Lea Lane

Lea Lane
Florida, USA
August 26
author, Travel Tales I Couldn't Put in the Guidebooks, available at Amazon.com and on Kindle
“I’ve discovered the secret of life,” Kay Thompson, the eccentric entertainer and “Eloise” author, once said. “A lot of hard work, a lot of sense of humor, a lot of joy and a lot of tra-la-la!” And that's been my life: As a travel writer for over 30 years, I've been around the block (more like around the world), and I write true stories about interesting people and places. (Check out my travel site, Travels With Lea.) I've lived an unconventional life in conventional trappings. Been a corporate VP, worked with foster kids, acted in an Indie ("Nurse 1"), was on Jeopardy!. I've been managing editor of a travel publication, written for the Times, and authored books. OS is my home, but I also blog on The Huffington Post, and I've contributed (mostly anonymously) to everything from encyclopedias to guidebooks. Married young, divorced late; married late, widowed early, I dated lots in-between -- and survived a scary illness. After being happily, peacefully solo for many years, I'm now happily married again. I founded and still edit www.sololady.com, a lifestyle Website for single women. I'm truly grateful for each precious day, each well-earned wrinkle, my family, my cat. Truth, laughter, friendship, late love. And this blog -- on this wonderful site!

Lea Lane's Links

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 10, 2009 3:39PM

A New York City Child's Daily Walk of Remembrance

Rate: 40 Flag


The little girl above is my granddaughter, Sabrina Rose. For the past three years,  five days a week, her 15-minute walk to and from pre-school in the West Village in downtown New York offered vivid reminders of 9/11, including the fence behind her in the photo.
Sabrina wasn't born when the tragedy happened, but she's lived her whole life in what would have been the shadows of The World Trade Center. Both her father and her uncle lived downtown on 9/11/01, and had friends who worked in the twin towers.
From his apartment, my son Cary saw the second plane hit, and watched the iconic buildings fall. (His former university classmate, Jeremy Glick, was one of the heros of United 93, who helped cause the plane to crash in a Pennsylvania field, rather than hit a building in Washington, D.C.  Last year I made a pilgrimage to the crash site, and wrote about it here.)
My older son Randall, who had held business meetings in the World Trade Center just days before the attack, volunteered at Ground Zero in the days after, offering food to firefighters and other workers in the sulphurous, burning rubble.
Sabrina's school is right next door to FDNY Squad 18, with its proudly painted firehouse doors. The firefighters are good neighbors to the  preschoolers and invite them to sit in the firetrucks.

firehouse door
That Greenwich Village firehouse lost seven firefighters on 9/11.
firehouse names
On a memorial plaque at the firehouse, a line by poet Walt Whitman, from Song of Myself  says: "They have cleared the beams away, they tenderly Lift me forth." 
firestation plaque
Between the school and firehouse, and Sabrina's apartment, is  St. Vincent's Hospital.  Firefighters treated at the hospital after the initial attack returned  to the WTC site only to be killed when the  towers collapsed. Walls of the hospital displayed photos and information in the weeks after 9/11, placed by people who hoped against hope that their loved ones were lost, not killed.
The link fence across the street at a parking lot now displays hundreds of tiles, created by individuals and groups, children and artists from around the world. In their simplicity and variety the tiles are haunting, and I have photographed many of them over the years.
Tiles for America has remained a people's memorial for eight years, a testament to those who lost their lives in the towers that once loomed dramatically above this fence. The tiles  ensure that Sabrina and others who walk by this corner will not forget 9/11 --  on this day of remembrance, or on any day. 

tile fence


Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
In memory of all who died that day, and their loved ones.
You honor them well, Lea. These 9/11 posts are hard for me to read but yours has a respectful distance to it and I like your photo choices. I especially like the pic of the firehouse doors.

And your granddaughter is an angel (she looks just like you, too).
Thanks Chuck. This one is seen through Sabrina's eyes.

dharma, when you pass the tiles and the firehouse maybe hundreds of times, the reality sinks in slowly and steadily. New Yorkers live with it.
And you know I've been told Sabrina and I look alike, but for the first time, side by side, I see it a bit myself, in the smile. Quite thrilling for me actually, as she is a lovely little girl.
A perfect tribute, Lea. Personal, universal, muted horror mitigated by loving, respectful remembrances. Your words and pictures show us the past, the present and--especially through your beautiful grandchild--the future. Thank you.
Your granddaughter is a real cutie.

A beautiful loving tribute Lea. I love your family's story in this. I have great hope that Sabrina will grow to be like her lovely grandmother. Thanks you for telling this story on this anniversary. xo
Beautiful piece, Lea.These remembrances that Sabrina passes each day are remarkable, so full of love and honor for those who lost their lives and those who helped.

And I agree that your granddaughter looks a lot like you. Lucky girl!
Sally, you know how much family means. And omigod what cogent and generous comments you constantly make. Thank you.

LittleW, I think that too, but so nice to hear it from someone outside the family.

