"I think the more we talk, and the more we learn — then maybe we'll be a better world."
Loretta Filipov could be mad. She could be angry, and sad. And while she may, at times, feel pangs of those emotions well up inside, she is not consumed by them. Rather, she is consumed by a desire for a peaceful tomorrow.
Loretta lost her husband Alexander on American Airlines Flight 11 on Sept. 11, 2001. It was a flight he regularly took for business trips, and he was supposed to return home a few days later, after which he and Loretta had plans to vacation in Hawaii for their 44th wedding anniversary.
Almost immediately after the terrorist attacks, Loretta was compelled to act — to do something — not out of revenge, but out of the need to understand what happened, and how to prevent it from ever happening again. At the same time, she and her family wanted to honor Al, the man she says they would have turned to in such a time of tragedy. Thus was born the Al Filipov Peace and Justice Forum — an annual event during which great minds from all walks of life have come to Concord to discuss the issues facing world peace, and the need for open dialogue not only in international affairs, but in all interpersonal relationships.
Church was always very important to the Filipovs — and still is for Loretta. The Trinitarian Congregational Church was a home away from home for her in the days following Sept. 11. Al's memorial bench proudly stands on the church's front lawn. It is only fitting that the Trinitarian Congregational Church is home to the Forum, which begins its week of events this weekend on Sunday, Sept. 11 with a community concert. The actual Forum is on Wednesday, Sept. 14 and will feature guest speaker Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Senior Emeritus Minister of Riverside Church, NYC. for a full schedule of next week's events.
Reflecting on the 10 years that have passed, and the next 10 years to come, Loretta said the mission of the Forum will always be the same: to honor her husband’s life by encouraging people to realize peace through open communication.
"You're challenging people," she said, "one person at a time, to make a difference in the world."
How did the events of Sept. 11, 2001 impact your life? Share your story in the comments section below, or e-mail Chris.Tanguay@Patch.com. You can also participate in the national remembrance movement at ActionAmerica.com, and share your stories on Patch's Massachusetts Remembers 9/11 Facebook page.
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