Friday, September 08, 2006

Tribute to Godwin Ajala

There is a website called The 2,996 Project. It is a project to honor those who died in the 9/11 Attack by assigning the name of a victim to a blogger when you sign up. I read about this on 63 Days and decided to sign up for this myself. This is the name of the person that I was assigned.

Godwin Ajala, age 33.
Place killed: World Trade Center. Resident of New York, N.Y. (USA).
Godwin Ajala will be honored by Dana Marie Vittum at the blog Green Duckies. This was the 3381th blogger to sign up for the 2,996 Tribute project.

It seems so stark on the screen, doesn't it? Just 15 words. Godwin Ajala, age 33.
Place killed: World Trade Center. Resident of New York, N.Y. (USA).

There is a picture of Godwin along with these words.

By viewing this picture, I knew one thing about Godwin. He was a barrister. You do not get to be as big of an Anglophile as I am without recognizing the usual trappings.

I did a search through Google to see what else I could learn about him and I have to tell you, what I learned about him took my breath away.

Godwin Ajala is a hero. Plain and simple.

Here's what I learned about him (at this website and this one).

Godwin was from Nigeria. He was a barrister there and was studying to become one in the United States. According to his friend, Christopher Iwuanyanwu, all he wanted to do was become a lawyer in the US and spent most of his time reading and studying. Godwin's plans were to take the bar and then apply for US citizenship.

On September 11, 2001, Godwin Ajala was patrolling the outside of the World Trade Center when the explosion first hit. His first thought was to race inside and try to get people out. According to Christopher Iwuanayanwu, people remember seeing him and asking why he was there, why didn't he leave? His response was "Why are you running? Why aren't you helping people out?"

In a world where so many people are looking out for their selves, this man risked his life for others. Who knows how many were saved because of him?

When the towers collapsed, Godwin disappeared. Christopher Iwuanayanwu received a call from a hospital on September 14th. Godwin was there, in a coma. Twenty-four hours later, he was gone. Another victim of a senseless act.

I believe strongly in a higher power, I have to believe that there was a reason for Godwin being there that day. I have heard people say "How can I believe in God when things like this happen?" I ask "Why do we blame God?" I believed that there is a fight between Good and Evil and Godwin was a major combatant in the fight for Good. And here is why I believe that.

Godwin's wife and three children were still living in Nigeria. Godwin came to America to work to support them and every year, around September 10th, he would fly home to be with them. He had planned on leaving on September 10, 2001 but didn't have enough money to go home. So, instead, he decided to work to the end of September and then go home. He never made it.

Godwin was survived by his wife Victoria and his three small children, Onyinyechi, Uchechukwu and Ugochi. My prayers are with them.

Today, whenever I see a flag or hear someone speak about 9/11/01, I will think of all those who died.

And I will think of all those who survived because of men and women like Godwin Ajala.