9/11 — ‘Too unfathomable to forget’

FORREST NORBERG — (far left) holds the “Never Forget” flag during a 9-11 remembrance ceremony. Also, present at the Naples Town Dock on Friday were Monika Norberg and Ron Shaw playing the trumpet. (De Busk Photo)

FORREST NORBERG — (far left) holds the “Never Forget” flag during a 9-11 remembrance ceremony. Also, present at the Naples Town Dock on Friday were Monika Norberg and Ron Shaw playing the trumpet. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — The American flag on the Causeway was at half-mast.

So, too, were the emotions and thoughts of the people who were remembering the horrors that unfolded fourteen years ago on Sept. 11.

The rain falling down and the wind coming off Long Lake did not stop them from gathering on the Naples Public Dock in remembrance of 9-11.

“It’s not about us. It’s about memorializing the people who died that day,” said Patricia Shaw.

She and her husband Ron Shaw said it was still “unfathomable, hard to comprehend” the severity of what happened on 9-11. Likewise, when they stop and remember, the pain is still so raw.

“It is hard to figure out why or how someone could harbor that much hate in their heart for the United States, to do that,” Ron Shaw said, of the pilots who committed suicide as part of their mission to kill as many Americans as possible.

“The pain is still real. And, if it is that real for us, the Americans who saw it on TV, then think how much it hurts for the people who were there” and the people who had loved ones die, he said.

In 2008, before a memorial was built where the Twin Towers once stood, the Shaws visited the ground zero site in New York. There, 2,823 people had died including those aboard the planes, according to the United States (U.S.) State Department.

When the Shaws toured the site, they saw the twisted metal beams and gaping holes in concrete that stood as a testament to the devastation of 9-11, Ron said.

On Friday, the Town of Naples’ warning siren went off at 8:46 a.m. to signal the time that the first plane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York.

Once the sound of the siren subsided, Ron Shaw began to play Taps on the trumpet while others in the group stood silent.

Some people left the dock, heading to their workplaces. Other lingered momentarily.

Monika Norberg, of Naples, said she remembers the details of 9-11 like it was yesterday.

She was living in Connecticut and working in the quality control department for Ensign-Bickford Aerospace and Defense.

“We had three days of no planes flying” and when she went outside from one warehouse to another “it was eerie and quiet,” Monika said.

“Most people stayed home. It was like when (John F.) Kennedy was shot,” she said.

The terrorists “are jealous of the U.S. They are envious of the nice life. People who are born in the U.S should be thankful to their forefathers who came here with nothing in their pockets,” she said.

According to Forrest Norberg, the passage of 14 years since that particular terrorist attack does not mean Americans should get complacent.

“We tend to get lax. We should stay vigilant,” he said.

Like the flag he held during the 9-11 ceremony, “we should never forget,” he said.

Ron Shaw said it is difficult to find healing and especially hard to make sense of what happened that day, and how so many lives were taken. That death toll continued after Sept. 11, 2001, because first responders were exposed to toxic air that day, he said.

Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, Americans did lean on one another and offer support. A sense of national pride arose.

The community — whether it was in a rural area or in the city — gathered together and found strength, according to Ron Shaw.

“We gather at the same place and the same time on 9-11 every year. We hope the next time, more people will come remember and we can heal together,” Ron Shaw said.

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