On Sunday Sep. 15, 2002 people affiliated with different Indian American organizations gathered together at Mechanics Hall, Worcester in a memorial service for the victims of Sep. 11. Teresa Mathai of Arlington, an Indian-American who lost her husband in the terrible attacks on the twin towers and Sally White of North Attleboro, who lost her daughter, attended the event. ``In the aftermath, it was clear what a wonderful community we have,'' said Teresa. Both Sally T. White and Ms Mathai clearly brought out the message, ``I am proud to be an American."
The event featured speakers, poetry reading and dances. Dr. Sahdev Passey, President of the Indo-American Solidarity Day Foundation gave the inaugural address. ”Today and here on we must celebrate the lives of those who died that day. We must celebrate the happiness and joy they brought to the lives of their loved ones,” said Dr. Passey. Ranjani Saigal was the master of ceremonies for the event. “ Solidarity – a word with profound impact is not a slogan of recent origin but is imprinted in the minds of all the citizens of this great land. For us who have made this our home this is our motherland legally and emotionally. We Indian-Americans solemnly pledge to support our country’s effort to fight the evil forces of terrorism,” she said.
The event also solicited contributions to the Massachusetts 9-11 Fund, which Teresa Mathai had started with the help of Boston lawyer Roderick MacLeish Jr. and other partners of his law firm. ``In Massachusetts we needed an umbrella organization to look after the needs of those affected in Massachussets,'' she said. ``We needed to look after our own. This affected 177 families, 80 percent of which lost their wage earners. It would be a place for families to go and tell us what their needs are. It's nice to have a collective voice.''
The cultural part of the evening included two dances conducted under the direction of Ranjani Saigal. “Pushpanjali” dedicated to Mother Earth was performed by Amrita Saigal and Abha Verma. The other item was a creation that presented a unique choreography to a fusion of “America the Beautiful” and Rehman’s "Vande Mataram – Maa Tujhe Salaam”. This powerful choreography performed by the members of Indian Students Association at Tufts University (ISAT) brought a sense of pride for “Mother America.”
Several local senators and congressmen attended the event. U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Worcester, spoke for need to not focus on terrorism in isolation but to look at the root cause of the problem all around the world. He also cited the contributions of Indian-Americans in business, science, medicine and education. ``Our society is a richer place because of your contributions. In the aftermath of that tragedy we have seen intolerance against people of your community and of Middle Eastern descent. This community as a whole rallied against that intolerance. We need to make the world a less intolerant place. We need to address poverty, hunger and human rights.''
State Sen. Guy W. Glodis, D-Auburn, cited Indian contributions towards science, technology and entrepreneurship and urged those present to become more involved in the political process. ``You are a proud and distinguished people,'' he said. ``I would challenge you to leave your mark politically. There are no statewide or locally elected Indians. It should not and cannot be dictated by one’s ethnic background. Today is a time to remember, but also to celebrate. Values such as freedom, liberty and democracy are shared. India is the largest democracy on the face of the planet,” said Senator Glodis.
Dr Niranjan Dudani and Dr. Onaly Kapasi read poems written in the aftermath of the tragedy. A letter sent to the Indian community by President George Bush was read out by Mrs Ragini Seth, Secretary of the Indian American foundation. She was also responsible for the tasteful decorations and settings that brought the right ambience for the event. Dr. Janine Saldana, former President of the Indian American forum for Political Education described the event in a nutshell with these words “The memorial service was very touching. It hit all the notes of remembrance, sorrow, celebration and above all, of unity with America.”
PRANAAM - ODE TO SEPTEMBER 11 HEROES
Youthful victims of many nationality,
You may also access this article through our web-site http://www.lokvani.com/
Ms Teresa Mathai
Ms. Sally T. White
Students of ISAT
|Home | About Us | Contact Us | Copyrights Help|