BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – September 11, 2014 marks the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and the sacrifice and bravery of those aboard United Airlines Flight 93. Some 3,500 people died in the attacks, including 9 with ties to Hawaii.
Rich Lee, 34, a Punahou graduate, who played football at Yale, worked on 103rd floor of the World Trade Center at Cantor Fitzgerald where focused on equities technology. He was known for his creativity demonstrated in the symphonies, plays and comic strips he wrote. He left behind his son Zachary, 2, and his wife Karen.
Lee worked with on the same floor as Michael Collins, 38, a manager at the brokerage firm Cantor Fitzgerald. Collins was married to Lissa Collins, a Leilehua High School graduate. He sought adventure in many countries, skiing and snowboarding down mountains all over the world and biking across Hawaii.
Just above Lee and Collins, on the 107th floor, Heather Ho, 32, a Punahou graduate, worked in “Windows on the World” restaurant where she was considered a culinary star. She was an award-winning pastry chef and dreamed of opening her own business.
Maile Hale, a Kaiser high graduate, was nearby enjoying the restaurant’s view and food while at a meeting. Hale was the chief operating officer of Boston Investor Services, where she managed billions of dollars for the company. She wasn’t just smart – she also graceful, a talented ballet and modern dancer. She was in New York for a conference.
Richard Keane, 54, a senior vice-president of Marsh Incorporated, also was at a meeting in the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. His sister Charlotte worked at Kuakini Medical Center in Honolulu. A father of 5 boys, Keane was known for his coaching, gardening, charity to those in need, and enthusiasm for music.
Another former Hawaii resident who moved away after graduating from Our Redeemer Lutheran in 1979 was Patricia Colodner, 39. She was an executive secretary at Marsh & McLennan on the 96th floor of the north tower. She was a dedicated mother of a 2-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl who took her children on many adventures. She also left behind her husband, Warren.
David Laychak, 40, was a talented athlete who was married to Laurie, a graduate of Hawaii Baptist Academy and teacher in Washington DC. He was working as a civilian budget analyst in the Pentagon when it was attacked. He worked for the Army for 17 years, and met his wife at the Pentagon where she also worked at one time.
Georgine Corrigan, 56, a grandmother and antiques dealer from Hawaii Kai, was on United Airlines Flight 93 which crashed into Shanksville, Pennsylvania after terrorists hijacked the plane. Corrigan has worked as a bank teller and in the textiles industry before opening her own business. She left behind her daughter, Laura Brough, Bryan Buck, her son-in-law; and her grandsons Evan and Dylan, who also lived in Hawaii.
Christine Snyder, an arborist and project manager for the Outdoor Circle, was also on Flight 93, which was on its way from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco. Snyder reportedly changed her flight four times in an effort to get home to Kailua.
Passenger Todd Beamer, also on Flight 93, organized passengers to rally against the terrorists after they learned from loved ones via cell phone that the terrorists would likely attempt to crash their plane into a significant target, possibly The White House.
The Shanksville, PA memorial to 9-11 victims of United Airlines Flight 93
Beamer yelled, “Let’s roll!” as he and several other passengers rushed down the airplane’s isles in an effort to overwhelm the hijackers.
The 9/11 Commission reports that rather than losing control, the hijackers crashed Flight 93.
The victims with Hawaii ties and the others are remembered at the growing memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania that I was fortunate enough to visit. I also visited the Pentagon and Ground Zero in New York to witness the devastation, and it was indescribable and life changing.
All across America today, people will reflect on the 9-11 attacks and how it’s changed all of our lives, from a terrifying awaking of terrorism on our own soil, to terrorism attacks on Americans and our allies across the world, to more of our young people joining the military, to new airport security measures and to pilots who carry firearms.
Editor’s note: background on the 9-11 victims from Hawaii provided in part by the NY Times.