Gwen, Barry and Maria, I appreciate your kind words and the fact that you understand the simplicity and beauty of these "real" memorials. (And Gwen, thanks for stopping by my previous post.)
Lea, this was a wonderful tribute. I had not heard of the tile memorial. How great! And that precious grandgirl DOES look like her gorgeous grandma!
Thank you for this unusual point of view on a day we will all remember in our unusual ways. Remembering the victims, and the survivors.
A very fine tribute, Lea. My heart goes out to all of them. It is a reminder that we live in a cold and cruel world at times. Hug your kids and love your loved ones each day. Let those you care about know you care. Live each day, but know that the future is always uncertain. I can't imagine anyone not being changed that day. I know that I was. Be well, Lea.
Simple and beautiful, as many important things are.
Lea, your family truly was in the thick of things on that horrible day. I can't imagine what it was like for your son to witness the downfall of the buildings. And your beautiful granddaughter...wonderful tribute and pictures. Thank you.
Harvey, "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it."

fab, the tiles are so humble and the fence surrounds a Municipal Transit Authority Parking Lot. Not a beautiful setting, but the spontaneity of the art and the fact it has endured for years, speaks to the heart.

Yes Deborah, it's hard to believe but many children were not born in '01 and only know about the tragedy through memorials and remembrances.

Michael, beautiful and true thoughts. Live each day to the fullest.

Owl, you are so wise, and that's not just a pun.
A loving reminder helping us to see that our connections are close and numerous.....even into the future...
I'm so relieved Cary was far enough away to be safe...
Beautiful tribute Lea. It is still amazing and sad to me that our children, your grand daughter, will never know the pre-9/11 world.
This is a wonderful post and tribute to those we lost that day, Lea.

My feelings about 9/11/01 are so complicated. I would give tribute to the bravest who tried to help those trapped inside, and those who treated the injured. To those who lost family members and to those who watched the towers destroyed in person. I would not wish to deny, diminish, or dishonor any of their feelings, or any of the love they feel toward those who lost.

For me, what I regret almost more than the event itself, which appeared to bring out the best in America, was the political aftermath, which brought out the worst. What else would one expect of fear and anger? I will always regret that 9/11/01 gave George Bush so much political capital and for a short time, credibility to do so much damage to our nation. That so many were so ready to allow him do what he wanted. And now we seem to be in a vast vat of *&%$ morally and financially because of it. And those who said "Hang on, Invading Iraq is not so smart--" were promptly accused of "hating America" and had "9/11" crammed down our throats yet again.

And the final insult is, Osama bin Laden has yet to pay for what happened that day. His family was hustled out of this country without even being questioned while the no-fly rule was still enforced.

And if it hadn't been for The Jersey Girls, the 9/11 commission and the commission's report, would never have seen the light of day. For all that, serious unanswered questions remain about what really happened that day.

All of which ticks me off.
Beautiful tribute Lea. Just the right note. Thank you.
Very powerful, Lea. Thank you.
my oldest daughter was actually due on 9/11/02 and I know it may come off as a little bit shelfish but i thank god e3veryday that she cameso early...no one should have a sad day like that associated with their birthday which is supposed to be a happy day.
Though I would love to walk her to school some day..
Beautiful post, Lea, happily rated.
Mary, Barking, Roy, LandP, Kelly, Floyd and Kathy, thank you for understanding this.


Gary, since you know Cary, you probably would guess that after he saw the tower go he headed uptown as fast as he could get there.

Shiral, yes there is so much yet to be ticked off about. One other thing is that the memorial is not even close to being completed in the next years.

Barbara Anne, I can certainly understand not wanting your daughter born on that day. Oh my.
What a darling little one! Such a light in the world.

Thank you for this.
Beautiful. This actually reminds me of the Oklahoma City bombing.
I watched from afar, but you have brought me into the neighborhood and given me a taste of it. Thank you. And yes, you and she have a certain spark of life. The firefighters must adore her. We all do.
Forot to mention this: Your granddaughter is adorable. =o)

And I love the way the firefighters who died that day have been honored by their colleagues.
This was hauntingly beautiful how you framed the tragedy and horror around the innocence your grand daughter....
This is a wonderful way to commemorate this day Lea. It is in those small details that we can see the reach of 9/11 stretching across the world, finding a warm embrace against the emptiness it left us to heal.
Thank you, Lea.

Dharma said it best, so I'll just say thanks and leave it at that.
Beautiful. Thank you for this!

My daughter was born in 2004 and I still think about when I am going to tell her the story of her parents being there in NYC that day. It's still too heavy...
Thanks recent commentors for the kind words. This year, commemorating together, seems more meaningful and has increased our bonding, I do think.
I love how our individual stories are woven in and out of this shared history. My own "walk" is one in which I discovered both my growing hatred-- and my intense love--for this country. http://kellysalasin.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/for-love-of-my-country/
I love how our individual stories are woven in and out of this shared history. My own "walk" is one in which I discovered both my growing hatred-- and my intense love--for this country.
Beautiful Lea, so sweet, thank you.
I'm glad to know the firefighters' plaque quotes "Song of Myself." Thank you for the post. HB