Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Seeing for Miles

Roko Camaj spent the final twenty-seven years of his life on the outside looking in at the World Trade Center.  He was a window washer at the Twin Towers.  At the time of his death on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, he worked for ABM, the building maintenance contractor at the site.  Mr. Camaj was sixty years old. 

His career at the Twin Towers was so lengthy that he was in the building on that cold day in February 1993 when terrorists attacked it for the first time.  He called his wife and children and told them that he would not be coming home for a while that day.  He had been on the 107th floor when the attack occurred and by the time he made it down those many, many flights of stairs - and into fresh air - his skin was blackened by smoke.  He did not want to frighten his family by allowing them to see him as he looked so he did not head home for the evening until he had cleaned himself up and had calmed himself down at least a little.  And of course he went back to work the very next day.  http://longisland.newsday.com/911-anniversary/victims/Roko-Camaj.

On the final morning of his life, Mr. Camaj was in the South Tower (Tower Two) when the second plane struck it at 9:03 AM.  He called home to tell his wife that he and several hundred other people were on the 105th floor of the South Tower awaiting evacuation.  He told her not to worry and that he and all of those who were with him "were in God's hands".  

Mr. Camaj was well-regarded for his incredible work ethic and for his love of his family.  He had just returned to work from a well-deserved vacation to Montenegro, Albania where he spent time - in his boyhood homeland - with his four brothers, each of whom had done as he had done and headed out far and wide to make a better life for himself and for his family.  http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/21/national/portraits/POG-21CAMAJ.html.

Sadly, Mr. Camaj's remains were never recovered from Ground Zero.  But they do, at the very least, have this:

...and we do too. 


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