Posts tagged “boston”

Patriot Day 2013

September 11, 2013   2:56 pm

Patriot Day. 9/11. The day the world stopped turning. Whatever you call it, today is a day of remembrance. Remember those who died for the crime of being on-time to work that day. Remember those who loved those who died; every year is a new time to be reminded of their loss.

In the remembering, though, we would be remiss if we did not remember the complacency which left us vulnerable, and the lack of response to previous attacks that left the attackers emboldened. I fear that, 12 years removed from that day, we are once again sliding into that complacency; we’re war-weary, as evidenced by the general public’s opposition to any action in Syria. I’m right there with them; I have no desire to continue or start any conflict, I simply want to live in peace.

However, peace requires vigilance against those who would use our peace and freedom against us. It also requires vigilance against those who would restrict our freedom in the name of peace. And, so, we will never see true peace while evil remains with us. Earlier this year, Boston showed us that just because we’ve “won” wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the problem of terrorism persists. We are stuck with evil for the rest of our nation’s existence; my hope is that, doing my part for my generation, we can push that succumbing to evil out to many, many years in the future.

Louis Neil Mariani - Project 2996

September 11, 2009   8:12 pm

Note - This tribute is part of Project 2996, a blogosphere-wide effort to ensure that none of the Americans whose lives were taken on September 11, 2001 are forgotten. See the entire list at their site, linked in the previous sentence.

A picture of a smiling Neil

It is a crisp late summer morning. A couple is parting ways at an airport. While that’s not an altogether uncommon sight, for Neil and Ellen Mariani, it would be the last time they would see one another. Neil was 59 years old; 4 of those years he had spent serving his country in the United States Air Force, and many more years working for HP Hood Dairy, from where he had retired. An avid photographer, he was known for his ever-present Minolta camera - he even developed his own film!

His step-daughter was engaged to be married on September 15, 2001, and he had decided to go out to California to attend the wedding. He made this decision at the last minute, so he and Ellen had different flights; Ellen had a layover in Chicago, while Neil had the cross-country UA 175 flight. Ellen wrote a letter to her husband after the wedding, and rather than put it in my words, I’ll put in hers.


I, as your wife, have searched for sane answers to what happened on that beautiful, sunny, warm Tuesday, September 11, 2001. You, Neil, were so tanned and fit, happy to be leaving with me before dawn for Boston’s Logan Airport. You and I were traveling on separate planes to the California wedding of my daughter, Gina, your step-daughter. You decided to go out for the wedding at the very last minute, and to help pay for the ticket, we held garage sales together.

Neil, I will never forget when we said goodbye at Boston Airport. Neil, you as a gentleman were always carrying heavy items for me, and that morning, you carried inside the terminal two large boxes full of toys for our grand-kids that were to be there for the wedding as flower girl and ring bearer.

You kissed me at the curb and said goodbye. Then you kissed me again inside and said “See you, Ellen. I’ll arrive three minutes after your plane lands,” and walked away. But suddenly, you came back, gave me a third kiss and a big hug. It was then I noticed you seemed nervous. I thought it was because you were not used to flying. You then said goodbye for the third time, then left. I looked back to catch a last glance at you, Neil, but you were gone and out of sight.

Neil, you never made it to California for Gina’s wedding that September 15, 2001. I left two hours before you and had a scheduled layover in Chicago. It was there that I found out what had happened to you. Your plane, United Airlines Flight 175, had crashed into the second tower of the World Trade Center. You, my husband, were gone in a ball of fire. The September 15th wedding of Gina’s went on in defiance of what had happened on September 11th.

Now as I stood as a new widow of four days, Gina asked me to give her away to be married. I wore two yellow roses, and made a toast in remembrance of you.

Neil, you are the perfect example of the type of American that makes this country great. Thank you for being the man that you were - America is a poorer place without you here.