Lost Lives

Now there are thousands dead. Most were in their 30s and 40s, ambitious and young and innocent. The stockbroker. The secretary. The minister. The office manager. The sailor. The mother, best friend, boyfriend and child. People who dropped their children off at school. People just engaged, people planning a date over pizza and Pepsi. Three hundred forty-three firefighters, 700 from Cantor Fitzgerald, every single person having breakfast overlooking the world. People whose last words were shouts through cell phones, whose last moments were a Vesuvius of chaos and smoke.

Longfellow wrote, "The friends who leave us do not feel the sorrow/Of parting, as we feel it, who must stay/Lamenting day by day." With friendship and love, these lives affected so many others. They were ordinary lives lived well, with passion and grace, as fiances or confidantes, lovers or brides. What vocabulary of grief can express the desolation of thousands dead?

There will not be thousands of funerals. Most of the victims were cremated where they fell, leaving no mortal remains to lay away. The custodian, the job applicant, the pilot and waitress, all vanished without a trace.

On the morning of the assaults, by coincidence, 2,000 undertakers were gathering in Atlantic City. They leapt into action, called around for coffins, developed a media strategy. They went back to their parlors to wait and wait but almost nobody came. "Without tangible reality of death," said National Funeral Directors Association president John Carmon, "something in your heart does not make you want to believe it. Your heart tells you, 'Maybe he went out for a cup of coffee and maybe he just got lost'." What the poet Elizabeth Bishop calls the "art of losing" is, in this case, ungraspable and shapeless. In the blur of their grief, Joe Green, 18, and his sister, Jennifer, 21, wanted to bury a casket filled with their mother's clothes. After the fiery crash in that Pennsylvania field, they had nothing else to inter. They settled instead on a simple memorial service, and asked friends and relations to gather around a framed photograph and pay respects. Fifteen hundred came, spilled down the church steps, filled the streets with their singing: "We Fall Down But We Get Up."

It is time, as W. H. Auden wrote, to "let the healing fountain start." It had better be an ocean. Now there are thousands dead.

Steven Russin, 32, left for work at 5 a.m. on Tuesday--he was a partner at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of Tower 1. His wife, Andrea, who was nine months pregnant with twins, didn't wake up to say goodbye. "It's like he was swallowed up out of my bed," says Andrea, 34, who refused to watch the news after she heard of the attacks. That Friday, she says, "the Red Cross called to say there were no survivors above the 101st floor and that I should start making arrangements to help myself emotionally." That evening hundreds of neighbors went to her house holding lighted candles and stood in the front yard telling stories about Steve. "It was so unreal," says Andrea, "I could do nothing but cry." Later that night she went into labor, and on Saturday morning gave birth to healthy twin girls, each weighing more than six pounds. Their names are Olivia and Ariella. "They're very pretty," says Andrea. "One has his nose. Definitely." In addition to the girls, Andrea and Steve have a son, Alec, who turned 2 just 11 days after the attacks. Friends have started an educational fund for the kids. "My husband loved children," says Andrea. "All he wanted was to have more."

Veronique Bowers, 28, was often late for work. She liked to make sure her son, Dior, 9, got on his school bus in Brooklyn before she headed for her job at Windows on the World on the 106th floor of Tower 1. But on Sept. 11, Bowers made it in by 8:30. Half an hour later she called her mother, Daphney. She was crying hysterically and said her eyes were burning. Then, Daphney Bowers recalls, "she said, 'I love you, Mommy, goodbye,' and I said, 'Don't say goodbye. I will see you later'."

On Sept. 8, just a month before the scheduled harvest at the family vineyard on the banks of the Rhine, vintner Christian Adams, 37, left his wife and two children at home for the annual fall tasting tour of the German Wine Board, which kicked off two days later in New York. That Monday, Adams and 20 other German winemakers showed off their 2000 vintage, proud that their products were enjoying something of a comeback in the important U.S. market. The next day half the wine-makers were scheduled to go on to San Francisco for a similar promotion. They were spread across different flights; only Adams was on United Airlines Flight 93. "The cruelest thing is that there are no remains," says Steffen Schindler, a friend and fellow winemaker.

