As the tenth year anniversary of 9/11 approaches, it is my hope that we take a moment no matter where you are at to stop and remember that yes the world changed that day, but the lives of 2,996 families changed even more. 2,996 families lost loved ones that day and it is the purpose of the 2996 project to make sure we never forget them.
To be quite honest, I wasn't sure just what to write. There have been
several memorials not only to Thomas, but to all of the 2996 that died
that day. The more I read, the more I realized that even though this
was a shock to the nation, I want to emphasize that Thomas is more than a
statistic, more than just one of the number of people who died that
Thomas was a husband to Joanne and a father to his two little girls
Catherine and Caroline. He was a family man who loved to be with his
family. He was an athletic man who was to compete in a marathon with
his brother a week after 9/11. He was a caring man towards all of his
family as his brother James told Newsday reporter Lawrence Striegel how
he was living in Michigan in 1996 when his wife, Fran, became very ill.
Tom helped get Fran admitted to a special private room at Columbia
Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan during six months of treatment
for Wegener's granulomatosis, an autoimmune disease, and then visited
her often while James was back in the Midwest. "He said, 'Put her in
there and we'll worry about the money later,"' James said.
Thomas started off his business career at Merrill Lynch as a trainee. He
had spent his last seven years at Sandler O'Neill Partners, where he
was a managing director for equities. His work ethic was reflected in a
comment that one of Thomas' clients mad to Thomas' mother "Even though I
wasn't a large investor, he always made me feel so important. ... He
never brushed me off." He was at work on the 104th floor of 2 World
Trade Center during the Sept. 11 attacks.
To Joanne, Catherine and Caroline, please know that the man to whom you
gave all your love to as wife and daughters didn't die in vain. He is
NOT some statistic that will be placed in some history book. He is a
man who loved life and the three of you and is an inspiration to all of
us. You see, I have two daughters as well; my oldest is twelve and my
youngest turns 9 in two weeks. And after reading about this wonderful
man I want to make sure that I show as much love to my family as he did
to you for life is very precious and too short.
My heart goes out to the three of you this day, to all of Thomas'
family, and to all of the family of the remaining 2995 persons who
perished this day. May we all NEVER FORGET!