Many people responded to Foxnews.com's request for personal accounts of Sept. 11 by sending us tributes to their lost loved ones. Below are their rememberances, in their own words:
My Best Friend & Boyfriend
Eric was my boyfriend and best friend for almost seven years. He is now looking over his family, our friends and me, giving us guidance and strength to go through our new lives without him.
Eric was so giving and loving to everyone he cared about. He was the kind of gentleman you could take anywhere. Eric had a way of making everyone feel like he understood them- and he had a way of making everyone feel special.
He was so intelligent…he spent countless hours discussing his views and trying to understand life. He used to volunteer at the Catholic Worker in Manhattan. He would regularly donate clothing, and cooked meals & served them to the needy several Christmas mornings, before celebrating with his family.
Eric loved people. He liked to be the first one at a party and the last to leave. He never wanted to miss a thing. He loved getting dressed up for a fun night out. He loved fine dining and good wines. Everyone liked Eric. The guys at our corner deli nicknamed him "Esse" which means posse in Spanish. They loved seeing him every morning, and always had his coffee waiting. Eric was one of those kindred spirits that people are just drawn to, and once you get to know him you know him for life.
I am deeply saddened that I can't go through life with my best friend and my boyfriend for so many years. At some point in time I will be able to think of him without breaking down. When I do, I will always have a smile on my face. I know that he does now--Estee Pouleris, girlfriend of Eric Steen, who worked for Eurobrokers on the 84th Floor of World Trade Center Tower Two.
The Soul of Our Family
Our Thanksgiving had no dinner… that was my dad's job. Our Christmas had no laughter… that was my dad's job. My wedding in January had no giving away of the bride…that was my dad's job…The summer had no car wash, barbecue, long rides to no where, hot dogs, rafting…because that was my dad's job. We all miss him. We all cry every day. It hasn't gone away, or lessened even. We lost the soul of our family that day. -- Jessica Morello Lo Re, daughter of Steven P. Morello, facilities manager for Marsh McLennan, World Trade Center 1.
A Lost Friend
Laura and I have been the best of friends for 27 years. We met when I was 11 years old. I can't ever remember a time when we were not together. Laura was a "constant" in my life and now she is gone. There are no words to express this grevious loss. The only thing I can do now, in her memory, is to fight for peace and to create a world where "Sept 11" will never happen again.
Laura was an amazing person who was full of life, love and energy. She was exuberant with an incredible amount of stamina. She loved her family, her husband and her son more than life. She was an incredibly patriotic person who loved her country. I know had she survived, she would be by my side, fighting behind all the Sept. 11 Causes. Laura loved her job at AON, loved New York City, and was always thrilled to be located in the Twin Towers of the WTC.-- Maria Ragonese, sister-in-law to Laura Marie Ragonese-Snik, who worked at the World Trade Center on the 101st floor of the South Tower
Fatherhood Cut Short
Paul was a loving husband, father, son, brother, and uncle remembered for his closeness to family members and genuine kindness and modesty. Despite his many academic and professional successes, Paul considered the adoption, with his wife Audrey, of "Rocky" Richard Harry Hyun-Soo Friedman just a few short months before Sept. 11 to be his most important personal accomplishment-- Iris J. Friedman-Pollack, sister of Paul J. Friedman, a passenger on Flight 11
My sister Cheryle began collecting dolls around ten years ago, hoping she would have grand-daughters to pass them onto. She had a collection of about 500 dolls, from large to miniature.
Shortly after Cheryle’s death at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, my three nieces -- Cheryle’s daughters-- and my sister-in-law decided to pick a doll from Cheryle’s collection to give to our mother. The large porcelain doll had a beautiful round face and dark curly hair. One of the girls thought she looked like their grandmother…
A few months later, my mother found a collector’s magazine on the table in the community room of her apartment complex. She opened the magazine and to her surprise there was a picture of the doll and a story about it. The doll is one of three in a series called "Coming up Roses" by Marie Osmond. The doll’s name is "Remember Me." The other two in the series are named "American Classic Rose" and "Peace Rose."
Neither my nieces nor my sister-in-law had any idea that the doll was named "Remember Me," only that it was a Marie Osmond doll and that my mother would recognize that name. I believe there are angels here on earth and Cheryle’s angel left that magazine for her mother to find, to let her know she was okay, she was finally home, and that one-day she would see her again. -- Janet Pequin, sister of Cheryle Sincock, who worked in the Pentagon as an administrative assistant to a Major General in the U.S. Army.
The one thing people people said continuously about Barbara was that her laughter was contagious. The kind, good hearted soul that was taken from her family and enormous amount of friends can and will never be replaced…. (Our son) Scotty, 3 has so many of the wonderful qualities that his grandmother displayed and looks just like her. The way his face lights up is the same look she had when she would see him. He is still too young to understand the depth of it all and knows she is in Heaven, but doesn't understand, when he looks up to the sky, why he can't see her…
Barbara was on the flight with two close family friends, Ret. Rear Admiral "Buddy" Wilson Flagg and his wife Dee Flagg. They we on their way to the west coast after attending a friend of the family's wedding… The past year of our lives has almost seemed unreal, some sort of a dream. I think the one thing that keeps us going is knowing that Barbara is in good hands and that she is with Dee and Buddy. We can almost hear her up in Heaven, saying, "you guys go on, don't worry about me, I'll be fine." That's just the kind of person she was—Christina Edwards, daughter-in-law of Barbara Edwards, who died aboard Flight 77.
