On February 21, 2008 Joyce Cohen Day wrote the following about her deceased mother, Florence Cohen:
She was a very special person, although she probably didn’t know it. In fact, I know that she didn’t because I am her daughter. She was generous to a fault, and I remarked to the New York Times over six years ago that she was a giver in a world of takers. What I remember best about her is how much she sacrificed for me and how she taught me to care about other people. Moreover, she always encouraged me to pursue my dreams of an education and a career, also supporting me fully when I eschewed the trappings of this world in order to become a Christian missionary in the months before her death. She once said that she was happy if I was happy, and she is one of the few people in the world who actually mean that when they say it. I wish to tell her in heaven that I love her, and I’ll see her somewhere down the line.
Those heartfelt words offer us a glimpse into Florence Cohen, the person. On September 11, 2001 Florence was at work in the offices of offices of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance on the 86th floor of 2 World Trade Center. Florence was 62 years old when she left us. She was one of 2,996 victims who died that day.
There wasn’t a lot I could find out about Florence but she loved to travel and go to the theater. She lived in New York City and one person said that she wanted to see The Producers. That small goal was cut from her on on September 11th. That’s how evil works, it takes away dreams and harms what you love.
We can never know Florence completely but her daughter’s word suggest she was a woman of faith and character. She had unmet dreams that were stolen from here and her family. It’s important that we all remember that the people who died on 9/11 were real people, with families and connected lives. Below is the only photo I could find of Florence.
Florence is an English-French name meaning “To prosper or flourish.” Florence Cohen apparently prospered and flourished in generosity, helpfulness and parenting. Her loss belongs to all of us.
I don’t know how they found or identified Florence, so many were identified through forensic testing, another reminder of the horrors of that day. And while I have often gotten angry over 9/11, I have never truly figured out what I can DO with those emotions. Writing this small tribute to one of the 2,996 victims was something I could do. If you’ d like to write a short tribute to the 9/11 victims, it’s no too late. Please visit http://project2996.wordpress.com to learn how.
Florence Cohen 1938-2001