Remembering September 11

One decade after the attacks of September 11, 2001, 10 people pay tribute to loved ones lost and share the unique, enduring ways in which they celebrate their lives.

Photo by Gareth McConnell

“I Meditate Every Morning About How I Can Make the World a Better Place.”

Ann Douglas | 68 | Bear Island, Meredith, New Hampshire
Her son, Frederick John Cox, 27, an associate at the investment-banking firm Sandler O’Neill + Partners, died in the collapse of the World Trade Center’s Tower Two.

As the sun rises and lights up Lake Winnipesaukee right outside my house, I do a meditation to honor my son as well as all the 9/11 victims and their families. I often look out my bedroom window toward the giant hemlock where Freddy hung a swing as a boy. It’s still there, alongside a hammock he put up in his 20s and a plaque he hammered to the trunk that reads, “Do what you love, love what you do.” That was Freddy’s mantra. And it has become mine, too.

I’m retired now, but I started meditating in my 40s, while I was still working as a teacher. The practice meant more to me, however, after Freddy died. It quieted my mind and helped me heal the hole in my heart. I also started a foundation in my son’s memory called Betta Place Inc. (, which promotes quiet time and conflict resolution for children. I believe that if we can teach kids to think happy, peaceful thoughts, the world will improve.

Freddy always celebrated the moment: He was a loving man to me, his father, his stepfather, and his two older sisters. For Mother’s Day in 2001, he gave me a heart-shaped Tiffany key chain engraved MOM + FREDDY and a note that said, “Mother darling, to the most wonderful person in my life. I love you.” When I look at Freddy’s swing and hammock, it makes me feel connected to his spirit, which I believe is still with us. I see it everywhere. Recently I saw a black butterfly with yellow markings that looked like a smile—as always, I thought of him.