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1 of the 2996

1 of the 2996

September 10, 2006

All of the accounts that I read of September 11, 2001 start off stating the weather. The beautiful blue skyed day. A day that seemed too beautiful for something bad to happen. A day where the weather and the events that were to occur seems incongruous. Since I live right outside of NYC, I remember the weather too. I also remember the absolute still quiet outside. No planes flew overhead that day. No children were running around screaming in their yards. It was eerie. And I remember standing in the middle of my backyard and just looking up into the sky and thinking, ‘Why?’


It was a day that started out like any other for 2996 people and their families.

David E. Rivers

Including David E. Rivers.

I didn’t know David. I don’t know his family. I don’t really know anything about him other than what I could google about him.

He was a son, a brother, a husband and a father.

He was scheduled to give a seminar on the 106th floor of the North tower at Windows on the World on September 11 and 12. He did not ordinarily work at the World trade Center.

David Rivers was the key editorial person in New York for Risk Waters’ publications, and a man widely respected by everyone involved in financial IT. Married 17 years, he had a five-year-old son and a wife, Ricky, who was big in the world of fashion. They lived in the Village on Fifth Avenue. By all accounts she was the one who kept him well dressed.

According to Dennis Waters, the founder of Waters Informational Services, David was not shy about laughing. What a great quality to have.

At a movie party in TriBeCa 18 years ago, Ricky Vider Rivers met her future husband, David, a newcomer to New York by way of Massachusetts. Within three weeks, the two had moved in; they’d been together since.

“He was my soul mate, my best friend, my everything,” said Mrs. Rivers, a fashion editor. “And I can’t believe we won’t see him again.”

Mr. Rivers, 40, was editorial director at Risk Waters Group, a financial technology company that was sponsoring a conference at Windows on The World on Sept. 11. After the first plane hit, Mr. Rivers called his wife, who had forgotten that he was in the building. “I’m just hoping he was calm in that storm, standing there on the top of the building,” she said.

Last weekend, the family held a memorial service for Mr. Rivers on Martha’s Vineyard, a treasured place where he spent summers as a boy and later as a husband and father. “We put a box in the ground with a key to the beach in it,” Mrs. Rivers said. “Because that’s all we have left.”

She continued: “Our son James, who is 5 years old, asks ‘Why did Daddy have to be there that day?’ And I can’t answer him.”

I think of my own five year old son who I just wrote about a few days ago. And then I think of my ten year old son who was five on September 11, 2001. And I am at a loss for words. There aren’t any that can express the magnitude of my sorrow for his family.

While we lost so much as a nation, David’s wife and son lost him, an individual person who was irreplaceable in their lives.

I don’t know why either, James.

I am no one special. I have certainly never done anything remotely heroic in my life. But what I can do is write. And today I write about David Rivers. One person I will never forget. One face to humanize a tragedy.

I hope that I do his life justice.

James, I won’t forget your father. When I go to Martha’s Vineyard and walk on the beach I will think of him. When I feel the sand between my toes and the salty waves splash up onto legs, I will think of him. And though I have never listened to Emmylou Harris, I did today.

David also brought a distinctive style to the content and design of his publications, particularly Waters. To him, the magazine’s graphic design set it apart from its competitors as much as its content did. We all learned a lot from him – not just about this industry but what it means to be a journalist. He certainly set an example. David spent many weekends tapping furiously on his laptop while listening to Emmylou Harris or Chocolate Genius. It’s a sound – and a presence – we deeply miss.

1 of the 2996

When I saw this photo on one of the many websites I visited I thought here is a person who loved life, who loved to laugh, who was surrounded by friends.

I have written and rewritten this, trying to find the right words. In the end I decided to edit out most of his career resume. I realized what made him special is the same thing that makes all of us special. We love and we are loved.

