Manuel Emilio Mejia: The 1624th Name

The Cinch Review

Brooklyn Bridge, Twin Towers

Yesterday, it was reported that another victim of the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center by Islamic jihadists was positively identified, seven and a half years after his death:

The city medical examiner’s office says 54-year-old Manuel Emilio Mejia has been identified from remains found at the World Trade Center site in the months after the 2001 terrorist attack.

Mejia was a kitchen worker at Windows on the World, the restaurant on top of the trade center’s north tower.

Manuel Emilio Mejia was the 1,624th victim to be identified. More than 1,100 others still have not been positively identified.

It’s not easy to find information on Mr. Mejia, other than that he was a 54 year-old man, an immigrant from — I believe — Ecuador [correction: he was Dominican, according to the comment left below], and he worked in the kitchen at that Windows on the World restaurant, in the north tower of the World Trade Center. (A little bit about Windows on the World is at this link.) Although tributes to many of the victims are easy enough to find online, I can’t find anything personalized to Mr. Mejia: no photographs, no written remembrances. I wouldn’t assume from this that no one misses him. I can’t say. It seems very plausible that his loved ones are not the kind of people who spend a lot of time doing things on the internet.

My wife and I had a drink a couple of times at Windows on the World. It wasn’t really our bag; too expensive, basically. We assumed the food was priced at a big premium due to the unique location. But having a drink there, at the top of the world, was a kick, as I’m sure it was for countless other people. The Twin Towers were not what I’d call grand architecture, but they certainly filled their space, and gave work to Manuel Emilio Mejia and so many others. They were never so present in my consciousness as in the days after the attack, when the smell of the smoldering ruins, the grave of thousands of innocent people, swept up through Manhattan.

Also yesterday, it was reported that a jury had found that Ward Churchill was wrongfully terminated from his position as a professor at the University of Colorado.

The Denver jury awarded him just $1 in damages. A judge will decide later whether he gets his job back, reports the AP. […] The professor had claimed he was fired for exercising his free speech rights; the university had claimed that it was not about his views on Sept. 11 victims but that he had engaged in faulty and dishonest research. The jury today decided his firing was indeed about the contents of his essay.

In the essay, published one day after the attacks but widely disseminated years later, Churchill called those killed in WTC “little Eichmanns,” referring to the Nazi bureaucrat who ran the Holocaust machinery.

Adolf Eichmann has been described as the “architect of the Holocaust.” From this online biography:

Eichmann took a keen interest in Auschwitz from its founding and visited there on numerous occasions. He helped Höss select the site for the gas chambers, approved the use of Zyklon-B, and witnessed the extermination process.

At the death camps, all belongings were taken from Jews and processed. Wedding rings, eye glasses, shoes, gold fillings, clothing and even hair shaven from women served to enrich the SS, with the proceeds funneled into secret Reichsbank accounts.

With boundless enthusiasm for his task and fanatical efficiency, Eichmann travelled throughout the Reich coordinating the Final Solution, insuring a steady supply of trainloads of Jews to the killing centers of occupied Poland where the numbers tallied into the millions as the war in Europe dragged on.

As little as I know about Mr. Manuel Emilio Mejia, I am at least confident that he was not any kind of Adolf Eichmann. May he rest in peace and may the Good Lord have mercy on his soul.

Ward Churchill — for me at least — deserves no further comment.