Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The girl who can't be forgotten today or ever

It's been five years since I first found her name: Melissa Renée Vincent. This is the girl whose face I saw on "missing" posters everywhere in Hoboken, NJ after 9/11. I never stopped thinking of her, finally googled her, and vowed to never forget her.

Many people remember Melissa, including those like me who never knew her. Since I first wrote about her, I've heard from a sorority sister, a college friend, and a woman whose daughter lives in Melissa's old building and who passes her memorial every day. By all accounts, she was a beautiful person inside and out. 

To honor her memory this year, I've made a donation to Tuesday's Children, a nonprofit founded to help the children of victims that has expanded to assist other communities impacted by violence.

"There is no death, daughter. People die only when we forget them," a mother tells her daughter in Eva Lun, by Isabel Allende.

Melissa Renée Vincent, we will not forget. 


  1. Ellen….
    I was seventeen {years old} seventeen years ago…. May we never forget Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. Every time an airplane flies over our house roof today—which is frequently—I am pausing and remembering the lives who were murdered seventeen years ago.
    ‘Come on up for the risin’, come on up, lay your hands in mine, come on up for the risin’, come on up for the risin’ tonight’…. --Lyrics to ‘The Rising’, written by Bruce Springsteen
    Peace out, Mary Lou

  2. Thanks for this, Ellen. I grew up 20 miles northwest of the city, and watched 9/11 unfold from our town when I was 16 - where unfortunately, we had a number of people who never made it home that day. I went off to college, have worked in the city ever since graduation, and moved to Hoboken 5 years ago. I ride the ferry every day and still can't get over how odd the skyline looks or really wrap my head around that day, even 17 years later.

    I went for a run around Pier A tonight in hopes of shaking this day off, and as I walked past the lit up remembrance columns, I noticed Melissa's was one of the only ones with flowers in front of it. When I googled her name I found your posts, which are incredibly touching, and thought about her and her family the entire walk home.

    My mom still worries about me in the city (even after all this time), and the thought of Melissa not having the chance to say good bye to HER mom really got to me. When I got home, I put a small bouquet together and brought it back for her. I hope she liked them.

    It's wonderful of you to keep up her memory.


Thanks for sharing!

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