So sweep for the sons
And the dear darling daughters
For the passing of time
And the parting of waters
For all who have passed through
This world long before me
To a far distant shore line
Where no one waits for me
But I cried a river
A river for him
That’s deeper and wider
Than I’ll ever swim
The heart it will harden
The sorrow will dim
But I cried a river
A river for him

–Emmylou Harris

Posted by Chris @ 11:26 pm  

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  1. jennifer g. says:

    I just finished watching the documentary that was shot by two brothers tagging along with a fire company that miraculously suffered no losses. One of them was actually in the lobby of Tower One when Tower Two came down. I cried through the entire thing.

    I’ll never forget that morning, turning on the television and feeling annoyed that Oprah was being preempted, until I realized what was happening. While I watched, the second plane flew into the second tower. I ended up sitting on the floor in front of the TV all day with my 10-month-old son, praying that nothing else would happen, grateful that we were so far away from ground zero.

    You wrote a lovely tribute to someone you don’t know any better than I do. Now I feel acquainted with one of the 2996. Thank you.

  2. Aubri says:

    I cannot seem to swallow the lump in my throat. I grew up with a daddy who adored Emmylou Harris… I too remember seeing the second plane hitting the tower, and just staring at the TV in shock.

    Thank you Chris, for your loving tribute to one of the 2996. I hope his family finds this and is touched.

  3. Wooden Porch says:

    Beautiful post. Thank you for the work you put into this one.

    I was personally touched on Sept 11th. My very own brother in law.

  4. Steph. says:

    What a beautiful tribute you’ve written here. One of the favorite ones I have read…

  5. kate says:

    Oh that post had me in tears. David sounds like he was an incredible man that is missed by many. I will never understand why so much hatred occurs in our world.

  6. biz says:

    Such a lovely tribute to Mr. Rivers.
    I can not and will not watch any media on 9/11 - but am thankful for such rememberances as this.

  7. Maddy says:

    Lest we forget.

  8. my 2 cents says:

    A beautiful tribute. He sounds like a wonderful man.

  9. Libargirl says:

    A beautiful tribute to one of way to many

  10. onetallmomma says:

    Chris, that was a beautiful tribute.

    I, too, struggled as I wrote a tribute for a victim of 9/11. But it helped me put a face on the faceless. It gave me one whom it could mourn among the many.

  11. Bre says:

    What a lovely tribute! I spent yesterday filled with anxiety, alternating between crying and sleeping because I knew I’d have to think about what happened again today. Tributes like this make is so that I can focus on love and not on terror.

  12. Mom of all Seasons says:


  13. Nicki says:


  14. Courtney says:

    That was beautiful, Chris.

  15. Kellie says:

    What a beautiful tribute on such a sad day.

  16. Meg says:


  17. Katie says:

    Thanks Chris. I saw the project and I couldn’t mentally do it. Your tribute is perfect.

  18. Susan says:

    That’s so lovely, Chris.

  19. Sus says:

    Thank you Chris. As always, you got it just right.

  20. Erika says:

    a beautiful depiction. Such a sad day.
    Remember 9-11

    I remember where I was, I was in College. I was early for a CAD class and was working when someone was talking about a plane hitting one of the towers, we turned on the radio (WXLO) and listened. As they started talking about hyjackings we all raced over to the Cafeteria (media room) with the big screen and just sat in horror as the second plane hit. Then we all sat there all day. It was horrid.
    Thanks for making me remember

  21. Shannon says:

    I hadn’t heard about this project until I read your post. I went looking for the tribute to a classmate of mine and found two. Both show a picture of John and his niece, but identify the little girl as his daughter. One mentions his wife, but he wasn’t married. Thank you for doing such a thoughtful and accurate job with your remembrance.

  22. Trina says:

    This was a beautiful tribute. We just watched the movie about the towers. It was very difficult to watch, but I reminded myself that this is only a MOVIE for ME. How awful for all those families.

    I have been a lurker on your blog for a long time actually. I have had you listed on my sidebar, but it is still under “Big Yellow House”….lol That’s because I am too lazy to change it, and I guess it makes me happy…hehehe Maybe that’s just the Mommy coming out in me. The big blue house for the kids, and the big yellow house for mom. lol

    Anyway, I have really enjoyed your blog. Your latest post about your boys and the destruction actually made me giggle out loud. Its all so true in my house as well! Have a great day!

