Tag Archives: World Peace

With Liberty and Justice for All (911 Connections)

With Liberty and Justice for All

(911 Connections)


We had planned months  in advance our special trip to New York for the end of the summer of 2001—to attend our cousin Leslie’s wedding. She was marrying Maurice Bernstein. The event was set to take place August 26, 2001, on the grounds of an  up state mansion in Rhinebeck, NY on the Hudson River. But, before we ventured up the interstate, we wanted to spend a few nights in the big city, so we found a place right in the heart of Times Square. We scheduled  our trip carefully-not to tire out the seniors (Papa and his companion Rena) who both had bad knees.  Therefore, we did not do any of the usual hustle and bustle tourist things. However, it was Justin who kept asking me:“ Mom, when are we going to see ___? “ No descriptive words followed his unfinished question.  He  only described where he wanted to go by lifting up his arm to make a fist—with his usual animated and joyful way of expression. Then it dawned on me that he was making the gesture similar to the Statue of Liberty raising the torch.  I quickly responded:“ Oh, the Statue of Liberty you mean?” He delightfully smiled and said: “ Yes Mom!”

So, on the dawn of the next morning,  I made good on my promise and told Justin that we would go to a park to see the statue from a distance, because time would not allow us to go over to the island. He was content. Subsequently, We hailed a cab, and headed down to Battery Park. As we passed the World Trade Center, Justin saw the banner of colorful flags flying in the air. He wanted to get out “just for a second“ he convincingly asked.  I knew he wanted to feel the strength of these structures protecting him from both sides as he gazed as high as his eyes could see. I’m sure in his mind he wondered… How could these structures be?? Since we were in a rush, I encouraged him to jump back in the cab so we could be on our way. When the cab stopped at the park, I hurried Justin over to the railing to take a quick picture. Even as a 4 year old,  there was No prodding necessary for Justin. He proudly stood there and extended his clinched fist up in the air…

Justin in NYU 8/25/2001
Justin in NYU 8/25/2001









Justin always had a strong affinity for architecture, buildings and design. He often marveled at the picture of one of the towers that Darrell took that was hanging in his office.

Darrell Carr's Photo of one of the towers at the World Trade Center
Darrell Carr’s Photo of one of the towers at the World Trade Center







Justin also  loved to build things and his favorite book was

Iggy Peck FullSizeRender-13Architect. It is a story about Iggy Peck a kid who was—creative, independent, and not afraid to express himself!

Ironically, just a few days ago, my friend Emilie sent me a copy of what Justin wrote in the same book that he gave her when she was pregnant with her eldest son. She said that this book is now her son’s favorite too. I never knew what Justin wrote before he wrapped the gift!!

Justin's gift to my friend Emile in honor of her newborn son 2009
Justin’s gift to my friend Emilie in honor of her newborn son 2009


Honestly, the congestion that weekend in 2001 in  NYC was too much to bear. I was ready to leave. The air was hot and humid, and it was hard to navigate the crowed streets with two casual seniors in tow. Something also seemed weird. I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach. I could not wait to get out of the city. As we headed away from the chaos,  Justin looked out of the window and marveled at the changes in design of the buildings and the abundance of greenery and beautiful landscapes that hugged the roads.  We stayed in a 4-story mansion (about 100 miles outside of the city) that was built in the late 1800’s. Justin was besides himself, when he walked in and realized how the massive entry dwarfed him. He quickly made fast friends with the innkeepers young son.  They played hide and seek. He inquired about the intricate designs of the staircases and loved the fact that he could walk under the mantels into the huge ornate fireplaces without ducking or crawling.

The wedding was held at what remained of the Astor family  Rokeby gilded age estate.  The backdrop was the Hudson River.  The views  were breathtaking.

Rokeby Estate
Rokeby Estate
Mr. & Mrs. Bernstein 8/26/2001
Mr. & Mrs. Bernstein

Justin especially took notice of the traditional Jewish ceremonial events. He jumped out of his seat when it was time to join in the circle dances, and he was in awe when Maurice stepped on the glass and the crowd shouted “mazel tov!”   After they did the Hora dance, Justin quietly walked over and asked Maurice if he could have a “ride” on the chair—just like the newlyweds. Within seconds Justin was beaming as a group of men hoisted him up on the chair as they danced to the music.  My little man was beaming from ear to ear. All of these traditions stayed in Justin’s head forever. When he attended  his middle and high schools, he was able to celebrate other Jewish traditions with his classmates. I’m sure in his sophomore year, he probably told everyone (when they practiced for “Fiddler on the Roof” )  that he knew first hand all the traditions for the wedding scene, including how to stay focused when doing the “bottle dance”.

