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Posted at 07:55 AM ET, 09/07/2011

Floyd, Rhonda and Brenda: A 9/11 love story

Thus Sunday the Post publishes 9 stories of lives altered by the events of 9/11. Here’s my story, about a man named Floyd Rasmussen. Please read when you have the chance. Great portrait photo of Floyd by Bonnie Jo Mount.

Here are the other stories in the package (with several more to come before the end of the week).

As the regulars here know, I write a lot about science, technology, politics — complicated stuff in which the central theme often involves some kind of process, phenomenon, trend, structure, system or convoluted thingamabob in which the ordinary people are not necessarily front and center. I’m not generally a narrative writer. This story was different, though. It wasn’t the story I set out to do. I thought I was going to do a story on the effort to identify the remains of victims at the Pentagon. In the process I stumbled upon Floyd’s story.

A reporter should follow the story wherever it leads. Don’t cram it into a pre-existing thesis. Keep your eyes open: You’ll be surprised.

Here’s what my story didn’t get around to saying directly: It is very painful for Floyd to talk about 9/11. The fact that he did so on behalf of the Post’s readers showed a great deal of courage.

He and Brenda were open, honest, direct. They answered every question I asked, and did not flinch when we discussed some hard issues. They didn’t put a gloss on anything.

I thank Floyd and Brenda for sharing witih me and with the Post’s readers their powerful story.

Time does not, in fact, heal all wounds. Some wounds are too deep. But I hope the Rasmussens — who are coming to the Pentagon ceremonies this weekend — can obtain some solace from knowing that a lot of us can now understand to some degree their pain and their struggle.

This is a love story. It’s about what love can do to, and how strong it can be.

By  |  07:55 AM ET, 09/07/2011

 
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