Friday, September 08, 2006

My tribute to Cynthia Wilson, WTC Hero

September 11, 2006

Monday marks the fifth anniversary of a day that will live in infamy in our country, the horrendous attack on the World Trade Center twin towers in New York City. This attack has become known by the shorthand use of 9/11. If you say 9/11 today, everybody knows what you are talking about.

In honor of this solemn occasion, I have chosen to participate in a special project called the “2,996 Tribute Project” which is a dedication to those 2,996 souls, of blessed memory, who needlessly lost their lives in the World Trade Center attack on 9/11 by terrorists from the other side of the world. Their weapons of choice were not bombs, but huge flying projectiles filled with delicate human beings and thousands of gallons of jet fuel.

A total of 2,995 other bloggers from around the world have chosen to participate and are submitting their tributes to one of the 9/11 victims on their blogsites. I am proud to say that I am one of the 2,996. When I signed on to participate in this project, I was assigned to write an honor tribute about one of those lost souls, a person I had never met and for whom I had never heard her name mentioned. I proceeded to find out what I could about this total stranger so I could write a simple tribute to her. Here’s what I learned.

Her name is Cynthia Motus-Wilson. She was born on October 18, 1948, in Iloilo, Phillipines, the oldest of seven children. Cynthia emigrated to this country with her family in 1986 in search of a better life. She was married to Bill Wilson and they later had a daughter. At the time of her confirmed death, Cynthia was 52 years old and working as the head receptionist for the International Office Centers whose offices were located on the 79th floor of the WTC Building One. This is the first building struck by the airplane at the 85th floor level.

After the plane hit, Cynthia did four things. She determined that she would be unable to get out of her offices because of a collapsed wall that blocked her exit. She called her husband to tell him that she was trying to get out of the building. He told her to cover her face with a wet cloth and that he loved her. She called and left a frantic, tearful message on her daughter's answering machine. Finally, she called her uncle who was watching CNN as the attack was taking place. During this call, Cynthia said, "Please pray for me. We need your prayer." The line went dead and Cynthia's uncle screamed as the tower disintigrated into a cloud of thick grey dust and debris.

Cynthia's body was never found. The final remnant of her life is a cherished answering machine tape of Cynthia's frantic message to her daughter. The family was able to obtain a vial of dirt from the building site. This vial was placed in an urn which was subsequently buried on October 5, 2001, at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery at Valhalla, NY. The following inscription was placed on her tombstone, "Don't grieve for me, but remember me with laughter." Cynthia would have been 58 years old this October 18th if she had lived.

I would like to think that when the two towers collapsed, and the dust billowed out into the atmosphere, the bodily remains of these 2,996 souls were absorbed and ingested by everyone on Earth so that they are still part of every living thing. Cynthia lives on because we say she lives on, not only in our hearts and minds, but because she is part of us all.

We will remember Cynthia Wilson from now on, not with sorrow, but with laughter. She was able to come to this country in search of a better life, just like my grandparents did, and she was able to find her happiness and the American Dream. Her dream will live on in her family and they, too, will remember her with laughter.

Other tributes may be read here.

64 Comments:

At September 08, 2006 5:44 AM, Blogger Cathy said...

Thank you for your tribute to Cynthia.

 
At September 08, 2006 5:57 AM, Blogger susan said...

Job well done, MK. Thanks for a wonderful tribute and for reminding us to remember those lost.

 
At September 08, 2006 7:14 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Great tribute! Very touching.

 
At September 08, 2006 7:30 AM, Blogger MrsGreenThumb said...

Your acknowledgment of Cynthia and her life is well done. I am crying as I think about this tragedy and all the amazing people who were lost that day. I will remember Cynthia's family, they were blessed to have this beautiful person in their lives. I am very moved by your tribute.

 
At September 08, 2006 8:22 AM, Blogger Auntie Lyn said...

Thank you for this beautiful tribute to the joyful soul of Cynthia. What courage it took to start a new life, and now her family is having to find that courage and more. I will be holding Cynthia's family and friends in my thoughts and prayers.
Blessings,
Auntie Lyn

 
At September 08, 2006 8:43 AM, Anonymous cathy said...

motherkitty, this was a beautiful tribute..Thank you for doing this. Like MGT, I am crying while I was reading this.