The family of navy Capt. Robert Dolan wants the world to think of him and the others who were killed at the Pentagon not as victims, but as heroes who were fighting back. "Bob and his shipmates in the Navy Command Center, as well as those other people on duty at the Pentagon, were very likely in the throes of preparing a naval response to the horrific attacks in New York," says his brother-in-law Mark Tempestilli, also a Navy captain. As head of the Strategy and Concepts Branch for the chief of naval operations, Dolan was at the center of the discussion and development of 21st-century naval and defense strategy, including homeland defense. But Dolan, 43, was also dedicated to his wife, Lisa, and their children, Rebecca and Beau. "He saw himself as an American with a simple life," Lisa wrote in a letter to friends and the media.

Jack Connolly, 46, who worked at Eurobrokers on the 84th floor of the South Tower, always managed to get home to Allenwood, N.J., in time to coach teams for Patrick, 6, in T-ball and John, 8, in soccer. Connolly hasn't been heard from since the attacks, but Dawn, his co-coach and wife of 15 years, still hopes her husband will be back for next season. "Somebody always gets the miracle," she says. "We're hoping it's us this time." The older kids--John and 10-year-old Deneen--know that's not likely, but they're holding up. Patrick is taking it harder. "He cries four or five times a day," Dawn says. "He misses his daddy. And he's asking, 'Why do there have to be bad people in the world?' "

She told me that life doesn't always go the way you think it will, but she said she wouldn't have changed a thing about hers.
--Melissa Cho, on her sister Casey, 30, who worked for Marsh & McLennan on the 99th floor of the North Tower

Every morning, Jonathan Eric Briley took the 5:06 train from Mt. Vernon, N.Y., to New York City, where he worked as an audiovisual technician at Windows on the World, on the 106th floor of Tower 1. That's where he was on Sept. 11. Hillary, his wife of seven years, says he especially loved his Bible-study class and playing jazz on his guitar. "I would appreciate it if you would put in what a good man and what a gentle soul my husband is," she says. "He just loved so many people and so many people loved him." On Sept. 22 Briley's remains were positively identified. "I'm peaceful with that," says his wife. Without that resolution, "I'd be messed up right about now," she says.

Moira Smith, 38, was the first police officer to call in about the disaster, and one of the first on the scene. Mother of a 2-year-old, Patricia Mary, and wife to fellow officer James Smith, she had been on the force for 13 years. Moira Smith and another officer from the 13th Precinct, Robert Fazio, 38, ran into the World Trade Center minutes after it was hit. Both are still missing, but Smith was spotted just before the collapse. She was rescuing people from the North Tower.

In 1981 Francis (Jack) Trombino's Brink's truck was robbed in Rockland County, N.Y., by self-styled radicals. Trombino's arm was nearly shot off in the notorious holdup, which left a fellow guard and two policemen dead. Another man might have changed jobs, but not Trombino. On Sept. 11 he was with his truck in the basement of Tower 1. Trombino, 68, hasn't been heard from since. "We still have faith that if the truck wasn't crushed, there's a possibility that he's in it and trying his best to survive," says his daughter Bo Kirby. "He will do anything and everything possible to get through it. He's a fighter."

Thomas Hughes Jr. had planned to go fishing with his brother-in-law on Sept. 11. They were going to charter a boat and look for tuna off the Jersey shore. But first Hughes, a 46-year-old painting contractor, headed for a meeting at Windows on the World. A week later his wife, Rosanne, who frequently helped her husband in his midtown office, took the train into Manhattan from her home in Spring Lake Heights, N.J. It was the first time without Tom. She's determined to keep his business going. "That was his life," she says. "That was his dream."

After dating long-distance for more than two years, Brian Wilkes and Lorraine Antigua finally moved in together in the spring. Antigua, 32, worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, on the 104th floor of Tower 1. Wilkes remembers the night they met, at a party in New York City: "She's like, 'You must be Brian'; I'm like, 'You must be Lorraine.' She ran away to the bar. She knew she was in trouble. We danced and talked a little, nothing too major. I called her the following day and asked if she wanted to go Rollerblading. I'm a smoker, so I got tired. We plopped down under this tree in a grassy area, and the tree had little white flowers that were showering down on her."

