Monday, September 11, 2006

I Am Blogger 1734

September 11, 2001: I'm between jobs. I'm preparing for the Geology State Board exam in 3 days. As I breathe, I want nothing more than to become a mom. I wake up at 7:30 on a beautiful Tuesday morning and I wander in to the kitchen to grab a quick bite to eat before settling down for a full day of studying. My husband is listening to the radio. We hear news that the World Trade Center has been hit by two planes. We hear news that a plane has crashed in to the Pentagon. We hear news that another plane has crashed in to a field in Pennsylvania. With my fear of flying, I am gripped with horror for what has happened. No where in my mind do I think, or could I ever fathom, that these tragedies were pre-meditated. I can't let go of the notion that there was a HUGE glitch with the computer systems. Air traffic controllers have obviously lost all control...

I spend the next three days camped in front of the television set with boxes of Kleenex by my side. I am unable to sleep ... unable to eat ... unable to study ... unable to look away. On September 14, I flunk my State Boards because I cried through the whole exam.

Five Years Later.

September 11, 2006: I'm raising 22-month old triplets. I'm working part-time as a State-certified Geologist. I'm reveling each and every day in the wonder of life and parenthood. As I breathe, I'm praying for peace on earth. For the past month, whenever I have a spare moment, I am researching Perry Anthony Thompson. A man I never knew.

To honor and remember those who perished five years ago today ... 2,996 bloggers will post a tribute to an individual who died during that horrific, perfectly blue sky morning in September, 2001. I am blogger 1734.

2,996. Two thousand. Nine hundred. Ninety six. Lives, lost.

Five years ago, I didn't know anything about any of the people who died, but I did mourn for each and every one of them. I also mourned for the thousands of people that I watched on the news, walking around and pinning up signs of their loved ones. What I remember the most - are feelings of helplessness and desperation. Those feelings gave way to an overwhelming surge of patriotism that resulted in me decorating our home and vehicle with American Flags.

Five years later.

Our American Flag is still flying proudly on our home ... and I know something more than I did, about one of the 2,996 victims.

Perry was 36 years old. He was the husband to Charlette. Daddy to 7-year old Ashley and 3-year old Chelsea. Son to Lula, and brother to Mike and Lisa. From the memorial pages I've read, Perry was a friend to many.

In his spare time, Perry was a celebrity photographer for various magazines. He took pictures of several stars including Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston. One of the last events Perry photographed, was a New York party attended by Don King, Stevie Wonder and Florence Henderson. Perry was meticulous when it came to photography ... especially photography of his beautiful daughters. On Christmas Eve, he would spend hours posing them in front of their tree.

I can just imagine it.

On September 11, 2001 - while I was sleeping in California - Perry was working as an insurance adjuster for AON Corporation on the 98th floor of the World Trade Center's south tower in New York. Since the Thompson's were raising their children in Williamstown, New Jersey ... Perry would wake up at 4:00 AM so he could catch the 5:30 AM bus in to the city. Perry got to work early that Tuesday, just like he did every day, so that he could be home by 7:00 PM to spend time with his family.

Perry knew that the north tower had been struck by a plane. Because Perry was a religious man, and would commute two hours to church each and every Sunday, I suspect he was praying that bright Tuesday morning. I also suspect that he was wishing that he could be home with his wife and two little girls.

Like me, Perry was a parent. Like me, Perry wanted to see his children grow up. His daughters were 7 and 3, and I'll bet nothing on God's green earth held a candle to the adoration they these children had for their daddy. What I learned about Perry during this past month is that he was well loved. I also learned that he will never be forgotten by those whose lives he touched. I found tributes to Perry, written by several people who knew him best. All of the tributes were moving ... but the letter written by his daughter, three and a half years after his passing, brought me to tears.



On this First day of 2005, I realize how much I need and miss you. As you now rest in peace I remember the good times we use to have. It is around the Holidays that your spirit is especially in our hearts most. We remember how your special Holiday traditions, brought us together as a family. We will miss you and love you always. We will reunite in Heaven one day.

Love, Ashley


The United in Memory Quilt has a square honoring Perry Anthony Thompson. Although this image is a bit fuzzy, Perry's square contains the image of a camera. This is undoubtedly due to Perry's love of photography and his joy in taking pictures. Unlike the image of Perry's quilt square - the picture in my mind of September 11, 2001 is crystal clear. Even though five years have passed since that beautiful blue sky day ... I will never forget.

Five years later.

I will never forget the confusion, the horror, the senselessness. But more than that, I will never forget the strength, the resolve, the compassion, the determination, the outpouring of love, support and patriotism. From this day on - I will never forget Perry Anthony Thompson. A guy I didn't even know.

One of the things I learned when I finally passed my State Board exam is that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. With all of my heart, I pray that the Thompson family is always able to find Perry's love and energy around them. You're right Ashley, your daddy's spirit is with you.

It's with me, too.


  1. What a great tribute to a great sounding man. I am so glad these are being done. It is good to remember that this tragedy was/is so very personal to so many.

  2. What a beautiful tribute to one of Amercia's greatest HERO'S.

    God bless the USA.

  3. Beautiful and so very sad...
    I love how you wrote this post. And I can completely understand how you were so affected that you weren't able to pass your exam. I was a an emotional wreck that week, as well.

    (I wasn't assigned a person to give tribute to, but I do have my rememberence of this day posted.)

  4. Jenna-
    That was beautiful (with tears in my eyes).

  5. Nice. I was nursing Alexander; watching the today show when the "breaking news" took place. I remember the fear I felt for so many parents, brothers, sisters, etc.
    It hope that his family grows to feel the love, values & beliefs he seemed to spread during his lifetime. With tributes like this one He will always be treasured.
    Thanks, Very nice.

  6. thank you for posting this tribute!

    --RC of

  7. What a beautiful tribute. I was also taken back to that horrible day. My husband worked across the street from the towers. He called me just as the second plane hit and I heard the horrible sounds. I told him to get out of there. We told each other "I love you". I went home from work and sat on my couch crying and praying. I didn't hear from him until almost seven hours later when he walked through the door covered in ash. Five years later, after seven surgeries, hundreds of injections and many more tears, I sat on my couch today watching the memorial sevices with my two beautiful girls, one thirteen months old the other three weeks old. I cried again, both tears of sadness and tears of joy. My husband still works across the street, and none of us will ever be the same.

  8. Beautiful job, Jen, and you are a beautiful person. Thank you. Susan

  9. Reading these tributes at various sites has made the tragedy so much more real.
    You did a wonderful job honoring him. I hope his family is able to read this.

  10. I have yet to stop crying. This was such a beautifully written post that I wonder whether geology is your calling or if it is the art of words that is your gift. Undoubtedly, it must be both.

    Thank you for how you honored him, it was a beautiful reminder that what we should remember is the people, not the hate.

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  12. Thanks for posting this. Beautiful tribute. I found the link from your blog, which I have followed since about 2007.