Justin and Alex







After the festivities where over, we headed south toward the city to take our respective planes home. Some of us were flying American Airlines back to Los Angeles, and Dad and Rena were on the United Airlines flight to San Francisco…. (The same ill-fated flights from 911)!!!

Do you know that it was one week to the day (before 911) when Justin posed for his “ Statue of Liberty “ photo? A mere 7 days later,   the world changed! FOREVER!  911 hit without warning… I will always remember how helpless I felt after I answered the early morning call from my friend Yvette (who lived in a different time zone) as she screamed  hysterically through the phone “turn on the TV”!!!!  Then  I saw  the second plane hit the tower and the spot that we had literally stood between  just days before. The sight brought me and Darrell to our knees… The magnitude of destruction was infinite. Being the Engineer that I was trained to be, I told Darrell in utter dismay that: “ The buildings are going to collapse”… And so they did… as the world watched in horror.

Leslie and Maurice have now been married for 14 years.  And, even though it was not tradition that first brought them together,  collectively they have shown us that two people who come together from completely different backgrounds and religions, can honestly, love and honor their families and commitments to each other and create two handsome boys- Isaac and Miles, and live happily ever after…

Meet the Bernstein's
Meet the Bernstein’s


Fourteen years ago I did not personally know anyone who perished in this tragedy—but I also know that it really did not matter. The world grieved from the aftermath of this horrific event. The loss of life also had a domino effect and impacted millions.  All of us.

So, here is the twist to this story. Now, I am connected to a mother who unfortunately lost her daughter in the 911 events.  As fate would have it, a few months ago, I inadvertently ventured to Monarch (butterfly) Grove park (and no I did not know the name of it before) near the Pacific Grove, CA shoreline. It was a place that I had not been to in over 15 years. I was last there when my brother Greg got married to Delana. I glanced over and saw the statue that Justin (on his own)  once jumped on as he again playfully mimicked the little boy statue.





Then I noted a butterfly statue (why of course) !



Then, my eyes caught sight of a note that was carefully placed on a memorial bench with the inscription: “ Suzanne Marie Calley 9/17/57-9/01/11 “ Dedicated to the victims and those touched by the events of 9-11-2001”.


The adjacent protected hand written note read:”







“Hello Dear One,

I am thinking of you on this special day as I do every day. I remember how we laughed and enjoyed life. You were so beautiful and the light of my life. You are always with me.

I love you, Mom”

Well, you know me I did a search on Suzanne. And here are a few things that were written about  her: She was aboard the AA flight 77 in Washington, DC on 9/11/2001. She was from Pacific Grove, CA.

Suzanne M. Calley
Suzanne M. Calley

“She had a zest for life.

She was  a strong swimmer in high school.

She was a loving daughter and a wife.

She held a high tech job with Cisco.

She taught scuba lessons.

She was a very giving person.

She touched many people’s lives.

Everyone remembered her smile that lit up a room.

She was a very giving person, never expecting anything in return.

She touched many lives and influence countless more…”

 Some of these traits sound all to familiar to a fantastic young warrior (Justin) that we knew too.

I really can’t make this stuff up. See for yourself…


Soon after upon returning home, I found her mother, Norma Keleher’s, contact info and I wrote her a note—and she wrote me back.   I told her that I saw the memorial bench in honor of her beloved daughter Suzanne. I told her that I read about her and that she seemed like a wonderful person. However, I could not tell her that I knew how she feels (even though we both lost a child)—because EVERYONE deals with his or her unique loss and grief differently. But, what I did tell her was that she and her daughter now have a special place in my heart and that I know that her love for her daughter is strong and will be embedded in her mind forever—just like Justin will be for me.

