A personal memorial:
The terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 reminds me that the perception that people have forgotten how to truly love and pray for one another in society can be overcome through commonality and reverence. The hallowed ground of the World Trade Center is not of spiritual or metaphysical nature, but of human reverence. As the iconic American image, New York City pulled together illustrating supreme humanity. In the days of bleak, dissociation styled telecommunication, the grim reality present on September 11th and the weeks after was overcome by the virtue and spirit of the people. Even in the quickening technological boom, during moments of human hardship society instinctively linked together through commonality. The tragedy of September 11th was a human event, and after the horrendous event the actions of New Yorkers illustrated the benevolence and perseverance of the city.
Remembering those that tragically died 5 years ago today, it is difficult for me to conceptualize a disembodied name from the whole. In sincerity, it is not who Erwin Erker was that I was thinking of, his wife, his children, his siblings, his parents, or his coworkers (though the details of his life bring a stark realism to the incident), when I took on this task, but what Erwin represents to me. In my view, I was Erwin. A different time, a different city, a different family, yet we are still the same. Although the details of Erwin’s life discriminate my literal comparison, it is not the detail of who Erwin was that draws a nagging emotionalism as I push forward to finish this web log. The commonality I see in Erwin, and in all of those who died on September 11th, is our humanity. I feel and see the brevity and delicateness of life slamming hard into all those affect by the events 5 years ago. Occupation, ethnicity, creed, religion, all become irrelevant qualifiers in the comprehension of life. The attitude of the victims of 9/11 who were diligently living life, each day as important as the last and next, unaware of fate, are the commonality we all share. Each day I get up for work feels the same. My routine to work and school becomes monotonous save for the personal relationships. I am moving forward to be sure, but life has become a piled up To-Do list with each day having repeat tasks. How can I not see the commonality in Erwin Erker and empathize over his death? Erwin Erker is me. Waking up in the morning to fulfill financial responsibilities for the betterment of himself and his loved ones; Erwin Erker was the image of American society. All of those involved in the events of that day share the same image, and the commonality extends beyond American ideology. As I unexpectedly shed tears of empathy over the untimely loss of Erwin Erker, my actions illustrate to me the nature of man as clearly as what took place on the days, weeks, and months following September 11. In the aftermath what billowed outwards from New York City was not a disparaging grimness, but a cloud of benevolence enveloping everyone illuminating the virtue in all of us. It is not the atrocities of the religious zealots that draws my attention when looking back after 5 years, it is the spirit of the people in New York city and the way in which they banded together which I most vividly recall from September 11th, 2001. I see that Hope is not all that remained in Pandora’s Box. Love remained as well and is as permeable as Hope, healing those who suffer and uniting the spirit of human kindness. September 11th, 2001 reminded me of the ever-present commonality of humanity, and the capacity for humans to supersede insignificancies with limitless compassion and sincerity.
Erwin L. Erker died at the age of 41 on September 11th, 2001 at the World Trade Center. Erwin was an employee of Marsh & McLennan. He was respected by his friends and coworkers, and loved by his family. He is survived by his wife Ann, his son Andrew, his daughter Lauren, his sisters Susie and Anita, his father Siegfried, and his mother Josefine. I wish his family and friends all the compassion I possess, and wish that in times of despair the unconditional love of Erwin helps them to carry on.
Memorial pages to Erwin Elker: