New Mexico remembers 9/11 - Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico remembers 9/11

New Mexicans share their memories of that fateful day and how it continues to affect their lives

Karissa Romero
Mother of 9/11 baby overjoyed by birth, overcome by tragedy

Before the date meant anything to anyone else, Sept. 11, 2001, was the birthday of Karissa Romero’s third child.
Romero, of Los Lunas, gave birth to daughter Mariciela at 2:45 a.m., at Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque and fell asleep. When she called her sister the next morning, asking her to swing by to see the new baby, Romero learned about the chaos playing out on TV screens around the world.
“I thought the worst,” Romero said. “I thought we were going to be in some kind of war.”
Laying in a hospital bed, glued to the TV, Romero was relieved and joyful for the birth of her daughter, but also overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty about the world she had brought a new life into.
“You felt like you were pretty safe here in the United States,” she said, “so anything that bad, I was worried for my kids. You just didn’t know what was going to happen.
“And I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I just had another baby.’ ”
Now that time has given the family some perspective, Romero says she sees the day in a more complicated light than most.
“She is a blessing,” Romero says of Mariciela. “You know, there’s so much tragedy, but still she’s here.”
(Turn to Page E1 in today’s Journal for more on Mariciela and other 9/11 babies.)
— Matt Andazola

Eric Draper
White House photographer watched through lens as nightmare unfolded

Eric Draper watched through his camera lens as President George W. Bush’s facial expressions slumped while the president was reading “My Pet Goat” with a class of Florida schoolchildren.
Draper couldn’t hear what an aide whispered into the president’s ear that morning 10 years ago, but he knew from the look on the president’s face that something horrible had occurred.
“All of a sudden, the world changed,” Draper recalled from his Rio Rancho home recently.
Draper, the president’s official photographer, took about 1,300 photographs that day: pictures of Bush making his first phone calls to government leaders and preparing to address the nation; images of the president coming to terms with a new reality as he sat aboard Air Force One, prevented from returning to Washington, D.C., until the capital was deemed safe.
“Watching someone who had the responsibility of deciding our country’s reaction to what was unfolding, it was very intense. And it was one of those days that really played out like a nightmare. Everything just got worse and worse and worse,” Draper recalled.
Draper said his memories of Sept. 11 are largely limited to the photos he took. Using his camera to document the horrors unfolding was his way of coping.
“As long as I was reacting to it, I wasn’t comprehending it,” he said. “I had a shield in front of me to distract me, and I really didn’t digest what was happening until later.”
Draper didn’t know much about what was happening around him or where Air Force One was headed, surrounded by a phalanx of fighter jets.
So he continued clicking the camera shutter and tried to keep up with the president. In the days to come, Draper cataloged history as Bush stood among rescue crews at ground zero, hugged the families of victims and assured the nation that the U.S. would fight back.
“That entire week really felt like one long day. I don’t really remember sleeping (during) the days that followed,” Draper said.
Draper worked for the president until Bush left the White House in January 2009. A former Albuquerque Tribune photographer, he is back in New Mexico operating an independent photography business.
“Sometimes, I have to kind of pinch myself, like, was I really there? When it’s happening in the moment, it’s all about reacting. Sometimes, there’s really no chance to think about things. Now is the time to put these photos in perspective and their place in history,” he said.
The photos Draper took on Sept. 11, 2001, are among the 950,000 he shot during Bush’s term. The collection is archived in Bush’s presidential library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
For Draper, the 10th anniversary means just as much as past years’ observances.
“Every year around this time, I reflect. Every year since 9/11, there’s always been in my life some type of reflection, some type of memorial, some type of recognition of what happened. So much happened that day in history, it’s just ingrained in my life now. It’s something I never forget.”
— James Monteleone

Louis Trujillo
Coffee break saved Taos man in tower attack

SANTA FE — On Sept. 11, 2001, Louis Trujillo’s need for a coffee break turned out to be crucial.
“Deciding to go for an espresso saved my life,” the 53-year-old Taos resident said last week.
Retired from the military, Trujillo was working for a securities firm, where his office was on the 67th floor of the south tower.
The other tower was hit first.
Trujillo recalled that people in the south tower were initially directed to make emergency exits via the stairwells, but a voice over the audio system soon came on to say that the plane hitting the other tower was considered an accident and it was safe to go back to work.
But Trujillo decided to keep heading down. “It was the perfect excuse,” he said, “to go to the mall area (between the towers) and have an espresso while things settled down.”
The second plane slammed into the south tower above him when Trujillo had descended to about floor 47. A pressure blast surged down the stairwell.
“I spent a lot of time in the military, but I never heard an explosion that lasted that long,” he recalled. The tower, he said, “swayed like a willow tree in a slight breeze.”
Now everyone knew they had to get out. Trujillo said he and other men on the stairs decided to lock arms “to ensure that we held the crowd to a safe speed” and avoid a disastrous pile-up.
At ground level, the area was swarming with emergency vehicles, and the streets were flooded with people leaving buildings.
A block away, Trujillo passed a large blood spatter on the pavement. “The EMTs had picked up as much as they could,” Trujillo said. A pair of brown wingtips were left behind.
Later, by cellphone, Trujillo managed to get through to his parents back in Taos — for about 15 seconds.
Trujillo did get that espresso, when he came across a shop that was open amid the chaos. He and others watched the unfolding disaster on television.
“When I saw it on TV was the first time I got scared,” Trujillo said. He said he remembered saying, “Is this World War III that we’re starting?”
Trujillo said he hasn’t been back to New York. “The 9/11 experience is still with me and those memories will never be lost to me.”
On the 10th anniversary of the attacks, Trujillo said he still wonders why so many people had to die. “I spent 25 years in the military, and it was the first time I was a civilian being rescued as opposed to being a rescuer.”
And every time he sees pictures of flag-draped caskets returning from Iraq or Afghanistan, Trujillo said, “If you think about it a little bit, this is where it all started.”
— Mark Oswald

Stephan Marshall
Eight months later, FBI agent sifted through remains

Stephan Marshall, then an FBI agent based in Austin, was sent to New York eight months after the twin towers fell. Authorities were still looking for remains.
Marshall, now the chief division counsel for the Albuquerque FBI office, was to find anything that could identify a person — bone fragments, belts, badges.
Marshall was at the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island in a full body suit — like a spaceman farming the moon, he said — sifting through what remained of the World Trade Center. Marshall worked there for 10 days.
“We were just hoping some of what we found was going to give somebody closure,” he said.
He helped find a gun holster engraved with an officer’s name that helped identify him as one of the dead, Marshall said.
Of all the things he encountered, water hoses affected him the most.
“I told myself they were from the stairwells,” Marshall said, meaning the type of emergency equipment found in high-rises.
Less than two weeks later, while watching a documentary of the events, he realized the hoses likely belonged to firefighters who were running up the buildings to save people, firefighters who were likely now dead.
Looking up at the Manhattan skyline was also a source of trauma.
“I’d never been to Manhattan, but I’d seen pictures, and there were supposed to be towers there,” Marshall said.
His time at the landfill, Marshall said, left an unshakable memory of both a difficult time and an event to be proud of.
“It was a miserable two weeks, but I think all of us felt very proud to have the opportunity to have gone,” he said.
— Astrid Galvan

Sen. Jeff Bingaman
9/11 forced nation to switch priority to security, hurting other issues

Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, who was across the street from the Capitol when the first news of 9/11 came, says the tragedy of the terrorist attacks on the United States awakened Americans to weaknesses in the country’s security and identity around the world.
And that new awareness has dominated the attention of U.S. leaders for much of the past decade, says Bingaman, who will retire at the end of 2012 after 30 years in the U.S. Senate.
“I think we were oblivious to the vulnerabilities we had, and I think the dangerous nature of the world we live in requires that we guard against those vulnerabilities — and we probably will be required to for a long, long time.
“One obvious effect is that, for the first time in our history, we had to begin taking the threat of terrorist attacks domestically as a serious threat … and to put in place precautions to deal with it, and the most visible of those precautions is the beefed-up security at airports.
“A fairly direct and immediate result was the beginning of our military involvement in Afghanistan. … We’ve lived with that war for the last 10 years, and it’s now the longest war in the history of the country. … Unfortunately, I think (the attacks) also resulted in our military involvement in Iraq. …
“I think, more broadly speaking, the 9/11 attack had the effect of diverting our attention from a lot of issues that we should have spent the first decade of the century working on — strengthening our education system, strengthening our manufacturing base, strengthening our health care delivery system.”
But on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Bingaman said, Americans should also take time to remember the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives that day and should think in gratitude of Americans serving in the nation’s armed forces.
— Journal Politics Editor John Robertson

