Heartache of family members whose loved ones died in 9/11 terror attacks - USA DAILY NEWS

Heartache of family members whose loved ones died in 9/11 terror attacks

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As two hijacked passenger jets hit New York’s World Trade Center 18 years ago today, the whole world shook.

The extent of the 9/11 atrocity became clear as a third jet hit the Pentagon and then a fourth crashed in Pennsylvania after its brave passengers battled the terrorists.

Images of the blazing towers came to represent the al-Qaeda horror, which killed 3,000.

But just as powerful were the tales that put human faces on the tragedy – revealing how lives were lost or saved through everyday choices or events.

They are told in new book The Only Plane in the Sky – and here are a few of them as the world remembers.

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Monica O’Leary



Monica O’Leary was laid off on September 10

On September 10, around 2pm I was laid off [from her job]. I was upset and crying.

Eventually, when I calmed down, the woman from HR gave me the choice: “Do you want to go back to the desk and get your stuff, or do you want to go home?”

But, I said: “I want to go say goodbye.”

I went around kissing everybody goodbye. They were all great.

The next day I was in my neighbour’s apartment when our building fell.

I remember falling to the ground and screaming, “They didn’t have enough time! They didn’t have enough time to get out!”

I knew they were gone. Later a colleague called. I didn’t know he was alive.

He said: “As soon as you’re ready to come back, you’ve got a space here.”

Because the HR Department all died, I was never taken off the payroll.

Lyzbeth Glick



Lyz Glick lost her husband Jeremy in the 9/11 attack

On the Monday morning, September 10, Jeremy was going to California on business and booked on a flight that night.

We live in Hewitt, New Jersey and he headed down to Newark for a meeting.

He called me at around 5pm and said there had been a fire in Newark, and he didn’t feel like arriving in California at two in the morning.

He decided to go home, get a good night’s sleep, and catch the first flight out Tuesday morning.

I must have gotten up just after the first plane hit, because the first thing I did was turn on the TV and saw the World Trade Center.

I heard the phone ring, and I heard my parents scream, “Oh my God, Jeremy!”

I went into the room and all color had drained from their faces. I started to panic. I said, “Oh, my God, that wasn’t Jeremy’s flight, was it?” they said, “No. He’s okay, for now.”

They added “for now” because Jeremy had told them that the plane had been hijacked.

They handed the phone to me. He sensed panic in my voice, and we started saying, “I love you.” We must have said it for 10 minutes straight until it calmed us down.

Then he explained to me what had happened. Jeremy said he didn’t think he was going to make it out.

He told me he loved me and our daughter, Emerson, very much, and he needed us to be happy. He sounded very sad. He kept saying, “I can’t believe this is happening to me.”



Jeremy Glick was on Flight 93

Jeremy said there were three other guys as big as him, and they were going to jump on the hijacker with the bomb and try to take back the plane. He asked if I thought that was a good idea.

We debated a little bit. He asked what did I think he should do. I said, “You need to do it.”

He’s a very strong man, and large. He was a national judo champion, so really well equipped.

He was joking, “I have my butter knife from breakfast.”

Despite everything, he was able to be a little bit humorous.

Then he said, “Okay, I’m going to put the phone down. I’ll be right back. I love you.”

I didn’t want to listen to what happened, so I gave the phone to my dad.

My father told me later he heard a series of screams. Then it sounded like a roller coaster. Then there was nothing.

My dad stayed on the line for over two hours, hoping beyond hope.”

Michael Lomonaco



Michael Lomonaco made a quick detour to get his glasses fixed, and was seeing an optometrist when the first plane hit

That morning, my reading glasses were in need of repair.

When I hit the street in front of Tower Two, I thought, “Wow, it’s really early. It’s not even 8:15. I bet I can get the optometrist to see me and I can have my glasses this afternoon.”

I went straight for LensCrafters. A minute later, I was standing at the counter.

They took me into the examining room and the optometrist examined my old glasses.

He left me in the examining room, closed the door. Then he came back in — burst through the door, really. He looked pale. He said, “Something happened. We’ve got to get out of here.”

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I got out into the corridor. There was an official from the Port Authority motioning with the arms.

He was telling people, “Run! Get out!” I turned and could see the horrific fire in Tower One.

I thought there had been an explosion. I thought, “Oh my god — everybody at work.”

Then, the next thought was, “OK, I’m going to stay calm. They’ll go down the fire stairways.” I had complete optimism that people were coming down.

It took days and days to compile the list of the missing — they were unaccounted for. I believed, until the end of the week, someone had to have gotten down those stairs.

We lost 72 people that worked at Windows on the World.

The jumpers

As the horror unfolded at the World Trade Center, the most harrowing sight of all was that of victims — trapped on upper floors, amid soaring temperatures and deadly smoke — falling or jumping to their deaths.

Here, some of those who were on the ground recall what they saw.

  • Wesley Wong, assistant special agent in charge, FBI New York: “This fireman said something to me I didn’t understand — he said, ‘Watch out for falling bodies’. As I got close to the building another yelled, ‘Run! Here comes one!’ I froze and I looked up into that beautiful bright blue sky. I saw a fellow spread-eagled, coming out of the sky. He had on navy blue dress pants, a white shirt, and a tie. Dark hair. I couldn’t believe what I saw.”
  • Det David Brink, emergency service unit, truck 3, NYPD: “There were a lot of bodies coming down. I saw daisy chains of four people holding hands, just leaping. I kept looking up, saying, ‘I want to help you. Hold on, please hold on.’ But I knew there was nothing I could do.”
  • Dr Charles Hirsch, chief medical examiner, New York City: “It was a sight and sound I’ll never forget. The awful sound of people impacting.”
  • Peter Moog, officer, NYPD: “I did see one jumper hit a fireman. He was one of the first firemen to get killed.”
  • Rudy Giuliani, Mayor, New York City: “I saw a man at a window, must have been the 100th floor, 101st, 102nd floor. He threw himself out. I froze and watched him come all the way down. It was a shocking experience. We had practised a lot of things — anthrax, sarin gas, hostage situations. This was beyond anything anybody imagined.”
  • Gregory Fried, executive chief surgeon, NYPD: “You’d hear this whoosh, then it would go crash, then you’d hear a splat. One cop said to me, ‘What was that?’ I said, ‘A person.’”
  • Bill Spade, firefighter, rescue 5, FDNY: “There were motion-detector doors that opened into the North Tower. These doors kept opening and closing with the bodies that were coming down.”

The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett M Graff is published by Monoray in hardback at £20 octopusbooks.co.uk)

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