Monica Iken ironed her wedding dress, preparing to wear it after spending 20 years in a club. Although she has smoothed out every wrinkle, she has not smoothed out the tragedy she represents.
“I think wearing the dress makes a statement,” she said. “That I was married and happy the day he died. And I couldn’t wait to start a family.”
Wearing the dress, she placed flowers and a photo of her wedding on her late husband’s name which is engraved on the side of the reflective pools at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.
Iken was only married for 11 months when her husband, Michael, a bond trader, died in the second round on September 11. It was a brief marriage, but Iken says the loss seems eternal.
“There is no movement, you never move,” she said. “You are moving in. You are entering the life that has been chosen for you.”
I first met Iken four months after September 11. She had already moved into this new life, pleading for a memorial at the site of the Twin Towers. She warned that any other use of the land would be unacceptable. “We honor those lives that have been lost and we don’t build on souls who cry,” she told CBS News in 2002.
George Pataki, who was governor of New York at the time, said it was important to remember that many people don’t think a memorial should be at Ground Zero.
“She was tenacious, relentless,” Pataki said. “People who just said, ‘We have to move on. Just rebuild ”. But Monica said, ‘It was sacred ground.’ A lot of people deserve credit for this, but Monica Iken is definitely one of the most. “
Iken has since remarried and has a family. But she freely admits and has come to accept that she will always be in love with two men. “We can live our lives,” she said, “but still keep this memory.”
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