What Quiet Dignity Looks Like

I’ve been watching as the media is interviewing people who lost relatives on 9-11 and asking what Bin Laden’s death meant to them. This is a post about the people I know personally, and my take on how they’ve reacted. I’ve been privileged to work with the families who lost rescue workers on 9-11 since a few months after that tragic event, as a staff member of the Twin Towers Fund. I’ve also worked with the kids from many of the families who lost parents in the towers or on the planes and their parents have trusted me, along with my fellow staff members, to be their counselors, care takers, guardians and friends at America’s Camp and related events for almost 10 years now.

I’ve seen the hurt, the anger, and the sadness on the faces of these children, up close, for myself. I’ve also seen them laugh, play and have a chance to be normal kids, not “that kid who lost his dad on 9-11.” As a photographer and videographer, I’ve captured moments that show these emotions, and that break through our everyday lives and show what it means to be human.

That’s why I’m proud to share a few quotes today about what quiet dignity looks like. Some can shout “USA” and post about “mission accomplished*,” these children (now adults) are sharing what this terrorist’s death means to them on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere.

I’ve blurred the names and pictures, as I’ve promised never to share family information out of respect when I worked for the Twin Towers Fund. I won’t change that now.

From a graduate camper who lost a parent, now a counselor – see her concern for her bunk campers, a group of younger kids who lost a parent.



From one of the campers who has helped my photo and video team in the past:



From a quiet but strong graduate camper, now a counselor:


And the discussion on his wall:







And finally, another graduate/counselor’s tweet, one that inspired this post:







Thanks to all my America’s Camp friends for responding to this news in your own way. You continue to inspire me and show me why I’ve worked at camp for, as of this summer, 10 years.

*By the way, in my mind, our mission is “accomplished” when our service men and women are building levies in New Orleans with the Army Core of Engineers, building villages in Haiti or providing logistics support in Japan, instead of getting shot in Afghanistan or Iraq. Be safe, service men and women!