The Magazine

A Year of Firsts and Lasts

From the September 16, 2002 issue: Edlene LaFrance remembers her husband, murdered by Mohamed Atta.

Sep 16, 2002, Vol. 8, No. 01 • By MATT LABASH
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After hours of conversation, we set off for the train station on foot, strolling through her neighborhood in a late summer half-light. Another 30 minutes, she says, and she wouldn't be out on these streets. At first, I think she means because they're crime-ridden. But no. "That was the time me and Alan always walked together," she explains. As she says this, I nod understandingly. But I can't understand. Not really. We have all grown rather possessive of September 11, taking it out, reexamining it when it suits us, making it mean what we want it to mean. Edlene doesn't have that luxury. I want to make it easier for her, but that can't be done, so I hold my tongue. She thanks me for listening, and I nod some more, as she puts me on a train that will take me back to my wife and son.

Matt Labash is senior writer at The Weekly Standard.