Note: Apparantly there's a problem with the live version of Project 2996...may have been overloaded. Here is the Google cached page for 2996.
" Wishing I could hear your voice again . . .
knowing that I never would . . .
Dreaming of you won't help me to do
all that you dreamed I could . . .
" Wishing you were somehow here again . . .
knowing we must say goodbye . . .
Try to forgive . . .teach me to live . . .
give me the strength to try . . .
These are lyrics from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. One of the great things about music is that the lyrics can take different meanings based upon different people and different circumstances. And though the meaning of these words in their original context are not quite of the same meaning, I think anyone who's ever lost someone they deeply loved can understand the array of emotions conveyed by these words.
As we remember today, the 2,996 souls that lost their lives on September 11, 2001, these words seemed somehow more relevant to me. It's easy to get caught up in the processes of rebuilding and memorializing what happened that day. It seems ever easier for politicians to use the events of 9/11 to generate political capital for their own benefit. Yet, let us not forget that 2,996 is no mere statistic; no ordinary number. 2,996 represents 2,996 people...real and actual people who had real and actual lives with real and actual stories to tell. That is what today is about. Remembering the PEOPLE...not just the event. As part of that rememberance, I am proud to be participating in Project 2996...a project that allows each of 2,996 bloggers to honor a victim of that day.
With that being said, it is my pleasure to tell you about a man named Jonathan J. Uman.
Jonathan was a managing director of eSpeed at Cantor Fitzgerald, a logical career given his fondness of computers and technology. Like all men, he was very fond of his toys, which included a remote controlled boat for his pool, and his new Porsche, which he drove from his home in Westport, Conneticuit to his job at the WTC. He was also an amateur actor who enjoyed listening to Shakespeare.
Jon also had a wonderful sense of self-depricating humor. A friend commented on a memorial site that when Jon had made a mistake, he would, "...look around with that full-faced grin of his, shrug, and say, 'Hey, I'm only Uman.'" By all accounts (that I could find) he enjoyed life to the fullest. His zest for life was apparent to all those who knew him, and his greatest joys were his Wife, Julie, and children, Alex (now ~8) and Anna (now ~6). Jon was 33 when he died.
I reflected for a long time on the information I learned about Jonathan. It seemed the more I researched, the more I found in common with a man I'd never met. Part of that, I am sure, is the human need to find a connection...a pattern in an otherwise random equation. Still, his career in technology, his love for shakespeare, his self-depricating sense of humor, his love of "guy toys", the ease with which he seemed to approach odd or uncomfortable situations, his need to kick back and socialize, his affection and admiration for his wife, his love for his children. I guess if we look hard enough, we can find similarities with anyone. And maybe that's not such a bad thing. It allows us an opportunity to relate, if only on some basic level.
I can tell you that Jon was a good man. He was a good husband and a good father, and seemed to have had a positive impact on a great many people. I can say that I wish I had had the opportunity to meet Jon and his family. His was a life truly blessed, and I am truly sorry that his children must grow up without their father. It is my hope that they will still have an opportunity to know their father, through the stories of his life shared by family and friends.
With that, I'd like to share with you two messages left for Jon on his memorial site by his mother and father:
"My Dearest Son Jonathan, You came from deep within my being 33 years ago. You were and are my Gift from God and truly taught me unconditional love. You inspired me to be a good mother--to nurture you--to guide you- to encourage you-to stand by you--to appauld you and respect you. Wh shared a special connection. I smile when I think of all the amazing things you did and cherish our relationship. You had an incredbile spirit, confidence, and possessed an aura of sunshine. Everythig you touched turned to gold. You made all of your dreams a reality. My loving son, you are forever in my heart. I adore and miss you. Jonathan, you will always be apart of me. I love you. Your Mom (Wilton, CT August 4, 2002)"
My Dearest Son, Jonathan, I love you and am so proud of you for the joy that you brought to all those whose lives you touched. You were my hero, you were and are my hero. Your love of life, your sense of adventure, your spirit--will always be with me. From the time you were a little boy we shared the laughter, the late night talks, the garage full of grapefurits, the boxes of unsold calendars. It was an honored to be your best man. We have a bond that can never be broken. To you my son, I dedicate this poem: "Neither flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone, But still you are, My very own, I will never forget ,For a single minute that you're in my heart, And will always live in it." Your Dad (Harvey Blomberg Wilton, Connecticut) 8/4/02 Harvey Blomberg (Wilton, CT )
I cannot imagine the difficulty, nor the strength required, to sit and compose such messages for one's own child. What it tells me is that there was a great love for their son, and a bond that cannot be broken, not even by death. It is very evident that his spirit lives on in the memories of his family and friends, and he will never be forgotten.
I am proud to have been a part of this effort by the 2996 project. I am proud to say to the world, "Jonathan J. Uman...you are missed and you are remembered." Let us never forget that we are all still New Yorkers. Let us never forget that we are, all of us...Americans.
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