  23. Danielle says:

    Chris, you did a great job.

  24. Lori says:

    You have put into words what so many feel.
    Thank you for taking the time to find out about David.
    That was special.

  25. Robbin says:

    So very touching. You did a great job. I pray that somehow his family sees that one amazing lady has not forgotten their love.

  26. Lynette says:

    Very nice. Thank you.

  27. Melanie says:

    Beautiful tribute. I linked to this post on my blog today.

  28. Jess says:

    Wonderful tribute.

  29. T in HD says:

    I was napping with my baby boy when the first plane hit. It was early evening here in Germany and my husband woke me with his phone call on the way home from work. He’d heard about a plane hitting one of the towers on the radio. It was all fuzzy. I remember thinking “how awful that someone could make such a terrible mistake”. I had no idea the true nature of the events that were unfolding. We turned on the television and watched as the terrible events happened. I’d gone to bed late that afternoon to snuggle with my nursling and all was right in my world. When we woke, that had all changed forever.

    Beautiful post, Chris.

  30. Susan says:

    Perfect, Chris. Beautiful.

  31. tpon says:

    Thank you for taking part in this project… I wrote about my husband’s roommate.

    Your post is beautiful. And I know that David’s friends and family appreciate the effort and care that you have taken in remembering thier loved one.

  32. Geggie says:

    Thank you for the tribute, Chris.

    I’ve remembered Nicole Miller of Flight 93.

  33. InterstellarLass says:

    Thank you for remembering him. I’ve remembered Laura Lee Morabito in my tribute.

  34. Jenna says:

    Yes. It was eerily quiet that day.

    Thank you for taking the time to remember David. And for sharing it with us.

  35. kasey says:

    perfect. thank you.

  36. bluepaintred says:

    you said it soooo well. I did my tribute to Matthew Stiletto. I hate the feeling that I did not do his life justice. I will not forget Mastthew, and I told my children all about him. My two year old can now point at his picture and tell me “dat Matewww”, and I think thats what dcroe was trying to do. each blogger was supposed to have a name, learn about them, and remember them.

    you did so well chris

  37. jen3 @ amazing triplets says:

    Good job. That picture you found of David is perfect. I did my tribute to Perry Thompson and it is so hard to hold back the anger at a dad, being deliberately taken forever, from his young children. The tears … five years later, I still can’t hold those back.

  38. nabbalicious says:

    Beautifully written, sweet post, Chris.

  39. Melissa says:

    Beautifully written Chris. You did a great job. I adore that picture of him, I’m sure it does him great justice.

    I tried on mine to tlak about the person (Tommy Kennedy), not the details of death, but the details of life, what he’d probably want remembered. Seems like you did that too and you did it extremly well.

  40. peepnroosmom says:

    Beautiful post. Thank you.

  41. MiddleAmerican Mom says:

    That’s beautiful, Chris — what a wonderful tribute.

  42. Mom101 says:

    Wonderful tribute.

    The sky this morning was, as we call it in NYC, a 9/11 sky. That perfect blue sky. Never thought something like that could inspire such melancholy.

  43. Toni says:

    Beautifully done, Chris.

  44. Heather says:

    This was beautiful, Chris. I dont think I have had a dry eye all day. What a heartfelt tribute to him, beautiful job.

  45. Jamie says:

    This is such a beautifully written tribute. It brought tears to my eyes. You captured it here… “I realized what made him special is the same thing that makes all of us special. We love and we are loved.” Thanks for doing this.

  46. Elizabeth says:

    This was a cool project. It can be so hard to picture the magnitude of events like this, and thinking about just one person - well, hard too, but in a different way.

  47. Joy H says:

    Amazing. Thanks!

  48. Kelp says:

    Well done.
    May we never forget.