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Remembering September 11

Article - Sunday, September 11, 2011
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.

Real Simple Magazine, September 2011

Photo by Gareth McConnell

“I Wear a Bracelet With My Brother’s Name on It.”

Devita Bishundat | 27 | Washington, D.C.
Her brother, Kris Romeo Bishundat, 23, an information technician, second class, in the U.S. Navy, died in the attack on the Pentagon.

For six months prior to September 11, Romeo lived on a ship. He was so happy when he got transferred to the Pentagon in May 2001; he would be close to my parents, my sister, and me. We were thrilled, too. We thought he would be safe. Romeo died in the attacks just three days before his 24th birthday.

Afterward my sister and I ordered silver bracelets for everyone in our family. They had Romeo’s name engraved on them, along with the words NAVY and PENTAGON. I wear my bracelet constantly. I sleep with it and even shower with it. It calms me.

Romeo would have turned 34 this September. Every year, his family and friends come together to celebrate his birthday. We share memories about how much he loved his Jeep, about his high school graduation party, about how much he loved to surf. I imagine telling him about my life, too.

Last April, my sister got married. I was her maid of honor. It was a beautiful ceremony, but also painful. If Romeo had been at the reception, he would have cracked a joke or made a funny speech. Everyone would have laughed. Instead my father raised his glass to Romeo—and the room went silent.

To read the other nine stories, click here.