Though she never enlisted, Deborah Ramsaur, 45, loved the Army and her job as a secretary in the Pentagon. "She's been working for the Army for close to 20 years," says John Ramsaur, 58, her husband of eight years, and she was "utterly devoted to her job. She would wake up in the middle of the night and write herself notes about what she had to do the next day." The couple were both working for the Army in Germany when they met in 1990. They both loved Volksmarching: organized hikes hosted by different European towns. "Almost every weekend we went for a six- or 12-mile hike," he says. They came back to America two years ago, and spent their weekends going to museums and puppet shows with their children, Ann, 7, and Brian, 5.

Two years ago Terence McShane, 37, gave up his job fighting crime with the New York Police Department's 100th Precinct in Queens to fight fires with Ladder Company 101 in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. He took a pay cut, but the new job gave him more time with his family: twins Sean and Colin, 4; Aidan, 7, and wife Catherine. His ladder company was summoned after the first plane hit Tower 1. "He had a wry sense of humor that everyone loved, and he had a lot of friends and family members who are firemen and policemen," says McShane's uncle Tom Loback. "They tend to all be like extended family."

When Michael and Christina Baksh moved to northern New Jersey several years ago, they didn't realize trick-or-treating wasn't a neighborhood tradition. So that Halloween, their daughter, Ava, then 4, sat on the stairs with a bowl of candy in her lap, waiting in vain for the kids to troop by. When her father saw how disappointed she looked, he sneaked outside, dressed up like a cowboy, rang the doorbell and yelled, "Trick or treat!" Then he went back outside and rang again--this time dressed like a pirate. He did this over and over until Ava felt she'd given away enough candy. Michael, 36, "adored his children," says Christina. Ava, now 7, has a 2-year-old brother, James. Sept. 11 was Michael's first day on a new job at Marsh & McLennan.

Ricardo Quinn loved Jones Beach, on the south shore of New York's Long Island. "He's very famous there for his sand sculptures," says his wife, Ginny. The couple met there. "He was with his little boy from his first marriage, and I was with my little boy from my first marriage," Ginny recalls. "The kids started playing together, and then Ricardo and I started talking." They were married in 1989, and Ricardo became an EMT. "He was so proud to be a paramedic," Ginny says. Though Ricardo, 40, was supposed to report for duty in Queens the day of the attacks, he never got there, and the Fire Department lists him among the missing. "I don't think he was afraid when it happened," his wife says. "I think he was just thinking of other people."

After undergoing a spinal operation last year, New York City firefighter Stephen Belson's biggest fear was that he would not be able to return to the job he loved. Belson, 51, made it. As a battalion aide, assigned to Battalion 7 in Manhattan, he went everywhere battalion chief Orio Palmer went, including the inferno that was the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. Both men are missing. Belson, a 23-year veteran of the department with five decorations for bravery, grew up in a Queens neighborhood filled with firefighters. During college he worked summers as a lifeguard. "Saving people, helping people, that was his life," says Belson's mother, Madeline. "That was his calling."

In Palm Springs, Calif., 72-year-old Barbara Keating was known for her willingness to volunteer at St. Theresa's Catholic Church. "She was truly a servant," says her priest, Msgr. Philip Behan. "Her whole life was one of service to other people." A widow who moved to California seven years ago from Massachusetts, Keating was the mother of five and a grandmother. She was returning home from a vacation on Cape Cod and a visit with some of her children on the Jersey shore when she boarded American Flight 11.

Judy Fernandez and Maria Santillan were inseparable. They were both 27 years old, cousins, co-workers at Cantor Fitzgerald and best friends. "They loved life, they loved to snowboard, snowmobiling, going to islands together," says Fernandez's sister Emma. "They had strong-willed personalities, and they were always laughing."