Our Hearts Our Ripped Out
On August 11 2001, my brother Luke Nee sailed out of New York Harbor bound for Bermuda with his wife Irene, his son Patrick, his parents John and Mary Nee and his siblings, cousins, aunt, nieces and nephews, 19 people in all, to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday. As our group passed the Twin Towers, Luke pointed out his office on the 104th floor of Tower One.
One month later, on Sept. 11, 2001, Luke called his wife Irene and told her how much he loved her and Patrick. He also told her that he was going to die. It was his wedding anniversary.
Luke was a friendly, kind, peaceful and unaffected guy… there is not much to say but our hearts are ripped out.
Our whole family is like broken glass and there is a terrible sense of betrayal from our government when we see them entertaining Saudi princes -- Mary Nee Reilly, sister of Luke Nee, who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center.
A Lost Son
Waleed was one of those rare and remarkable individuals who managed to touch the lives of everyone he knew. He had many interests, and he believed in living his life to the fullest... Known for his compassion and kindness, many of his friends remember his irrepressible optimism and his ever-present smile. Waleed’s brother-in-law said of him, "Wherever he was, that became the best place in the world to be.-- Joseph Iskandar, father of Waleed Joseph Iskandar, who died aboard American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston.
An 'Ordinary' Man
Howard was a really good man. That may seem an ordinary epithet, but Howard thought of himself as an ordinary man -- an ordinary husband, an ordinary father and an ordinary friend… He loved and cared for his family, helped friends, visited with the homeless, lonely and infirmed. His modesty and leprechaun smile belied how quiet and graceful, without fanfare, the shining spirit of an extraordinary good man can touch and transform others. He would have been surprised that anyone noticed him, for that is not what he sought. And that is why we who love him are so honored to have known him, if only for a moment. -- Gran Kestenbaum, wife of Howard Kestenbaum, who died in World Trade Center Tower Two.
A Missed Sister
She was an ordinary person who went to work that Tuesday just like any other day, and never returned. Her remains were never found -- only her drivers license and a credit card were recovered relatively unscathed. She was truly a good person. Everyone tends to say that about people who have died ... but in this case, it is very true. Diane had the kindest heart. She was loved by many and she is very missed. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of her-- Gina Van Quest, sister of Diane G. Barry of Staten Island, N.Y., who was killed in the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
A Family Tragedy
One cannot imagine what this year has been like for my family. There is Mindy, Alan's wife, their three children, Alan's father and his three sisters and his grandparents. Can you imagine two people, well into their eighties, see their grandchild murdered in such a way?
We are getting through this tragedy as a family. We are all there for each other. We could not have done it without the strong family ties that we have. As the anniversary is nearing I am panicked. I did not expect this since we had our memorial, had our funeral seven months later and have been grieving daily. How much worse can it get? But it is worse. It is now officially one year since we have seen him or spoken to me. I can never hear him say "hi" from his cell phone on his way home from work.
Alan was a wonderful son, husband, father and brother and grandson. In my eyes, he was going to be the family patriarch. He was bright, and oh so witty and well liked by all.
I was going through my pictures last week and I came upon a very fond memory. When Alan was a teenager he sent me one dozen roses for Valentine's day. I took a picture of them beause no one had ever sent me roses before. How very special that was. He was my first born, my only son, and I grieve for him as only a mother can grieve for a child.-- Vicki Shoemaker, mother of Alan Kleinberg, who worked on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center.
An Inspiration to Us All
Stephen was from Sydney, Australia, and was sent to New York for a three month business trip in September, 1986. The project was with my company and we fell in love immediately and were not separated again for more than a few days.
My husband was the best person I’ve ever known and ever will know. He was an incredible human being -- a loving and devoted husband and father...an inspiration to all who knew him. Steve’s priorities were clearly stated in his "Tompsett Manifesto" -- the values which he wrote down and lived every day. One of the main points of the Manifesto is that "Family is more important than work. Period". He believed it and lived it. Although he worked very hard and made great money, he was home every night by 8:00 p.m. to put our daughter Emily to bed. He would then spend some time with me then continue working on his laptop until 12:00 or 1:00 am. He knew just his presence with us was what was important.
Steve was 39 years old and although he’d only lived a short while his life was full, happy and incredibly productive. It is often said that people say good things about someone when they die. The true indication of what Steve was and he lived his life is that the people he touched, who all have said and written incredible things about him since his death, said the same things about him while he was with us. He was an incredibly humble man. The CEO of Instinet said during his eulogy at Stephen’s memorial service that he "would have been terribly embarrassed about all this attention".
Stephen’s strength, courage and brilliance continue to inspire us and help us continue in this life without his gentle, guiding presence...We miss him every minute of every day and look to the day when we can be with him in heaven.--Dorry Tompsett, wife of Stephen Tompsett, Senior Vice President of Corporate Technology at Instinet Corporation, who died while attending the Risk Waters conference at Windows on the World at the World Trade Center. She is the founder of the Stephen K. Tompsett Memorial Fund for Technology in Education in his memory.