A heart-breaking outcome shining a bright light on the shameful actions of the U.S. military in WWII era America.

During the early days of the NYC pandemic shutdown in May I distracted myself with my family tree activities on ancestry.com. I checked my messages hoping to hear from unknown relatives as I had submitted DNA in late 2019. To my sheer delight, my father’s 3rd cousin Norah (living in the U.K.) contacted me. She was related to my father through his paternal grandmother, Mary J. Cooney, born in Ireland in 1871. I could not seem to find relatives in Ireland…


It’s been almost 18 years since that Tuesday morning in September of 2001 and, until just recently, I had never identified as a “9/11 survivor”. I carefully painted myself on the fringes of the tragedy, even though I was there.

Whenever I tell people where I live in lower Manhattan, I always get THE question, “were you there on 9/11?” I acknowledge I was — but almost every time the question is posed, the person asking proceeds to tell me where they were and how 9/11 affected them. That’s natural, in terms of how our memories of traumatic events work…

Karen Ann McDermott

Financial Services Technology Marketing Leader. Rescue dog Mom and advocate. NYC resident.

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