JCWWP Tag at the 911 Memorial
JCWWP Tag at the 911 Memorial
Haley and Duane in NYC 2015
Haley and Duane in NYC 2015

So what is the take away for my brief 911 connections??? My take away is that we do not have to wait for the next disaster to hit for people to be kind, helpful, respectful considerate, compassionate and selfless towards each other-irregardless of their background. Right????   History reveals that universal kindness is usually short lived and people soon forget about the cause and the effect of a tragedy and within a short period, they get back to business as usual. You know, we can change things if you place a value of loving at all times.

On 01/13/2014 Catherine Woodiwiss, a blogger, wrote: A New Normal: Ten Things I’ve Learned About Trauma

“Surviving trauma takes “firefighters” and “builders.” Very few people are both.This is a tough one. In times of crisis, we want our family, partner, or dearest friends to be everything for us. But surviving trauma requires at least two types of people: the crisis team — those friends who can drop everything and jump into the fray by your side, and the reconstruction crew — those whose calm, steady care will help nudge you out the door into regaining your footing in the world. In my experience, it is extremely rare for any individual to be both a firefighter and a builder. “

Hundreds of firefighters and first responders lost their lives that day while saving thousands of others lives. They did not pick and choose who they were going to save. They  just did their job trying to help…

 Is Justin’s wish for world peace such a daunting task??? We should not just talk about it or look at possibilities– but instead join together and do something toward building better relationships in the right direction…

Created on UC Berkeley's campus by Justin's cousin Laureina and friends 2013
Created on UC Berkeley’s campus by Justin’s cousin Laureina and friends 2013


What would this world be like today  if there was Liberty and Justice for All??




Let’s put our hands together and do something about it..

Justin's friends at School 2013
Justin’s friends at School 2013








As the end of the year quickly approaches, we must say again how truly thankful and blessed we are to have you—our dear and very generous friends—supporting us and the Justin Carr Wants World Peace Foundation (JCWWP), not just with your time or monetary contributions, but your very connection to us….

Although, we’re forced to have a second Thanksgiving without our beautiful Justin physically here, we’re once again reminded of what Thanksgiving really means…Thanks. Giving. So, we are thanks giving for your “Friendsgiving”, because without that support we would not be in this place. So many from all walks of life, cultural descent and ages, have become quiet foot soldiers and walk beside us—for whom we are forever grateful. You all are truly a beautiful reflection of Justin’s belief that no matter where we come from, we are always stronger standing together than apart…

Another reflection of Justin’s impact is his story being shared around the world, that’s generated a strong year for JCWWP (and personally strengthened us). Accomplishments in 2014 include:

Dare 2 Dream: Among quite a few examples of achievement due to the program, one student won a scholarship to attend the prestigious Belvoir Terrace Visual and Performing Arts Summer Program in Boston; another won a trip to Monaco for Princess Stéphanie’s Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo

  • Benefit Programs & Products: ArtsAhimsa Concert in honor of Justin; Angeles Chorale Concert in honor of Justin on his 18th Birthday; and JCWWP luggage tags travel the world…
  • Medical Partnerships: We were invited to share Justin’s story at the 2014 American Heart Association Ball http://youtu.be/-7g9Zb8zXOA; and are currently working on a heart, art and peace project for testing and to educate others about  early heart disease detection.
  • Awards: CBS2 LA News wins an Emmy Award for Justin’s story
  • Paying It Forward: Funded cost to remove a huge neck growth on a young man in Jinja, Uganda… He’s a good kid, the oldest of 6, very impoverished background, his mother has HIV – and his name is Justin…

Our goals for 2015 are even more ambitious, as we continue this journey of giving…

  • Justin’s Dare 2 Dream Math Tutoring and Arts at underserved Schools
  • An April Love Notes Presents Justin Carr Wants World Peace Benefit Concert created and produced by one of Justin’s high school friends
  • Provide Scholarships to Visual and Performing Arts Programs
  • Obtain partnerships with major companies to educate and test for early heart disease detection (stay tuned)

If you would like to help us with those endeavors among others, please note that the  Pasadena Community Foundation http://www.pasadenacf.org  accepts donations for JCWWP any time of the year.  http://www.pasadenacf.org/donate_how.aspx.

Learning to Grieve with Gratitude has become our mantra… And grateful we are, because of our friends who have given their time, energy, spirit and love, JCWWP has achieved a lot this year. We also know that we need each and every one of you to help us continue on our quest to do better and be better just like Justin.