 
At September 08, 2006 9:16 AM, Blogger Sue said...

I am typing this through my tears. This tribute was wonderful and really what blogging should be all about!
(letting others know that their life matters)
Cynthia was exactly my age and our birthdays are very close together.
Although none of us will ever forget 9/11, this is a reminder to each of us that there is a story behind each of those 2,996 souls who have left this earth...

 
At September 08, 2006 9:42 AM, Blogger AFSister said...

Thanks for your comments on my 2996 post about Davin. So many people were lost that day- so many souls to be absorbed by the rest of the world. I like that thought.
Thank you for writing this and brining Cynthia back to life for a while.

 
At September 08, 2006 10:41 AM, Blogger Smalltown RN said...

Oh the tears are flowing....what a lovely tribute. Thank you for remembering her, and for providing me the opportunity to learn about someone so special. I am sure their family thanks you as well.

Cheers Motherkitty.....have a wonderful day!!!!

 
At September 08, 2006 10:49 PM, Blogger Ginger said...

An amazing tribute. I love what you said about when the towers fell and the "...dust billowed out into the atmosphere, the bodily remains of these 2,996 souls were absorbed and ingested by everyone on Earth so that they are still part of every living thing"...this brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

 
At September 09, 2006 2:00 AM, Blogger Alice said...

That is such a lovely tribute to Cynthia and all of the other people who went to eternal rest that day.

 
At September 09, 2006 2:56 AM, Blogger brian said...

Thank you for sharing this story about a beautiful woman who was just living her life. Wondeful post and writings.

I too did not know Gilbert, the man I wrote my tribute post for, but I knew him after I finished writing. Please stop by and leave a link and comment so others can come here and read.

 
At September 09, 2006 3:47 AM, Blogger Anita said...

Thanks for this very emotional tribute, it makes me shiver. I cried yesterday night, there was a story of the NY fire fighters on TV and their feelings 5 years after.
Regards from Germany.

 
At September 09, 2006 7:11 AM, Blogger DEBRA said...

Beautiful touching and very moving tribute to a wonderful lady. Chills ran over me when you said she was on the phone with her Uncle as the Tower fell. It just points to the horror of it all. Thank you for this memorial for Cynthia. My tribute for Durrell Pearsall is up if you would like to visit.

 
At September 09, 2006 10:48 AM, Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Really lovely tribute to this dear woman....It is a lovely sentiment.."remember me with laughter"...but I'm sure, not so easy to do...the losses of that terrible day are so heart-rending...the pain incalcuable....may Peace be with all the survivors as well as those lost that fateful morning....

 
At September 09, 2006 10:58 AM, Anonymous Alissa said...

What a wonderful tribute. Thank you for introducing us to Cynthia. The world needed to know about her, and the others...

 
At September 09, 2006 11:53 AM, Blogger Ginger said...

Great tribute. It's truly amazing how so many people have been brought together by this. Thank you.

 
At September 09, 2006 11:54 AM, Blogger Katherine said...

I love the inscription "Don't grieve for me but remember me with laughter." That really says a lot about what kind of person she was. Your tribute was beautiful. Thanks for stopping by my tribute to Marjorie C. Salamone.

 
At September 09, 2006 1:13 PM, Anonymous Teena said...

What a lovely tribute! Thank you for honouring Cynthia.

Thanks for stopping by mine.

 
At September 09, 2006 3:49 PM, Blogger Pamela said...

This is a just heart wrenching story. So very devastating. I know my heart just fell to my stomach when I saw what was happening to our great country that day.

Sadly, it is also my wonderful hubby's birthday. (big tear) It will never be the same.

 
At September 09, 2006 5:48 PM, Blogger Pamela said...

I'm also going to think about her on my birthday October 18

I'm glad I stopped in.

 
At September 09, 2006 6:01 PM, Anonymous Rick said...

Wonderful post, What a fitting tribute. As I read through some of the tributes that are up it is hard not to get emotional. I only hope that mine is worthy.

 
At September 09, 2006 6:37 PM, Blogger Justice Montgomery said...

My heart goes out to The Motus & Wilson Families....

Blessings,
~ ~Justice

In Memory of Edward P. York

 
At September 09, 2006 6:37 PM, Blogger Justice Montgomery said...

