Most of the anger has left Nora Sosa-Iles in the 11 years since her niece Linda Sheehan was killed in the North Tower of the World Trade Center 11 years ago today.
On Tuesday, she honored Sheehan's memory with a smile, while sharing a message of peace and a list of the many things that made Sheehan so special.
"She had the heartiest laugh," Sosa-Iles said at after a brief ceremony at the White Plains 9/11 Memorial in Liberty Park. "She was helpful and beautiful inside and out."
Sosa-Iles also wanted to share a poem her son wrote about Sheehan, a White Plains resident, that concludes with a powerful message of peace and perseverance. Sean Patrick Sosa-Iles, Nora's son, wrote the two-page poem about Sheehan after her death. Nora Sosa-Iles said she wasn't able to take it with her today, but knows the message it delivers by heart.
"In the poem, he put in the end that we don't want this event and the people that did it to teach us to hate," she said. "We have to absolutely not be afraid, and think peace."
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The 30-minute ceremony, which began with a flag raising and moment of silence and concluded with a playing of Taps, was offered a few local families a chance to reflect. With the sun rising over Silver Lake in the background, White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach noted that when the monument bearing the names of six White Plains residents lost 11 years ago today was unveiled, someone noted to him that having the names of those lost facing the water would help them find peace there.
"Today is a day where you look out there and you believe that could be true," Roach said.
Nora's husband Oliver Iles agreed, saying the family has visited the park several times over the years to remember their lost niece.
"It's just such a peaceful, tranquil spot, for something of violence," he said, his voice trailing off.
The ceremony concluded with a prayer from Rabbi Lester Bronstein, who asked for the strength to always remember the events of 11 years ago—both the vivid images of violence and incredible acts of many in the days that followed.
"We ask for the gift of memory, always to remember the sting, the shock, the horror of this day, never to forget the horror," he said. "But also to remember the thousands and millions of acts of good works that were done by our fellow citizens in order to counter the pain of that day."
The six White Plains residents lost on Sept. 11, 2001:
- Sharon Balkom
- Marisa Dinardo
- Hemanth Kumar Puttur
- Joe Riverso
- Gregory Rodriquez
- Linda Sheehan