A doting uncle and gifted cartoonist, Edward Lichtschein, known as Ari, wrote and illustrated comic books for his nine nieces and nephews. "He was incredibly bright, witty and sensitive," says his sister-in-law Tilly Lichtschein, a NEWSWEEK staff member. When one of his nieces unsuccessfully petitioned her parents for a dog, she found consolation in a gift from Uncle Ari--a copy of Art Spiegelman's book "Open Me... I'm a Dog!" Ari, 35, a software engineer with Cantor Fitzgerald, was at work on the 103d floor of the North Tower the day of the attacks. Lichtschein's mother, Margit, is a Holocaust survivor whose parents perished in the crematoria at Auschwitz-Birkenau. "They have no grave," she says. "Is it possible the same will be true for my son?"

Everything is fine, I'm OK. I hope I get to go home and play my videogames and drink my Scotch, because I'm going to need it.
--Paul Benedetti, 32, who worked for Aon on the 92d floor of Tower 2, in a final message to his wife, Alexandra

Rosemarie Carlson, 40, was "a mommy to the core," says her sister-in-law Karen Sanchez. Mother to six children, ranging in age from 5 to 20, Carlson home-schooled all of them before going back to work after her divorce three years ago. "I try to be there to hold them, but there's only so much I can do," says Sanchez. "They've stopped going to school. They've stopped working." Carlson had left her job as a recruiter with IOC on the 79th floor of Tower 1 in early August. But a few weeks later the company asked her to come back at a higher salary. Her first day was Sept. 7.

Peter Walther was in his office, on the 39th floor of a midtown skyscraper, when a plane slammed into the building where his fiancee, Trudi Alagero, was at work as an office manager for Marsh Inc. "We have an unobstructed view of the Trade Center, so we saw it all," he says. "I ran out of my office probably about a millisecond after it hit and saw this gaping hole pretty much where her floor was." He tried to call Trudi but couldn't get through. "I'm still trying to figure it all out," says Walther. The couple got engaged Feb. 16, when Walther proposed in the driving rain outside Tartine, the tiny West Village restaurant where they had their first date (there was no room for him to get down on his knee). They were going to marry in January. They spent the night before the attacks planning their honeymoon. The couple couldn't bear to be apart. "I know it's hokey," he says, "but that's the way it was." When he changed subway trains on their morning commute, Trudi would smile and wave as her train pulled out. That's what she did that last morning. "I just miss her terribly, and I'm trying to avoid thinking about what tomorrow's going to be like."

Blake Allison spoke to his wife, Anna, for the last time when she called him on her cell phone just before American Flight 11 pulled away from the gate. "She wished me success with a big project I had at work and told me how much she loved me, and I told her I loved her, too," Blake says. Just after 9 a.m., he turned on his radio at work and learned that two airplanes had crashed into the World Trade Center. He wasn't worried until he overheard colleagues say that one of the planes had been hijacked from Boston and was on its way to Los Angeles. "I knew immediately it was her plane," he says. "I turned and went back to my office and shut the door in a state of shock." Anna Allison would have been 49 on Sept. 30.

Eric came to New York from Michigan five years ago, when he was 24. Immediately we became best friends. I used to call him 'Hayseed'--he was straight from the Midwest and wore these bad-fitting suits. Lately he had become quite the fashion plate. He was charismatic, he was funny, he was charming.
--Tyrone Fripp, on his friend Eric Bennett, 29, who worked for Alliance Consulting on the 102d floor of Tower 1

Like millions of people around the world, Pauline and Charles Berkeley of Shrewsbury, England, saw the horrifying images on television of Flight 175 crashing into the World Trade Center. It was only later, when they received a phone call from officials of United Airlines, that they learned that their son Graham, 37, was onboard. A graduate of the Royal College of Music, he worked for a technology company in Boston and was on his way to Los Angeles for a conference. "We last saw him for a meal when he was here in May," says his brother Chris, 39. "He was a friendly, outgoing person who was always there to help people, both in the U.K. and the United States." His parents were in New York, along with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to attend a memorial service for victims.

Vatchpol Srinuan often sent his sister, Saranya, 23, instant messages at the start of the workday. "We'd share a funny quote with each other or write about something we saw on the way to work," he recalls. "She was my best friend." On the morning of Sept. 11, there was no answer from Saranya, who worked in Tower 1 as an assistant trader for Cantor Fitzgerald. At first her brother thought she was too busy to respond. For days after the attack, Vatchpol handed out fliers with his favorite picture of his sister: smiling, dressed in a red cap and gown at her graduation from Boston University last year. "She has a lot of close, loving friends who are helping find her," Vatchpol says. "She always had a smile on her face and everyone who met her immediately loved her."

