New Yorkers' words
By COLIN FREEZE , The Globe and Mail
Friday, September 14, 2001
Rev. Alfonso Aguilar has an answer for those New Yorkers who ask him why God would let so many perish.
"We know that God is always drawing some good out of evil, you know?" he said. Maybe, in the aftermath of a horrific attack, he added, people will return to churches, become more spiritual, and have stronger family lives.
Father Aguilar was consoling people yesterday as they waited in hour-long lineups to hand in missing-persons forms at a building known to New Yorkers as the Armory. On a day when the President asked a nation to pray, many needed little prompting.
Prayers buoyed many who kept faith that a loved one could be returned to them alive or dead. They posted papers listing any small detail that could be used to identify them.
Garth Feeney, 28, has "one very fine, long scar beginning under his right eye." Frankie Serrano, 23, has a tattoo of Marvin the Martian holding a Puerto Rican flag. Mark Heschoot wears a gold wedding band dated "9/22/79" and has diabetes.
Nearby is a poster by a six-year-old who drew "good luck in Heaven" across the extended wings of a butterfly. The style was reminiscent of posters that announce the search for a lost pet.
Some people maintained religion is indispensable at such a devastating time, while others questioned its value altogether.
Thousands of people have scrawled messages on sheets of paper at a makeshift memorial at Union Station Park.
"I don't believe in this faceless higher power. I don't believe that any power can grant me the right to destroy the lives and sanity of other human beings," said one, referring to the fact that the terrorists might have believed they were doing God's work.
The focal point of the memorial is a three-metre-high cylinder with a piece of the World Trade Center attached.
Glass candles with Jesus and his mother Mary surrounded that monument as did flowers, drawn Stars of David and tiny U.S. flags.
One man was doubled over in grief among the silent crowd, who mostly reserved their opinions to felt-marker-scrawled text on the sheets around the area.