Sept. 11 Widows


MARCH 27, 2003 · On Sept. 11, 2001, the plane carrying Lauren Rosenzweig's husband, Phil, flew into the north tower of the World Trade Center, where Ginny Bauer's husband, David, sat preparing for a day of work. But even though these women are victims of the same tragedy, they have come to very different conclusions about what the U.S. government should and should not do in their husbands' names. Bauer believes that her husband's death requires retribution. Rosenzweig isn't so sure. These are their War Diaries.

Lauren Rosenzweig: "My first feeling of how the government should respond was that I wanted the people responsible to be found not for revenge but to prevent any further tragedy. In fact, my biggest fear was that innocent people in Afghanistan might have to be killed for us to find the people that were responsible."

Ginny Bauer: "I didn't expect immediate reaction, but I felt that our government had a responsibility to defend the actions that were taken upon us. And I did have an opportunity, and I was very fortunate, to speak with President Bush directly. And it was very interesting; my 16-year-old son looked at President Bush and asked him to please get rid of Osama bin Laden. And he very passionately looked at my son and promised he would. So I did feel that our government was going to do what they had to do."

Lauren Rosenzweig: "When they showed civilian casualties or told about civilian or American casualties, which some of were from friendly fire, with each person that died, it didn't matter who was killed. Whoever was killed, for me, it was point-by-point watching it was like watching Phil's death all over again."

Ginny Bauer: "What were my feelings when I turned on the television last Wednesday and I saw that we had actually gone to war? I was sorry that we had to do this. And yet I felt that there had to be some type of defense and some type of retribution that we send a message that we cannot tolerate acts like that and we will use whatever force is necessary to do that."

Lauren Rosenzweig: "You know, when it became apparent that we would be going to war, I think my feeling was, and having talked to people that are in the military, that to speak out against the war at this point doesn't help. And they need to really feel there that they are doing the right thing. And I'm afraid, for myself, I won't know until after it's over if we've done the right thing. I wrestle with it constantly. I hardly get any sleep. Watching the actual bombings and battles on the news and seeing the people and the prisoners of war, it does bring back the horror, for me, of September 11th and I do find myself going through symptoms that I had when we first, for example, viewed pictures of Phil's body."

Ginny Bauer: "What would my husband have wanted, whether or not to go to war or not? Oh, there's no question in my mind. He would have said, 'We must go to war.'"

Lauren Rosenzweig: "I ask myself a lot what would Phil have wanted. I don't know what... Phil would have wanted. I don't think Phil would have known. I feel powerless. I can only pray at this point that it has as good an outcome as it can have.