A Year of Tears And Worry

Interviews With Families In Summit, N.J.

The city of Summit, N.J., one of the hardest hit by World Trade Center losses, has spent the last 12 months coming to grips with the tragedy.

It will mark the anniversary with a ceremony Wednesday evening on the village green, the same spot where cityfolk gathered last Sept. 11 to hold a candlelight prayer vigil for those who were still missing, hours after the terrorist attack on New York.

For many Summit families, particularly those who lost a breadwinner, life has not returned to normal, reports 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley. In a report to be broadcast Sunday at 7 p.m., Bradley returns to Summit, which is 35 miles west of New York City, and speaks with some of the city's almost 20,000 residents.

Among them is Lucy Thompson, whose family has been struggling both emotionally and financially since her husband Ian died in the attack.

Of the more than $2 billion raised by private charities, Thompson has gotten just enough to cover basic living expenses for the next year. And like most victims' families, she has not yet applied for relief from the federal government's Victims Compensation Fund because of concerns about legal constraints. To make ends meet, she works as a real estate agent.

For months, until Thompson became a U.S. citizen, the IRS was threatening to tax her entire inheritance at a rate of about 10 times higher than that of other Sept. 11 widows. She faced the possibility of losing her home and most of her savings.

Does she ever feel that life has given her more than she can handle, Bradley asked.

"I know there's that ridiculous saying, which is, and I think I'm right in quoting it, 'God doesn't give you more than you can ever handle.' Well, he does," she said.

"He does and he did. But you just have to handle it because you have to survive. And my reason for surviving is that I have two beautiful children with Ian. And I just want to make their lives as OK as I can."
  • Mary-Jayne McKay

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