September 11, I dropped my two eldest sons off at nursery school
and was listening to the radio on the drive home when I heard
that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I thought it was
a bad joke; this could not be happening. Reaching home, I turned
on NBC and saw the blazing building. Unreal, I thought, as initial
theories were offered of a small commuter plane gone awry. Then,
along with millions of other Americans, I saw the second plane
strike. My heart sank. Terrorism, they said.
Immediately my mind took me back to that
evening in December 1988 when I sat in Hendricks Chapel with my
sorority sisters at a vigil for victims of Pan Am 103. I lost
three Pi Beta Phi sisters and two other friends in the terrorist
bombing. Our sorority was targeted by the media—the press rang
our doorbell and asked for my roommate by name to get the shocked
reaction. An Associated Press photographer sat at the end of our
pew at Hendricks and shot pictures of us. This tragedy wasn’t
supposed to happen—they were too young, too innocent, and had
too much of their future ahead of them. Ever since then, I’ve
wanted vengeance. But 13 years later, in my opinion, justice still
has not been served.
I watched over and over the horror of the plane
crashing into the tower, and thought about friends who worked
there. The phone soon began to ring as one by one I heard of friends
and acquaintances who had escaped—and those who were missing.
That evening my husband and I reviewed the people we knew who
worked downtown. Among them was Jason Jacobs, a good friend of
mine from SU who worked at Fiduciary Trust. I called his wife,
Jennifer, the next morning. She told me she hadn’t heard from
him since before the first plane struck the north tower (Tower
I). Jason’s office was on the 97th floor of the south tower. He
and 90 others from his company were still unaccounted for.
During the days that followed I called Jennifer
often and went with others to sit with her and hope and pray.
We initially thought that he was down in the basement of the buildings,
or perhaps trapped. But as time went on it became increasingly
clear that Jason probably wouldn’t return home.