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My son got his name on 9/11
September 11, 2013 - Stephen Browne
It seems 9/11 is one generations defining memory, as in "Where were you when you heard about...?"
For my generation it was the assassination of President Kennedy. (Seventh grade home room.)
For my parents generation it was Pearl Harbor.
But 9/11 for me will always be the day my son got his name.
Actually his name had been kicking around for a while. I was living in Poland then and his mother wanted "Jerzy" for an uncle she liked. I suggested "Jerzy Waszyngton" - that's George Washington in Polish, as a joke.
We were by the way, living not far from "Rondo Jerzego Waszyngtona" at the time. That's the George Washington traffic circle which has a bust of Washington nearby.
Then one day, a few weeks before our son was due to arrive my then-sister-in-law called up and said, "Turn on CNN right now."
We turned the TV on and saw the first tower smoking.
I said, "It could be an accident, this once happened to the Empire State Building."
(On July 25, 1945 to be exact. A B-25 Mitchell bomber hit it.)
Then we saw the second plane hit the other tower.
"It's terrorism," I said.
That's when it was no longer a joke for me. I vowed that my son would be named for a man of rigid honor and inflexible purpose who led his country through its greatest crises.
The tragic irony of it all was, not long before I had lectured at the Ethnographic Museum of Belgrade in Serbia on "Weapons Technology and Culture." In my presentation I pointed out that an airplane with a pilot willing to die is a cruise missile.
It gave me no pleasure at all to be proven right.
At any rate, that's how my son got his name. We had a fair amount of difficulty getting his name registered because many European countries have laws about what you can name your children.
I told that story here: http://www.stephenwbrowne.com/2007/07/how-my-son-got-his-name/
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