Happy Birthday, Bruce!


As I write this it is still July 24 in New York but I am on a plane to Japan and have flown over the international date line so it is July 25 in my part of the world. July 25 would have been Bruce’s birthday. There will be a white rose in his name at the National September 11Memorial.

Bruce, you would be so proud of your girls. They say and do things that remind me of you. They have grown into amazing, accomplished and compassionate young woman. Emily just finished her second Master’s degree and works for the University of Washington. You would enjoy visiting coffee houses with her and Scott. And you would have probably talked them into a hike of the mountains in the Seattle area. Meghan is a medical social worker and also has a Master’s degree. She and Kyle enjoy kayaking and you would have a good time hiking in PA as well.

As I reflect on our life together, I can echo our last conversation. Do you remember what you said as you got ready for work on Sunday September 9? You said “I am so blessed.” And I asked “why?” You responded “I am married to Miss Ann. We have two great girls. And we had a wonderful summer.” I am proud and very grateful that I was married to Bruce Van Hine. I wish it had been for longer than the 21 years we had. We do have two amazing daughters who have married two wonderful men. And life has been good. Many things have changed since 2001 but God has been faithfuI. I miss you. I love you. And I will see you again. “Happy Birthday, Bruce”

20140726-064351-24231379.jpg FYI: this morning the Memorial send me this photo.


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244Tomorrow morning I travel to Japan as a member of the "3rd International Outreach Program for School Children and Community Survivors of 3/11 Great East Japan Disasters". Amazing!!! Last year I was privileged to represent the 9/11 Tribute Center on the second trip. This trip will be similar as we will visit mental health clinics and temporary housing units, attend Rotary Club dinners/receptions, visit a school for the deaf in Koriyama and have a photo-op at the "Soaring Crane" Memorial in Kaiseizan Park. Even though some of the places we visit will be the same, this won’t be a “repeat” of the last trip. How could it be. It is a year later. Much can and does happen in a year. Things we deem good, things we deem bad and things that seem totally ordinary. I hope to see some of the people I meet last year but I also hope that they are no longer living in temporary housing. I hope those caring for so many people at the mental health clinics have not grown weary. I guess what I hope is that there is HOPE.

Jeanette, fellow Tribute Center traveler and friend, sent me this prayer. It is my prayer for this trip:

Prayer for a Safe Journey

Blessed are You, Lord God, for You have created a wide and wonderful world
in which we can travel.
We ask Your blessing upon us as we are about to leave on this journey.
Be our ever-near companion, our guide of travelers, and spread the road
before us with beauty and adventure.
May all the highways ahead of us be free of harm and evil.
May we be accompanied by your Holy spirit and your angelic messengers, as
were the holy ones of days past.
On this trip may we take with us as part of our traveling equipment a heart
wrapped in wonder with which to rejoice in all that we shall meet.
Along with the clothing of wonder, may be have room in our luggage for a
mystic map by which we can find the invisible meanings of the events of
this journey – of possible disappointments and delays, of possible breakdowns
and rainy day troubles.
Always awake to your Sacred Presence and to Your divine compassionate love,
may we see in all that happens to us, in the beautiful and the bad, the
mystery of Your holy plan.
May your blessing be upon us throughout this trip and bring us home again
in safety and peace.