The Many, Many Empty Seats of September 11th

By D. Lanier Shook                              September 11, 2014

How many people do you know? How many people do they know? Scientists now believe that each of us are eight people from any other person on the planet. These are lives that — to one degree or another — that we touch. To think of how many total lives were affected by the losses 13 years ago is staggering.

According to The History Channel 3000 people died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Each of these people not only had family members, but also knew people. They stopped at coffee shops, attended worship services somewhere, went on vacation, played online games, and took continuing education classes. Each of these people left empty seats and empty spots all around them.

September 11th was a tragedy for our nation. It was a tragedy for the New York City and District of Columbia. It was a tragedy for each family involved. But the ripples each person made in society touched so many people.

One ripple that touches Western North Carolina was Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, a remarkable woman who was killed on Flight 93. Her parents —Larry and Barbara — have a home in Lake Toxaway. Before she died Lauren wrote a book “You Can Do It!: The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls,” which is chock full of wonderful projects. I’m the proud owner of a copy and you can buy one by clicking here.

(It really is a great book and I didn’t discover who had written it until I read it all the way through. Lauren compiled scores of projects with detailed directions how to speak in public, write a book, firewalking, billiards, and so many more. At 512 pages its a great bargain and you really should look into getting a copy of this how-to masterpiece.)

Lauren’s parents have honored their daughter’s memory by post-humously publishing her book, creating a garden in memory of her, and establishing a Foundation in her honor. The Foundation funds women’s scholarship and healthcare. In fact, according to the Foundation’s website, they are partnering with the hospital in Brevard to fund neo-natal units. Click on one of the links below to learn more.

Lauren was just of the lives lost that tragic day thirteen years ago, but she’s a good example of how that life touched so many others. Today, please pause to remember all of those lost and all the lives they touched. Pray for those who are grieving today, because they have wounds which are still raw. But most of all, never, ever, ever forget.

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