of Sorrow And Remembrance: Six Month Anniversary Of the September
From Nowy Dziennik - Polish Daily News
March 12, 2002
By Bozena Chojnacka and Wojciech T. Mleczko
It has been over six months since the tragic events of September
11 took place, but the painful memories of the terrorist attacks
are still fresh in the hearts of Poles living in New York.
Many things have changed in the lives of those who once put their
hopes in this country. Before September 11 Poles felt safe living
here, but after the attacks many of them returned to their homeland.
Many local Polish businesses suffered great losses and some have
even gone bankrupt. Poles in general think less about their future
now; they tend to focus more on what's happening today.
The events of September 11 made a great impact on Bogda Matuszewska
who lives in Bell Harbor. Some people managed to return to their
usual way of life - she never did.
"I remember how worried I was about my husband and my sister
who happened to be in Manhattan that morning. I couldn't reach them
for a few hours. A few weeks after September 11 that other plane
crashed close to where I live. It's not easy to forget those horrible
times. Till this day whenever I go to the city I am afraid that
some calamity may strike again. I don't park my car in garages or
in front of tall buildings. I am afraid of taking bridges and I
only do that when I have to. Before September 11 I used to shop
in Manhattan, and often times I would go there on my lunch break
- I don't do that anymore. However, I still love this city, no matter
how wounded and scarred it is. And I appeal to all those who feed
on the American bread: feel obliged to do good to this country,"
Grazyna Dmowska shares similar feelings regarding the impact of
September 11 attacks on her life. " I was patiently waiting
for 8:45 this morning to honor those who died with a minute of silence.
Many of us are afraid that such tragedy may happen again and nobody
knows what's going on inside the minds of the terrorists who are
still around. On September 11 I was in Poland, but I have been to
ground zero twice since I returned to New York. I watched the CBS
special yesterday - the horrific scenes shown in that documentary
ripped my heart once again. September 11 has changed my life forever.
I don't think of the future as much. I focus more on my loved ones
and try to spend more time with my family," she said.
Konstanty Gryziec, who has lived in the U.S. for 50 years, was
deeply moved as well. "I have lived through war, I have lived
through bombings, I have seen the liberation of the concentration
camp where my father was kept for a long time. Those were horrible
memories. I never thought that I would live through another horror
of that kind. Till this day it's hard for me to believe that September
11 really happened. My son-in-law, a firefighter, was miraculously
saved from death that day - he was found in the rubble. On that
day I was also worried about my daughter who worked near the WTC
and was pregnant at the time. In the face of such tragedy things
around us don't matter as much. Our lives have changed completely.
Our future is uncertain and we have to pray that God will show grace
for this world."
The events of September 11 have also left a mark on Marta Filleboarn's
"I live day by day and I don't think too much about the future.
I was pregnant at the time and I am glad that I gave birth to our
daughter three days after the tragic day. I would not want September
11 to be her birthday. I often talk about what happened with my
seven year old son, and I try to warn him that something like that
may happen again. We cannot just go back and live as if nothing
happened. Many people are afraid. Some don't want to work in Manhattan,
others are scared of flying."
Joanna Budzynska is another person whose life changed after the
attacks. "It's scary to think that there might be nuclear bombs
around, and that any day may turn into September 11. I am prepared
to escape when something like that happens again. I try to tell
my daughter not to "bind" herself to New York, because
one day she might be forced to leave. This is one of the reasons
she studies French. It will make her life much easier if she would
ever have to move back to Europe. I used to feel safe living in
the US. But those times are over and they will never be back,"
Translates from Polish by Joanna Sufin.
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