My heart goes out to The Motus & Wilson Families....

Blessings,
~ ~Justice

In Memory of Edward P. York

 
At September 09, 2006 7:06 PM, Blogger Zephra said...

You moved me to tears.

 
At September 10, 2006 1:43 AM, Blogger FrogLegs said...

What a *WONDERFUL* tribute... My tribute for Keiichiro is up also.

 
At September 10, 2006 4:30 AM, Anonymous Jacqulyn said...

That brought tears to my eyes! You'd think after reading through all of these, they'd dry up, but they don't. Thank you for sharing her story. I hope her family feels the love from the world on Monday.

I honored Michael Haub, FDNY.

 
At September 10, 2006 6:57 AM, Anonymous Kim said...

Beautiful!
My tribute to Brenda C. Gibson is also up.

 
At September 10, 2006 7:07 AM, Blogger jellyhead said...

Motherkitty, that post is heartbreakingly eloquent and touched me to tears. Thank you.

 
At September 10, 2006 7:20 AM, Blogger judypatooote said...

Days go by and it's so easy to forget, but I do remember the moment when it was on tv, i was staying at a hotel in Amish country....we plastered ourselves in front of the tv, and I never felt so afraid, or sad in my life.. Not knowing what was going to come next......

Your wrote a wonderful tribute to Cynthia.....and a great reminder of the lifes lost........

 
At September 10, 2006 10:21 AM, Anonymous Jeannette said...

A very touching and heartfelt tribute to a special lady. It seems that most of the journallers involved in 2996 are on blogspot. I am not but I am still part of the project and have honoured my assigned victim today. I have read so many tributes and each one has touched my heart.

 
At September 10, 2006 10:23 AM, Blogger Sissy Willis said...

A moving tribute. Thank you.

 
At September 10, 2006 3:27 PM, Blogger Moogie said...

This is lovely. I have been reading so many of the tribues over the last week. It is truly heartwarming to see that there are so many people out there who care so much.

 
At September 10, 2006 4:30 PM, Blogger Alipurr said...

my tribute to 9/11 victim Gregory Wachtler has been posted

 
At September 10, 2006 4:55 PM, Blogger Rosa said...

What a wonderful tribute. Thank you.

 
At September 10, 2006 6:03 PM, Blogger healthpsych said...

A very moving tribute. Remember me with laughter. That's a good creed for anyone to live by. Thank you.

 
At September 10, 2006 7:08 PM, Blogger shellyC said...

Thank you for this tribute and putting a personal light on this tragedy. It was lovely.

 
At September 10, 2006 10:04 PM, Anonymous Dawn said...

This is the first tribute I've read that has me crying. That was such a beautiful tribute.

Mine is up too.

 
At September 10, 2006 10:09 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Oh, that one really got to me... how do we ever say goodbye? What a lovely tribute.

My post is up as well. I invite you and your readers to visit my site and read about Clarin Shellie Schwartz.

 
At September 10, 2006 10:40 PM, Blogger TUFFENUF said...

Thank-you, Motherkitty.

 
At September 10, 2006 11:09 PM, Blogger Suzi said...

I tried to laugh, but I just couldn't. You did a great job of making her real to me, rather than just a name. Cynthia came from the Philippines. She had a husband whom she loved. She had a daughter. She had an uncle.

Thank you for your tribute to Cynthia.

Also remember Laura Gilly.

 
At September 10, 2006 11:23 PM, Blogger bernie said...

Moving tribute. Beautiful.

I linked to your tribute from 2996 tribute to victims of 9/11 - Terrence E Adderley

 
At September 11, 2006 12:34 AM, Anonymous TomR said...

You wrote a great tribute. Cynthia Wilson was a "new" American who had became a good American. The urn of dust from the holy site was sacred to her family and served her memory well.

 
At September 11, 2006 2:16 AM, Blogger Tish said...

Your tribute brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing Cynthia's story. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.

Thank you for visiting my tribute to Judson Cavalier. I encourage your readers to check it out as well.

 
At September 11, 2006 2:51 AM, Blogger ipanema said...

Touching tribute!

 
At September 11, 2006 2:55 AM, Anonymous flaggazer said...

A beautiful tribute. We lost so many beautiful souls that day.

Please read my tribute to Major Dwayne Williams, who was lost at the Pentagon.

