September 20, 2021
A woman's life changed forever because of 9/11. The tragic events of that day turned her from a happy newlywed into a grief-ridden widow. This year, she wore her wedding dress to honor his death.
Twenty years ago, Monica Iken lost the love of her life, Michael, a bond trader working in the second tower that went down. For two decades, her white dress has stayed in a box, but in 2021, she decided to blow off the dust and put it on again.
She shared that wearing the dress was making a statement about her life before the tragic attacks. According to Iken, it was a statement that said: "I was happily married the day he died. And I was looking forward to having a family."
HONORING HIS MEMORY
Wiping away her tears, she explained that she wore the dress to honor his memory. While she has since remarried and had a family, the widow expressed that "We can live our lives, but still keep that memory."
Clad in the long white dress, she placed flowers and a photograph from their wedding on the 9/11 Memorial reflecting pools in New York City. Iken was one of the loudest voices when it came time to rebuild the site of the fallen towers.
"THERE IS NO MOVING ON"
She refused to let the city build something new on "hallowed ground." Thanks to people like her, future generations have something physical to look back on and remember the tragic day.
Iken and her husband were married just shy of 1 year when he was killed. Despite this, she stated the loss is everlasting. Iken added: "There is no moving on, you never move on from it. You move in. You move into the life that was chosen for you."
IKEN FOUGHT FOR THE 9/11 MEMORIAL
New York's then-governor George Pataki, in the aftermath of 9/11, described Iken as "tenacious" and "relentless." When people said everyone should move on, she refused to allow anyone to "bulldoze over crying souls."
He added that she deserved a lot of credit for the 9/11 memorial site. It is now a place that prevents people from forgetting those who lost their lives.
THE ONLINE REACTION
Netizens sent out a stream of love for Iken and the various others who still mourn this loss. One user said: "My heart goes out to everyone involved in this terrible tragedy, victims and their families. Never forget."
Another expressed: "So sorry for her tragic loss. She is so beautiful and elegant in her wedding dress!!!" People from around the world said the footage of her in the wedding dress was tough to watch, proving that it certainly made a statement as Iken had hoped.