Always Remember, Never Forget.

National September 11 Memorial

In 2012, I started a new personal tradition for the National Day of Remembrance. I had visited the National September 11 Memorial when I was in Manhattan for BlogHer ’12, and was extremely moved by the experience (massive understatement). It occurred to me that, rather than passively watch the televised tributes and read what the rest of the internet had to say about 9/11, each year I would involve myself by actively remembering and learning about a couple of the victims of that terrible day.

Luke G. Nee worked in municipal bonds operations at Cantor Fitzgerald. He married his wife Irene on September 11, 1982 and they had a son, Patrick. He loved the Yankees and often attended games with friends from school, or with his family. In 2007 the intersection of Minerva Place and the Grand Concourse in the North Fordham neighborhood of the Bronx, three blocks from where he grew up, was renamed “Luke Nee 9-11-01” in memory of this proud local son.

Karen Elizabeth Hagerty, a senior vice president for Aon Risk Services, was 34 years old on the day of the attacks. In reading about her I discovered that she shared my “Go Big or Go Home” philosophy, once leading a charity drive for an entire homeless shelter in the Bronx, having to hire a moving truck because she got so many donations. She also threw a birthday party for her horse, Ricardo: “A caterer brought a carrot cake in the shape of a horseshoe. There were 40 nonequine guests, and goody bags for every horse in the barn. “My sister loved her animals more than life,” Deborah Anne Hagerty said. “She called them her kids.” Someone who knew her well left a comment under one of the online obituaries that said in part, “She was an outrageous, funny, generous girl.”

LeRoy Homer, Jr was the First Officer on United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after being hijacked on 9-11, killing all 37 passengers and seven crew members. He grew up on Long Island in New York and was interested in aviation at an early age, making his first solo flight when he was sixteen. He entered the United States Air Force Academy as a member of the class of 1987. He graduated in 1987, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. Homer and his wife Melodie had one daughter, Laurel. For his actions on board Flight 93, Homer received many awards and citations posthumously, including honorary membership in the historic Tuskegee Airmen; the Congress of Racial Equality’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award; the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Drum Major for Justice Award; and the Westchester County Trailblazer Award. The LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Foundation was founded in 2002. Its mission is to encourage and support young adults who wish to pursue careers as professional pilots. In addition, The Foundation promotes awareness about aviation careers to disadvantaged youth.

If you would like to do some learning and remembering today, here’s how. All you have to do is go to the September 11 Memorial website’s Memorial Guide and scroll down a little bit. On the bottom left of the screen you can click on North Pool or South Pool for a name listing. After that, pick a couple out and Google them. That’s it. It’s such a small task but so important, and the families appreciate any interest in their lost loved ones. THIS is something anyone can do.

If you would like to read about my visit to the September 11 Memorial in 2012, click here.

Hug your loved ones today. Always Remember, Never Forget.