Michael Howell, 60, loved his job as director of information systems for Fred Alger Management on the 93d floor of Tower 1. "What made him happy was going to work and being in the World Trade Center," says his wife, Emily. "He enjoyed the rhythm of the city and the height of these towers. He put a lot of time and energy into his job. It was a big challenge, and he rose to it."

"I've got to be close to my son, and that's where he is."
--Mickey Kirby Sr., a New York City firefighter, on why he strapped on his gear to look for his son Chris, 21, five days after the collapse. Fire officials tried to keep Kirby away from the grisly scene. Chris, a carpenter, was at a job on the 107th floor. Kirby's other son, Mickey Jr., also a firefighter, had earlier been sent home after Chris was reported missing.

Jeff was truly an exceptional man who I am sure was a calming influence on that fateful flight Tuesday morning.
--Jeff Greisch on his colleague Jeff Mladenik, 43, who was aboard Flight 11 with Andrew Curry Green, 34, a fellow employee of eLogic, based in Venice, Calif.

The last time Cindy Guan's family spoke to her, she was trapped in an elevator on the 12th floor of Tower 2. She had been on her way up to her office on the 86th floor, where she worked as an auditor for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Guan, 25, wasn't panicked. "At the time, everyone was still calm and didn't know what had happened," says her husband, Edwin Yuen, 24. "They thought it was a mechanical problem." Guan's brother had phoned her as soon as he saw TV footage of the first plane crashing into Tower 1. He called her again after seeing the second plane hit her building, only to find that she was still trapped on the same floor. "They were still not quite panicked," says Yuen. "And then the phone went dead." Yuen is in the Army, stationed at Fort Drum in upstate New York. As for going to war, "I try not to think about things like that," he says. "Not so much because it wouldn't be satisfying, because in some ways it would be. But there needs to be time for dealing and for simply gathering together and grieving."

He was really a young Renaissance man. And this is not just the mother talking, this is hundreds of friends who've called and told me wonderful things about my son that I didn't know. He touched so many lives in so many ways.
--Marie Hanley, on her son Christopher, 34, who was attending a business conference at the World Trade Center

Family always came first for Juan Nieves Jr. The sole breadwinner for his wife and four children, Nieves typically showed up at 6 a.m. for his job as a salad man at Windows on the World. "He didn't want his wife to work," says his sister Carmen De La Cruz. "He wanted her to be home with the kids." Nieves, 56, was reluctant to spend money on himself, saving every last dime for his children. "My brother was such a good father. He would buy $12 sneakers for himself," De La Cruz says, "but he always wanted the best for his kids."

After 20 years as a fireman for Engine Company 217 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, Philip Hayes retired and became a fire-safety inspector for OCS Security. He was working in Tower 1 when the planes hit. Hayes, 67, and a partner helped evacuate the day-care center in Building 5. Then he went back inside to help evacuate more people, says his daughter Virginia McDermott. "We believe it was Tower 2, the first one to go down," she says. "That was the last tower anyone saw him go into." McDermott says her father, who lived in East Northport, N.Y., was one of 16 children. "He loved his grandchildren. There are nine, and Oct. 1 there is supposed to be a 10th."

Larry Courtney has changed the greeting on his voice mail. Now it's: "Well, we made it through a whole week." The morning of the attack, Courtney's partner of 14 years, Gene Clark, 47, kissed him goodbye before he left for his job as an administrative assistant at Aon on the 102d floor of Tower 2. When Courtney arrived at his midtown office, his message light was flashing. Clark had called. "He said, 'Don't worry. The plane hit the other building, and we're evacuating.' I went on our trading floor, where we have the televisions tuned to CNN, and I was standing there and saw the plane hit his tower. My boss took me by the shoulders and forced me out of the room and said, 'You don't need to watch this'." The following Monday, Courtney went back to work. "I had done everything I could," he says. "All I could do is wait. If he's alive, I'll nurse him back to health. If not, I can let him go."

