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.