 
At September 11, 2006 6:07 AM, Blogger Lee-ann said...

I am honoured to have been able to read your lovely tribute to Cynthia a lovely lady.

May she and all the others walk with their lord now in peace.
Lee-ann

 
At September 11, 2006 7:47 AM, Blogger Carmen said...

A beautiful tribute. Thank you for remembering her.

I honor Lt. Col. Johnson today.

 
At September 11, 2006 8:24 AM, Blogger TNChick said...

You've complied a great tribute to Ms. Wilson. Isn't it amazing what one can learn about someone and how touched they are when they've never even met?

May her family be at peace today while the anniversary of 9/11 passes.

I honor FDNY's Peter Beilfeld at my place.

 
At September 11, 2006 8:53 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

What a touching tribute. Thank you for sharing.

 
At September 11, 2006 11:47 AM, Blogger MrsGreenThumb said...

Sister, I have read dozens of tributes in the last few days. Yours is the best. You're the best. I love you.

 
At September 11, 2006 1:11 PM, Blogger Kerri said...

Your words certainly are eloquent and brought tears to my eyes MK. Thank you for this touching tribute to a precious human soul (among so many), whose life was senselessly brought to an end by madmen.
You've done a wonderful job and made her 'real' for so many of us, who would otherwise never have known of her.

 
At September 11, 2006 3:02 PM, Blogger Lilize said...

great tribute. thanks for sharing..

my tribute is to Joeseph peter anchundia.

 
At September 11, 2006 3:32 PM, Blogger Lilize said...

thank you for stopping by Joe's tribute.

my readers are all invited to visit Cynthia, as yours are invited to visit Joe too :)

I linked you at the end of the post along with some other bloggers.

 
At September 11, 2006 6:49 PM, Blogger gordaboo said...

Such a sad sad tale and you told it so beautifully. You have put a face and heart to a name.

We will never forget.

I remember Lisa Egan

http://ramblingsofamadpiggie.blogspot.com

 
At September 11, 2006 8:37 PM, Anonymous Laury said...

Thank you for making Cynthia more than just another name on a memorial wall for me.

I remembered Susan Clyne and Jon Schlissel.

 
At September 11, 2006 9:05 PM, Blogger Kristy said...

Very touching tribute!! Brought me to tears once again.

Thank you for stopping by and reading about Simon Weiser as well.

 
At September 11, 2006 10:38 PM, Anonymous Max said...

Thank you for sharing Cynthia's life with us on this sad day. My thoughts are with her family and friends, especially the daughter who lost her mom.

I remember Lt. Charles William Garbarini on my site.

 
At September 12, 2006 10:21 PM, Blogger ML (Mary Lynn) said...

Very well done. Thank you for allowing me to get to know Cynthia as a person rather than a statistic.

That is what the 2996 tributes are all about.

 
At September 13, 2006 12:16 AM, Blogger Animal Anarchy said...

Terribly sad. Such a senseless loss of life. My father lost a college friend in the plane that hit the Pentagon. They had been friends for more than 40 years.

 
At October 12, 2006 1:56 PM, Blogger The Wandering Author said...

What a wonderful, touching tribute. It is important to remember that each person who died that day was an individual. Your post expresses that beautifully.

 
At October 15, 2006 1:02 AM, Blogger Miskaj said...

Such a loving and heartfelt tribute
for this lovely lady! But for all of those wonderful people who lost their lives that day, each is very special and leave a loving tribute of their own in the hearts of their
family and friends. A really nice site and so glad I dropped by! Thanks for sharing with me! I am so glad there are people like you around! Well, you stay safe and be blessed and I will pray all will be well with you always. In HIS love, Katie

http://miskaj-wwwjnksansone.blogspot.com/
http://www.jnksansone.com/index.html

 
At September 23, 2007 10:23 PM, Blogger riain said...

She is my Dad's former co-worker in the Philippines. I met her as a kid in one of the office Christmas Parties... probably I was 5 then.

 
At January 28, 2009 9:48 PM, Blogger Epiphany said...

Hi..uhm..i know this incident happened in 2001, but I really want to thank you for making this tribute..I happened to come across your blog..Don't be surprised, but actually she's my aunt, half-sister of my father..God bless you..

 

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