At 9 a.m. on Sept. 11, Tariq Amanullah, 40, called his wife, Mehr, at their New Jersey home. An assistant vice president for information technology at Fiduciary Trust, Amanullah worked on the 97th floor of Tower 2. "He said, 'There's been an explosion in Tower 1, but I'm OK, so don't worry'," Mehr Amanullah recalls. That was the last she heard from him. The Amanullahs are devout Muslims who emigrated from Karachi, Pakistan, in 1989. Mehr says their marriage was arranged by their fathers, who were close friends. "He and I never had a fight in our lives," she says. "I was totally dependent on him." Waiting at their home are their two children, Talha, 13, and Hiba, 10, as well as Tariq's parents, who live with them. "We actually moved here because the political condition in Pakistan is not good," Mehr says. "We felt safe here, that the future was safe for our kids and us, too." Now, she says, "people keep telling me that they are very, very afraid of going outside."

He was always smiling, and he had such a wonderful smile.

--Yael, who declines to give her last name, on her cousin Shai Levinhar, who emigrated from Israel five years ago and worked at Cantor Fitzgerald

Susana Ferreira and John Cruz got engaged in late August, but they had already booked Ferreira's hometown church, Sacred Heart in Yonkers, N.Y., for their wedding on Sept. 21 of next year. Cruz, 32, a devout Christian who read from a small Bible every morning on the train to work, handled domestic equities for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 101st floor of Tower 1. Ferreira called him there on the morning of Sept. 11 to remind him about their plans to look at reception halls that night. Halfway through the conversation, she says, "the line just dropped." Then Cruz's voice came back: "I think we've been hit by something. I have to go."

Bobby McMahon, 35, met his wife, Julie, seven years ago, when he volunteered at a camp for children with cancer where she was a nurse. For the past nine years, he was a fireman with SoHo's Ladder Company 20. "It appealed to him as far as helping people," says his wife, a nurse practitioner in the pediatric ward at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Their son, Matthew, is 19 months old, and Julie is five and a half months pregnant. "He's a strong guy, so we're still hoping," she says. "This is what we have to do to survive."

Teddington (Ted) Moy, a civilian printing specialist who worked for the Army in the Pentagon, usually called his wife, Madeline, 50, a teacher, three times a day: after she'd gotten to work, once school was out and then later to see that she'd gotten home safe. On Sept. 11, "I only heard from him at 8 in the morning," Madeline Moy says. "I know he died in peace, because he loved what he was doing." Ted Moy, 48, was a printer for the armed forces for 18 years. His wife says he was "a very patriotic person." On the Fourth of July he would wear a T shirt, a hat, shorts and a necktie all decorated with the American flag. "With that hat, looking like Uncle Sam, he started to point to my boy"--Daniel Ted, 14--"and he said, 'You! You! You! Uncle Sam wants you!' "

--Ellen Mariani, on her husband, Neil, 58, who was flying to California for her daughter's wedding. He had no life insurance or medical benefits and was the family breadwinner.

Cecilia Lillo, an administrator for the Port Authority, says she would never have escaped from the 64th floor of Tower 1 were it not for her husband, Carlos, a paramedic for the New York City Fire Department. He had helped her work out an escape strategy years ago. "I was in the bombing in 1993, and we always talked about it," says Cecilia, 35. "I said that if I had to jump over people to get out of the building, I would make it outside because I knew he'd be waiting for me." Carlos, 37, had been called to the disaster scene that morning and was posted near her building, but the couple never met up. Carlos is missing. Another paramedic who saw Carlos at the scene told Cecilia that her husband's eyes were watering. "He asked him if the smoke was bothering him, and Carlos said, 'No, my wife is inside that building'."

Alexander Ivantsov, 23, was proud of his job as a computer programmer for Cantor Fitzgerald and proud of the place he worked--the 104th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Ivantsov, who came from Siberia a year ago with his new wife, Anya, once sent home a picture of the building with an arrow pointing to his office window. He was at work in that office on the morning of Sept. 11. "He wanted to become a programmist from the first time he saw a computer," says his father, Valery, who has been talking by phone with Anya and following the story on television in Siberia. "There are only a few people in Russia like him."