and both ended up working for Amoco in Houston. They were separated when Jay took the opportunity of a lifetime -- an executive position with Cantor Fitzgerald in New York -- but they still spoke daily, talking over the previous night's sports news or their kids' latest antics. Was it the affection between two brothers, the love of a husband for his wife, the love of a dad for his children -- is that what the terrorists set out to extinguish?

Jay and the Shah family are of the Jain religion. At the heart of that religion is a n avoidance of violence against any living thing. Jains are vegetarian, and some Jain monastics go so far as to sweep the ground before them to avoid crushing an insect as they walk. Ironic that someone of that faith should be the victim of such an extreme and deliberate act of violence.

The Shah family went through sixteen days of hoping against hope that Jay had survived. Jay's name showed up on a survivors list on the Internet. The family got to New York as quickly as they could, and went from hospital to hospital. Through the whole process, Niloy communicated with friends and family via e-mail, sharing his hopes and fears.

All the searching was in vain. On September 27, Jay's body was recovered and they had the comfort of certainty about his fate. The family was now able to hold the traditional last rites. A memorial prayer service was held a couple of weeks later in Houston, which I was privileged to attend.

This is the story of one man and his family, and the profound loss of a brother, husband, son, father, and friend. I tell it because it is important to remember why we are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, and may find ourselves fighting in other places that harbor and sponsor terrorists. Although we desire to live at peace with all men, governments have a divine commission to use force to oppose evil. We cannot hope to enjoy peace as long as there are those who would seek our deaths for the crime of being alive and free.

Before I close, let me point you to a couple of places to stir your memories and your resolve:

  • Tom Junod's Esquire article about "The Falling Man" -- the search for the man captured on film as he fell from the World Trade Center. (Hat tip to Matthew for the link.)

  • Here Is New York, an extensive online gallery of photographs of the day and its aftermath.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 11, 2004 11:45 PM.

Cheney coming to Tulsa was the previous entry in this blog.

Protests hit 'em where they ain't is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]