September 11, 2001
This date and its accompanying events were ingrained in the hearts and minds of people of this generation as strongly as was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy for past generations.
We all probably have our particular stories of remembrance of this tragic event and I want to share with you mine.
Andy Alameno attended college at Mt. St. Mary’s College (now University) and Seminary. This was also where I spent my last four years of seminary formation as there was a major seminary on the campus.
Since the underclassmen collegians were not allowed to have cars on campus, I was asked to drive Andy and another student from the Wildwoods home during some of the college breaks. I had gone to Wildwood Catholic High School with Andy’s sister and brother and was familiar with his family.
Years passed since I had any knowledge of or contact with Andy. Until September 11, 2001, that is.
Andy was working in one of the towers of the World Trade Center on a floor near where the plane crashed into it. His body was never found. It was probably incinerated instantly.
He left behind a wife and two young children.
I celebrated the memorial Mass for Andy at the Church of the Assumption in Wildwood Crest shortly after the incident. The church was completely packed as the congregation was grieving with disbelief and denial.
I told the congregation that this was a day that will be remembered forever in history because “things had now changed dramatically for all of us.”
I had been privileged to take Andy home from college on various occasions and now I had the responsibility to help take him home to God. I will never forget how difficult this day was for all of us—especially Andy’s family.
Things have changed since 9/11. It helps me focus continually on that which is essential and that which is truly petty or insignificant.
Whenever we are tempted to lose focus on the important things in life (God, family, love, relationships, etc.), I ask you to think about Andy and those innocents who died with him.
September 11, 2001 changed things for him and us.
Fr. Ed NamiotkaPastor