Tuesday, September 12, 2006

September 11, 2006, I Remember Donna Bernaerts-Kearns

September 11, 2006 marks the 5th anniversary of the horrible terrorist attack that senselessly murdered 2,996 Americans and touched the life of hundreds of thousands more. Because of the 9/11 attacks, the lives of American men, women and children were tragically cut short. Husbands and wives are without their spouses, mother and fathers without their children, children without their parents and family and friends are without their loved ones. One of these victims is Donna Bernaerts-Kearns. So, on September 11, 2006, I remember Donna Bernaerts-Kearns.

Donna was a 44 year old computer programmer for Accenture in the World Trade Center. By all accounts, Donna was a loving and very giving person. Donna often spent her lunch hours buying coats, boots and puzzles for those who could not afford such things. She was an avid participant in the U.S. Postal Service’s Secret Santa drive for needy children, and even get her colleagues at work to participate. Family and friends remember Donna for her generosity and giving nature and her soft heart.

Donna was also a wife and mother. Donna was known for working long hours into the night, but always managed to make it back into work by 8:00 am. Donna balanced these long hours against the stresses of home, raising a mildly autistic son, Joseph, now age 16, who is now being raised by her husband, Edward.

I never knew Donna, however, from what I have been able to read about her, that is certainly my loss. Donna seems to be one of those persons that we all need to meet. The ones that touch our hearts and make us want to be a better person ourselves to live up to her standards.

As readers of this blog know, I was there 9/11/01, I was across the street from the towers as the second plane crashed into them. I managed to make it up to my wife (then girlfriend’s) office in Union Square. Later that morning, I managed to meet up with Lawhawk at my wife’s office. Mrs. Lawhawk was safe and on her way back to NJ, Mrs. Legalbgl was stuck in Brooklyn. Fears turned to my family, as my cousin remained unaccounted for several hours (she worked at the WTC Tower 2, but luckily was running late for work that morning.) My family was spared the horror that Donna’s family has had to endure.

To Donna’s family, I am sorry for your loss and I only hope that this tribute does even a bit of justice to the person that Donna was.

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