Sunday, September 10, 2006
Who shall rememember their names?
(24 of the victims were Japanese........).
For Yuko, 9/11 was only yesterday
Yukiko Furusawa / Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondent
Monday marks the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States that killed about 2,700 people. However, for those who lost loved ones in the tragedy, the emotional scars still run deep.
Yuko Clark, 39, who lives in New Jersey with her four children, is one victim who cannot erase her sense of loss.
Her American husband, Greg, 40, was working for a bond trading agent on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower.
Yuko, originally from Kanagawa Prefecture, met Greg at a U.S. military facility in Yokohama when she was a junior college student working part-time at a shop there.
They married 16 years ago, and Greg worked late every day to build a home and was a gentle father to their children.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, he left for work as usual, but never returned home.
It was hard for Yuko to accept the fact that her husband had died in act of terrorism. She did not know on whom to vent her anger.
Like many others, his body was never recovered. But three years ago, a DNA test identified a piece of a left arm bone as being his, and Yuko could finally accept that her husband had died.
"I was sad, but at the same felt relieved. It was a sort of mixed feeling I had because I learned he really had died," Yuko said.
The emotional damage to her children also is deep.
Her eldest son, John, 16, said: "After dad was dead, I stopped doing everything. I did not talk and stayed in my room. I struggled in that year. Next year, I got to accept what had happened."
Having watched the war on terrorism unfold in Afghanistan and then the Iraq war on the television, John said, "I'm sure they don't like Americans," and added that anger circles the world.
Younger son Matt, 12, drew a picture book in which the father of the main character died while the boy was in a class.
The youngest child, 10-year-old Julie, refused to go to school at one stage.
Recently, Julie ripped off the arm of a father-character doll and applied a bandage she had made out of paper saying he was injured.
Although things are difficult, Yuko has found some joy.
Her eldest daughter, Sarah, 14, has been caring toward her younger brother and sister. John, who is attending high school, has taken up golf, a game that Greg liked.
As Yuko realizes how much her children have grown, she said she often asks herself, "Why is Greg not here?"
Greg played an active role in raising their children, changing their diapers and doing other things to help.
Recalling that, she says she finds it sad that he cannot see his children grow. She laments that these are the best years of child rearing, but he has missed out on it.
To receive compensation from the U.S. government, she had to fill out a mountain of paperwork.
Although she will have no trouble getting by for a while, she is worried about the future and sending the children to college among other things.
Some women she knows from an association for bereaved family members of 9/11 victims have remarried, but Yuko said she cannot imagine doing so.
On Monday, a memorial ceremony is to be held at Ground Zero.
One of her friends, who also lost her husband, suggested that Yuko read her husband's name out with others on the day to mark a turning point, but she refused.
She has not visited Ground Zero for a long time, "Because I feel as if my feelings go back to the past."
Recently, she started playing the piano again. On Monday, she said she was planning to attend an event at a hall in New York to sing Mozart's "Requiem" in remembrance of her husband.
(Sep. 10, 2006)