The Coleman memorial bench sits solidly in our memorial garden-a granite pew in Nature’s sanctuary. It’s a space made sacred by the lasting love of precious memories.
In the center of the bench’s face is the name Coleman. As you face the bench, Keith’s name is on the left: Keith Eugene, August 15, 1967 – September 11, 2001. Scott’s name is on the right: Scott Thomas, June 3, 1970 – September 11, 2001.
The seat of the bench is engraved with words from the Unitarian poet, Emily Dickinson:
Unable are the loved to die – For Love is Immortality
We had our service of dedication of the bench on September 14, beginning with a violin duet. Todd Coleman’s sister-in-law, Julia, and her friend Merideth, played Pachabel’s Canon.
Just as they finished, as if on cue, the rain started, and I said: “On this day two years ago we were in collective shock. We came together to find support, strength and solace in one another’s company. We knew, in a very deep and profound way, that something essential had changed for us as citizens of this nation. Today we have gathered to dedicate this bench in honor of Keith and Scott Coleman, and in memory of all those who died two years ago on September 11, and to those who love them.
“There are 3016 names represented by the two brothers in whose honor thismonument is placed. Hundreds of thousands of names of family members, friends, fellow workers and neighbors could be engraved in stone-a community of grief. Millions of people the world over have been drawn into the circle of love, care and compassion that followed this tragedy. Our purpose today is simply to remember, and in remembering to dedicate ourselves to the work that remains before us: to build a better, safer and saner world. It’s a
task we freely acknowledge cannot be accomplished in our lifetime, but one in which we must feel involved and to which we must dedicate a portion of our time, talent and energy in the days that remain before us.
“May this memorial bench be an invitation to sit in silence or to join others in caring conversation here in our memorial garden. May we each find ways to bring meaning to this memorial in the days and years before us. May this be our blessing, amen.”
Standing on the hill, a natural choir loft, the men’s chorus sang the now-familiar Freedman prayer, in which the chorus says, “May this be our blessing, Amen.”
Neil spoke, lovingly, movingly and meaningfully. Thunder clapped in the distance and the rain poured down on us, as if tears from heaven were cleansing our parched spirits.
Carl Serbell’s trumpet version of Autumn Leaves closed the service, and as if on cue the rain stopped. We moved on, knowing that we have ‘promises to keep, and miles to go.’