Dr. Yahseen Cheema
President of Islam Center: the acts of few tainted many

Although he had spent years in America, Yahseen Cheema was living in his native Pakistan when he heard about the terrorist attack in New York.
“My first reaction was, this is going to be very bad for the Muslim countries and Muslims,” Cheema said. “And these people who were involved, they have not done any service to Islam.”
He said his fears largely came true.
“The position of many Muslims in (the United States) became precarious. And as a result, at least two Muslim countries, they are almost destroyed, and a lot of things have changed that are not good for Muslims across the country,” Cheema said.
Cheema returned to the United States in 2003 to become the chief hand surgeon at University of New Mexico Hospital. He is now president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, which acts as a prayer and cultural community center for Muslims in New Mexico.
He said the consensus among Muslims is that they have been tainted by a small number of radicals who have misused Islam for political purposes. Slowly, he said, more and more Americans are catching on.
“Most of the people have come to realize that no religion endorses terrorism. People use religion to achieve political objectives,” Cheema said, adding that the first modern terrorism tactics were practiced by Sri Lankan Hindus and the Irish Republican Army.
“They were doing all this, but nobody blamed Christianity or Hinduism as a cause of terrorism,” he said. “The whole (Islamic) religion and the whole community is blamed for (9/11). As opposed to a person kills 70 people in Norway, nobody blames Christianity for that — and they should not.”
But Cheema said a positive discussion did emerge from the tragedy, and it has become more noticeable as the years have passed.
“Despite these difficulties which many Muslims have had to face, in a way it has been good for Islam. It has exposed people to this religion and given many Muslims the opportunity to explain themselves,” Cheema said.
— Sean Olson

Michael Coleman
Journal’s Washington correspondent: ‘Most surreal 45 minutes of my life’

Sept. 11 started so peacefully. My alarm clock, tuned to National Public Radio, woke me from a sound sleep. I swung open the back door of my new Capitol Hill apartment. Wow. It was gorgeous outside. As I made coffee, I heard something on NPR about an airplane hitting the World Trade Center.
“That’s bizarre,” I thought as I headed into the bathroom and turned on the shower. “How in the hell does a plane fly into the World Trade Center?”
By the time I got out of the shower, I knew the answer. NPR’s morning hosts — similarly puzzled a few minutes before — were now reporting the second plane strike. I flipped the television on and now-iconic images of burning buildings filled the screen. The day had suddenly swerved from idyllic to insane.
I remember being overcome by an intense need to get to work. As I headed out the door, my neighbor informed me (wrongly) that the Metro system was closed. I made an impulsive decision to jump in my truck and drive downtown to my office. Bad call. I wheeled onto I-395 and into an apocalyptic traffic jam.
I spent 45 minutes traveling a quarter-mile. It was the most surreal 45 minutes of my life. Cell phones jammed, I listened to local radio. An anchor reported (erroneously, as it turned out) that there was a car bomb at the State Department. Then came news (accurate) of an attack on the Pentagon. It seemed the city was under attack and like some hapless Beltway idiot, I was sitting in traffic. I ditched my truck on the shoulder of the first exit and started walking.
I hustled through a crowded, mildly chaotic downtown scene — past the Department of Energy, the museums of Natural History and American History and finally the last couple of blocks to the National Press Club, where the Journal had an office. Standing on the adjacent Freedom Plaza, I spotted plumes of smoke across the Potomac River where the damaged Pentagon stood.
I went to my office and started checking on New Mexico’s congressional delegation. They were OK. I made some more calls, commiserated with some colleagues in the hallways and eventually filed a story. It was late afternoon when I went back outside.
The downtown streets were empty. The city had evacuated. Two blocks from the White House, a lone Humvee cruised down 14th Street manned by a soldier hoisting an automatic weapon. The streets were peaceful, but it was clear that America was at war.
— Michael Coleman

Dr. Paul Roth
UNM medical disaster team faced new role: treating workers, search dogs

Medical workers arrive at the scene of a disaster primed to rescue survivors and save lives.
But after 9/11, members of a New Mexico medical team quickly found themselves mired in a mood of despair that pervaded workers at ground zero, said team commander Dr. Paul Roth.
“As rescue people and emergency medicine people, we charge into a scene with the intention of saving people and rescuing them,” said Roth of the University of New Mexico’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team, which was called to ground zero about three weeks after the attacks.
It was, of course, too late for any rescues.
Team members trained to save lives instead provided first aid to the thousands of workers sifting through mountains of debris at the site.
“I think we were caught up in that general sense of disappointment, frustration,” Roth said.
Roth, UNM chancellor for health sciences, founded DMAT in the 1980s to provide a rapid medical response after natural disasters. The New Mexico team had its trial run in 1989 when Category 5 Hurricane Hugo slammed into the Virgin Islands.
In New York after 9/11, the team’s 34 doctors, nurses and EMTs worked the night shift, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., treating cuts, eye injuries and setting broken bones. They also provided veterinary services for rescue dogs that burned their paws in the still-smoldering wreckage.
Pulmonary problems — coughs and lung irritation — started to show up among workers breathing in smoke and dust. In years to come, thousands of workers would show symptoms of impaired lung function and other health problems as a result of exposure to toxic dust and smoke at ground zero.
“At the site, the stench was just incredible,” Roth recalled. Workers only began using protective breathing gear several weeks after the attack, he said. “Nobody really had a clue that the particulate matter floating around would have caused any problems.”
— Olivier Uyttebrouck

Michael Kozeliski
9/11 triggers 30-year-old’s switch from politics to Marine Corps

Gallup native Michael Kozeliski was working at the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., on 9/11 when the person he was talking to on the phone told him a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center in New York.
“I was thinking it was just a small prop plane that happened to crash into it, but then a colleague came down the hallway and told me what was really going on,” Kozeliski said by phone from his Kozeliski Ventures office in Washington.
As his building was evacuated, Kozeliski walked past the office of then-Interior Secretary Gale Ann Norton, where a steaming cup of coffee and partly eaten doughnut sat on her desk.
The attacks brought Kozeliski to a personal crossroads.
“I had gone to the Marine Officer Recruiting Station about a month before 9/11, trying to decide whether I should join or stay in the political world,” he said.
Kozeliski, who had worked on Sen. Pete Domenici’s 1996 re-election campaign and helped direct President Bush’s 2000 New Mexico campaign, had been considering working on the coming midterm elections.
Like most Americans, he watched the events of 9/11 unfold on television, where the crumbling of the towers was repeated time and time again.
Feeling they couldn’t watch the disaster any longer, he and some friends walked to a nearby Catholic church.
“There were a lot of people in there, which was pleasant to see. We said a few prayers, and I remember thinking I could seek money or be in politics anytime, but I can’t go out and defend freedom anytime. ”
He signed up for Marine Officer Candidate School a few days later and, at age 31, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in August 2002. In September 2004, he began his first of two tours in Iraq. He left active duty in July 2007 but remains a captain in the Marine Corps Reserve. While in Iraq, he received a Purple Heart for shrapnel wounds suffered in combat.
Today’s anniversary, he said, is an opportunity for reflection.
“A lot of people have died defending our freedoms, and there are those who will die in the future. We need to keep that in mind, like we do on Memorial Day or Veterans Day,” he said. “We need to stop and remember what it felt like that day, and to remember those who died in the attacks and those who have died on the battlefields since.”
— Charles Brunt

