On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers will join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11. Each person will pay tribute to a single victim.
We will honor them by remembering their lives, and not by remembering their murderers.
Richard Avery Aronow
His Dream Was to Start School for Autistic Kids
November 6, 2001
For Richard Aronow the joys of life were simple and basic. They centered around his family and a dream for the future: establishing a school for autistic children like his son.
Aronow, 48, of Mahwah, N.J., was a deputy chief in the legal department of the Port Authority who worked on the 66th floor of the trade center’s Tower One. His wife, Laura Weinberg, said her husband’s remains were finally recovered and identified two weeks ago. The couple had been married nearly 13 years.
“Richard’s deep love for his family governed his life,” his wife said. “He quietly devoted himself to his autistic son and concern for his future.” Their son, William, is 4, and Laura said the couple shared a dream of someday starting a special school staffed by experts in the field, “which could teach Willie and other autistic children.
“Willie began to learn sign language through talented teachers at home this summer,” she said, noting that her husband also started to pick up the skill and knew a number of signing gestures. One day, when her husband was leaving for work, she said, he and Willie both signed their good-byes. “It was heartening to see,” she said.
Aronow earned his undergraduate degree from Columbia College and went on to the University of Texas School of Law in Austin. He spent 18 years working for the Port Authority.
“He was an ethical and knowledgeable lawyer,” his wife said, “He made friends with and coached people on all sides of any deal.” She said he was very proud of his achievements, especially working on regional development projects for the Port Authority.
Aronow also is also survived by his parents, Martin and Grace Aronow, of Williamsburg, Va.; his sister, Vera Aronow, of Nyack, and a brother, Gil Aronow, of Brooklyn.
— Bill Kaufman (Newsday)
November 20, 2001
On the night of Sept. 10, Richard Aronow drove to his first sign language class, but he called his wife when he arrived, disappointed because it had been canceled.
He was there in the hopes of learning ways to better communicate with his 4-year-old son William, who is autistic.
Though the boy has great difficulty with spoken language, he often reached out to his father, who made great efforts to help his son develop, said Laura Weinberg, Aronow’s wife.
“Willie was beginning to learn sign language and would sign to Rich,” Weinberg said.
A student of history with a particular interest in Asia, Aronow, 48, was a world traveler for many years. With his wife and son, he had visited such places as Hong Kong and Thailand.
Though recently they stayed closer to home for the sake of William’s health, they still loved to take trips together, even if just to a nearby park or river, or to the Twin Towers where Aronow worked.
On the morning of Sept. 11, Aronow kissed his wife goodbye as she dozed and left for his job as an attorney for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on the 66th floor of One World Trade Center.
Around 9 that morning, his son saw a flash of the unfolding disaster on television. He walked to his room, looked up to the woman who was watching him and made the sign for sad.
— Rudolph Bush (Chicago Tribune)
On this day, he is in my thoughts, as are his family and all those who were involved in this national tragedy. I hold in the light the rescue workers who toiled round-the-clock to find survivors and ultimately gather the remains of those who died, the families who wandered the streets, putting up posters, searching desperately for their loved ones and the hospital employees who attended to the wounded and dying in NYC, Washington and Pennsylvania. I think about the passengers on board United Flight 93 who tried with all their might to save themselves and others. And of course, I think of all those who lost loved ones who have had to put their lives back together and move forward in the last five years.
I honor all these individuals, living and deceased, who were involved in this tragedy in the most personal of ways. One of the ways I do this is to write about it and send loving vibrations out into the world. Another way is to continue to fight for a voice in our government so that this will not happen again.
Please take a moment and hold Richard and ALL those who lost their lives in this tragedy in your thoughts. Send their families a thought bubble of love and peace. And then send it out to the world. It sure needs it.
I wish all of you peace and love on this day.