Learn more about my latest book – All In: Why Belonging to the Catholic Church Matters. Available now!

Remembering 9/11: a tribute to Yolanda, a tour of the Memorial in NYC, and a call to service

Remembering 9/11: a tribute to Yolanda, a tour of the Memorial in NYC, and a call to service

Many of us remember where we were 14 years ago today.

I’ve written about it before here, and here, and here and here and elsewhere.

Today, among the others my extended family knows who died that day, I’d like to focus on one person that we lost.

My mom’s friend, Yolanda Dowling, as my mother tells it, was excited to get a job more local to her home on Long Island. She went into the World Trade Center that morning for what should have been her last day on the job. It was her last day on the planet.

Mary Yolanda Dowling July 22, 1955–September 11, 2001

Mary Yolanda Dowling
July 22, 1955–September 11, 2001

Let us pray for her soul, and all those who mourn her, and all those who mourn this day.


That space in lower Manhattan is holy ground, and Pope Francis is set to visit it for a prayer service on September 25.  The memorial also recalls those lost in Washington DC and in Shanksville, PA.

I’ve yet to be able to make a visit to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. But I’ve benefitted from seeing the memorial site online.

You can do an over-view tour of it here. 

And here’s a short 10 retrospective of the building of the Memorial.

The 9/11 Memorial has its own YouTube channel and there are plenty more videos there to explore.


Finally, there are many people who want to remember 9/11 with a day of service. Being a volunteer in the community is a positive thing. There are many good ideas here. Of course, you don’t just have to volunteer today, you can do it anytime.

Banner photo is a screenshot of what Yolanda’s name looks like on the Memorial Wall,  from here. 

On the Road in Wayne County

On the Road in Wayne County

I’m staying with my parents due to my mother’s long hospital stay and her subsequent recovery in a nursing home for rehab. As I travel through the local countryside, I’m pining for a better camera beyond my iPhone 4s. In recent weeks, I’ve been getting to know the highways and byways of this area and taking many photos of this landscape.

Over a dozen years ago, my folks, Jim and Cathy, transplanted themselves from cacophony of downstate Long Island (one of the most densely populated regions of the USA) to the upstate quietude of Wayne County, New York. Situated on the shore of the great Lake Ontario on its northern border, between Rochester to the west and Syracuse to the east, it’s got a varied history as the Erie Canal runs along its southern edge.

My daily drive to the nursing home takes me through farm and orchard country — especially apple orchards. Driving through the backroads, I spy many family farms and commercial growers, Amish and Mennonite homes and farms too. It’s a lot different than the country lanes I usually zip through in New England. 





























Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain. — James 5: 7





















A few pics from around my parents’ yard…














My Dad's old truck.

My Dad’s old truck.



This is Lilly.




"Good dog."

“Good dog.”

The F.U.N. Quotient… Our local accents, or how what we say shows where we’re from!

This is a fabulous study! As a New York native transplanted to the greater Boston area… I came with a wikkid accent and I’ve also acquired one too. Here’s a few pictorials about linguistics in this country… but by all means, read them all!

Here’s two that represents a quirk or two about where I’ve lived and where I’m living now… (click on these charts to make the larger!)

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 11.34.57 PM Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 11.35.13 PM


Now, go read the rest!