Wikipedia defines the September 11 attacks as “a series of coordinated suicide attacks by Al-Qaeda upon the United States on September 11, 2001″.
For the Lugano family it was the day their son Sean died.
This Friday marks the 8th anniversary of this tragic event, and I can’t help but think of the Luganos.
On the website “Friends of Sean Lugano” Sean’s mother Eileen Lugano says “I called him my perfect child.” I only knew Sean as captain of my Rugby Team at Loyola College, and I cannot imagine the hurt their family feels.
When I first met Sean I was a “fair weather” Rugby Player – more interested in the social aspect of the game than the game itself. I had played Football in High School and decided to play Rugby not really for the sport, but for the camaraderie (I missed hanging out with the guys) to paraphrase Shakespeare “For he who sheds his blood with me today shall be my brother”...and shed blood I did – a broken nose, a few concussions and lots of beers later my Rugby Career ended. I headed home back to NY and began working. I’d run into Sean in the city at one of his families bars from time to time (he’d help out bartending in the evening and on weekends when he wasn’t working at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods). I even ran into him once in Stuyvesant town where he grew up once – Sean was all smiles – “HEY DESSI – WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?” …..Sean was by far and away the best player our team had seen in years. He was All American in fact. He wasn’t only the best player; he was also a good guy. I know it sounds cliché’ but this kid was the real deal; genuine, funny, smart, gregarious; raised well. The type of guy that could captain a team of misfit wanna bees on the Rugby pitch to victory and then drink you under the table at the drink up afterward.
I remember being at a service at Xavier where Sean went to High School. I was listening to the list of names of graduates that at that point were only listed as “missing” we were all still numb; shell shocked from the attack; still dealing with our own nightmares of running through the streets on New York. I remember hearing one of his brothers as he hugged a family member saying “I can’t believe this”. That was the thing with Sean. He was so full of life, that it was so difficult to imagine that he was gone.
When September 11th comes this year I won’t be as jumpy as I’ve been on past anniversaries. I think for the first time in a few years, I won’t obsess over the events that day, but I don’t ever want to forget.
Instead I’ll remember Sean.
I’ll remember Sean because it helps to keep that day real. It helps me remember how lucky I am to be alive, and how he cherished every single waking moment of his life. I’ll remember Seanbecause he reminds me that there are thousands of families out there that still hurt more than I can ever imagine. That my cousin Christopher Petraglia (NYPD) saw things that day that no human being should ever have to live with.
I’ll remember Sean because I remember that in an odd way those events brought us all back to zero. We weren’t black or white, Republican or Democrat, we were all human beings. We were in a world of hurt and we found solace in each other. I’ll remember Sean because he brought joy to his friends and family during his short time on this earth.