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Peter Paton

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Small Community Scarred by 9/11
by Peter Paton   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Posted: Tuesday, September 05, 2006

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Small Community Scarred by 9/11

Small Community Scarred by 9/11

As part of his series on the fifth anniversary of the 11 September attacks, the BBC's Stephen Evans visits Warwick - a small community in the Adirondacks, 60 miles (96km) north of New York - to see how it is coping.

Main Street, Warwick
Everyone in Warwick seems to know someone affected by 9/11
Warwick has a typical Main Street with a hardware store and a timbered Baptist meeting house - it feels a million miles from the city.

In the park, there is a memorial: two black granite towers in the shape of the twin towers, with a plaque naming those from the area who died.

This is a scarred community - not only because of the eight who died but because so many people who live here work in New York.

Everybody seems to know somebody who was involved.

Brian Gillen commuted to his fire station in New York and was called to the site after the attacks.

For a time, he was unaccounted for.

"I helped organise 40 funerals - funerals for friends. At first it was physically exhausting, and then it became mentally exhausting, very taxing on people.


We all became professional funeral directors - we had to

Brian Gillen, retired firefighter
"Unfortunately we all became professional funeral directors - we had to. We wanted to do the right thing for the families; we wanted to do the right thing for the firefighters that had been killed. And I think we did just that."

People in Warwick get on with their lives quietly.

You get no sense of anger in Brian Gillen - just a sense of anxiety, particularly as he has one son who's just followed into his fireman's boots, and two sons with the Marines.

New phase

Different people have different ways of dealing with their grief.

Mary Williamson lost her husband, a firefighter, and is determined to look forward.

Mary Williamson
Mary Williamson: 'I don't want to live in fear'
She has taken up new courses at college and tries to be positive: "9/11 did change my life but I'm moving on.

"My children are growing up. It's a new phase of my life. My new friends know nothing of 9/11. I don't introduce myself as a participant of 9/11.

"My husband was a wonderful man. We had 20 years together - but there are many, many good things yet to happen. I don't want to live in fear."

There is a more pervasive, general effect of the attacks in Warwick, according to Catholic priest Michael McLoughlin.

"Before, when you wanted to organise a trip to Manhattan you would have the parents just sign off the paper and off you'd go.

"Now we have some parents tell us 'I don't want my child to go on a trip to Manhattan' - they are afraid.

"There's a raised awareness of security, we've had to put security systems on all of the doors of the school, just to take away the nervousness and the fear of parents.

"Life has changed. There is always the sense that maybe it could happen again."

Web Site: Small Community Scarred by 9/11

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Reviewed by Sandie Angel
Life certainly have changed for the majority of the U.S. It was an event that will go down in history which is unforgettable. I only feel sorry for the families whose deaths are involved. They will carry their scars for a long long time!!!!!

A timely write indeed!

Sandie May Angel a.k.a. Sandie Angel :o(
Reviewed by Mr. Ed
Life truly has changed, for so many, since that awful day.
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