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“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Saturday, September 11, 2004

    This morning I started with a long, self-indulgent post about where I was September 11, 2001 and what I did that day.

    Blogger ate it. Fortunately.

    Instead, I've got a better story to tell you - the aftershock of September 11. It was months later, like the aftershock of an earthquake, and it came packaged in my university's alumni magazine.

    Flipping through the pages, I noticed an inset box in the Obituary section:

    Obituaries of the 14 alumni who were
    killed in the September 11 terrorist
    attacks appear with those of their
    classmates. Their names are: [omitted]

    I hadn't known anyone personally who was killed on September 11. My brother knew someone who was on Flight 93. V., who was born and raised in New York, lost two childhood friends: One in each tower.

    I started to read. (Note: I'm going to omit the names for the sake of privacy.)

    A 1983 alum: ... a financial consultant with Salomon Smith Barney; Sept.11, at a breakfast meeting at Windows on the World restaurant on the 106th floor, One World Trade Center. His sister said he was the high-energy family organizer, who planned the annual reunions of 70 relatives, ordering Lebanese food; he created a game for these gatherings based on family trivia. "He was pretty much perfect."

    A 1989 alum: Sept.11, One World Trade Center. This was her second day at work after maternity leave... [She] did not like working in the World Trade Center tower because she did not like heights, and as her brother-in-law had been in the complex when it was bombed in 1993.

    Then the gut clincher: 1985. My year. My school within the university. My classmate.

    Eleven others: One World Trade Center. Two World Trade Center. Flight 11. The Pentagon.

    That was when I realized I had lost family after all. I sat at the kitchen table and cried for I don't know how long.



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