It is true how love does show up in unexpected ways, and we feel that love through you, because to paraphrase John Lennon we’ve been able to get by with a “little” help from our friends, and we do need everybody, and we appreciate all of your love. Your support has enabled the ripple effects of JCWWP and Justin’s life to allow us to see stars even on the darkest days. Below are true testimonies of how his butterfly wings and your JCWWP contributions help others continue to soar, and for us to beam with pride…

Thank you again for being there as our broken hearts slowly heal and for your generous support… May this holiday bring you peace, love, faith, friendship and continued service to others–everything your friendsgiving gives us.

In Peace and Love,

Susan & Darrell Carr


Susan’s Blog



 “I want to do something amazing that will leave the world better than when I arrive…that’s a skill I learned from Justin.” Jackie —8th Grader

 “He had such goodness in his soul and he radiated kindness. He always put others before him. It was never about him. It’s as if his goal was to make everyone around him feel happy, and he always succeeded.” Marianne —12th Grader

He has truly changed me to be more accepting, to listen, and to be grateful for even the smallest of things. I hope to make my mark, to make an impact on the world…anyone who knew Justin undoubtedly derived inspiration from his demeanor and his determination. So any change any of us makes, is a change that Justin makes. Just know that Justin continues to live through me in college.” Maddy —College Freshman

 “Justin talked to me about how he was actually self-conscious in his swim team and even in acting about not being good enough and that fear is exactly what pushed him to be great. And that is the single most important piece of advice I have ever received in my life.”Eugénie—College Freshman

“I think I admired Justin from too far away, and I wish I could’ve taken him under my wings more (though he needed no help)…As I move further into adulthood, I know without question that…Justin will continue to anchor me to gratitude and positivity.” Evan—College Junior

“Justin’s legacy will always fuel them (the kids) with appreciation for the preciousness of life, engaging in it with courage, and serving the world. Whether they fully realize it now or not… Heck, that’s a lesson he left me. And trust me, I think of Justin often Shelley—Parent

 “The Holy Spirit is working through you. It is said, “If you want (World ) Peace,  work for justice.” Justin and justice have the same root: righteousness… ” Heaven (turquoise) and earth (brown) are filled with your glory… Amen!” Walk in the light….THERE WILL BE RIPPLES… AT EACH HEART BEAT…RIPPLES OF LOVE…RIPPLES OF PEACE… RIPPLES OF MERCY…RIPPLES OF COMPASSION…RIPPLES OF POWER… RIPPLES OF LIGHT… RIPPLES OF JOY… RIPPLES OF ETERNAL LIFE ….“Fr Christopher ( La Rocca ) OCD Carmelite Missionary , Uganda —Susan’s Elementary School friend

The following is an example of special testimonies we received from those who either watched the news segment about us and Justin’s story prompting schools to test students for undetected heart disease or at a screening event:

“I have wanted to reach out to you to tell you about our August Screening event… You were on my heart that day as we were able to screen over 100 students through Cardiology and provide physicals. When I saw concerned Echocardiogram techs running down to catch a parent to meet with the Cardiologist again, I knew we had found something significant. The screening captured a serious life threatening undiagnosed condition in this young man…

I have wanted to tell you of this and let you know that I was thinking of Justin that whole day as I do at every event…I also felt a sense of peace as I told Justin…”we saved this one for you.” There was a sense of immense emotion as we gave this child back to his mom and told her about your story. It brought tears to her eyes and she pledged to be praying for your family as well.

We are happy to have saved this one young man in Justin’s honor and memory, and we will continue to move into the future to provide cardiac screenings for our students. Hoping to save families the terrible grief you have been through. May God bless you today and everydayHigh School Nurse

These testimonies not only comfort us to know that the impact of Justin’s life continues, but are also evidence that the work of JCWWP Foundation must continue as well… Thank you!

A final testimony from SusanFor Thanksgivings past, our family trio would frequent San Francisco to visit my family. But in 2012, Justin insisted all family up North travel south to our home. Thrilled, Justin made a floor plan of the sleeping arrangements (those engineer genes in him!), and carefully planned an excursion to visit his favorite playground, Disneyland.   We all had a fun, fabulous time. He was so excited that his staycation was successful… We don’t know what made him insist on wanting to celebrate at home, but we are so blessed that our last Thanksgiving with Justin was so full of happiness, laughter and love…

JCWWP_Logo_with_Butterfly_II_copy copy