Jessica Dickman
Sunport administrator sees daily reminders of 9/11

Jessica Dickman awoke well before dawn on a September morning 10 years ago to inspect Albuquerque’s runways for debris, light outages and anything else out of the ordinary.
It was all part of her routine as the operations officer on duty at the Albuquerque International Sunport.
The day wasn’t routine for long.
A little before 7 a.m., during a meeting over coffee at the Garduño’s restaurant inside the terminal, Dickman watched on television as the horror of 9/11 began to unfold — first with reports of a plane hitting one of the twin towers, then live footage of a passenger jet smashing into the other.
The news triggered an intense day for Dickman and others at the Sunport — where airlines, ground crews and everyone else scrambled to handle an influx of diverted planes and thousands of unexpected passengers.
What stands out for Dickman now? The cooperation of so many different companies and agencies, as airlines shared gates and ground crews.
“Everybody worked very well together,” she said.
A decade later, Dickman is now operations manager of the Albuquerque International Sunport.
The daily reminders of how life changed that day are inescapable, she said.
For one thing, the Transportation Security Administration — an entirely new government agency — operates a remodeled checkpoint in the airport. And, of course, the tightened security — requiring the removal of shoes through the checkpoint, the strict rules regarding liquids in carry-on bags and not allowing passengers’ families at gates beyond the checkpoint.
Less visible changes are also at work, Dickman says, such as closer scrutiny of who can get security badges for access to restricted areas.
“For me, I can’t believe it’s been 10 years,” Dickman said. “By the same token, a lot has happened in the 10 years.”
She said she often wonders what the aviation industry would look like today if the attacks hadn’t happened. Passenger traffic fell in the years after 9/11, and airlines launched cost-cutting measures.
Jet-fuel prices skyrocketed.
“The financial impact of it is definitely seen in the industry” still, Dickman said.
— Dan McKay

David Klaus
A message from the front

“Hi from Kabul, Afghanistan.”
That’s how David Klaus, of Albuquerque, started his email message to the Journal.
Klaus, a University of New Mexico graduate, is an Air Force civilian with the 498th Nuclear Systems Wing at Kirtland. Last year, he volunteered and has since been deployed as a Department of Defense civilian adviser to the Afghan National Police Training Headquarters in Kabul.
His wife, Celia, remains in Albuquerque with their daughters. She says the family misses him but realizes he is helping keep the world safer.
Klaus sent the Journal an email asking whether we would like to publish his thoughts on 9/11. Given his current assignment from the front lines, we took him up on his offer.
He writes that he clearly remembers where he was on 9/11 — starting a new career with the Defense Department.
“I took my oath … on Monday, Sept. 10th, 2001, in a 120-year-old Cavalry Officer’s Barracks, facing an American Flag, next to window overlooking the original Buffalo Soldier Parade Ground at Ft Huachuca, AZ … That Tuesday morning our world changed.”
Klaus has been serving since, in a variety of duty stations, including USAF Air Combat Command, the U.S. Navy Special Warfare Center Training Command and, most recently, in Afghanistan.
The current mission is to “advise our Afghan counterparts,” with the goal of the eventual transition from NATO coalition-supported governance to sustainable Afghan autonomy.
“On this 10th Anniversary of 9/11, all of us here in Afghanistan continue to be affected by those attacks, regardless of where we were on that day. Men and women from 33 nations, not just Americans, are here as a result of that tragic day. 9/11 continues to impact the whole world,” he writes.
“We, the people of America, could use this upcoming anniversary to think, discuss, and assess our continuing role in this decade-long conflict.
“As a nation, we have the opportunity to reflect and determine what our priorities can be for the next 10 years. The legacy of those lost from 9-11-2001 through today’s losses will be ours to decide.
“I hope those who read my story are encouraged to be involved, at whatever level they choose, to use our democratic processes and act in some way to share in the choices we are making on how we spend our blood and treasure; the most precious being the lives of those who serve. Please weigh the costs of our national policies regarding the impact 9/11 still makes on our country.”
— Journal staff report
I am very proud of David for volunteering for such an important mission. The work he is doing with the Ministry of Defense Advisors (MODA), is to help train the Afghan National Police to defend their country. This allows the U.S. to pull our troops out safely. I know the work he and the other MODA advisors are doing is important to help strengthen their country. Our daughter, Patty, and I truly miss him. Thankfully technology has kept us close together. We use Skype calls as often as we can to stay connected.
On 9/11 we had just moved to Southern Arizona for David to start his career in government service. He has now served the military as a civil servant for 10 years. That date changed our lives in many ways.
The most important way is that we know the work David is doing for the various branches of the military he has worked for is important in improving our safety. 9/11 has made me realize even more how important our time together as a family is. We should all treasure each moment we have with our families and friends. Always take time to listen to your children and your spouses and never forget to tell them you love them. You never know when you may be miles apart or something tragic may happen to them.
Thank you,

Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry
Medal of Honor winner has living memorial of sacrifices made since 9/11

Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry of Santa Fe was toughing it out in pre-Ranger training in the hot, humid fields of Fort Benning, Ga., on Sept. 11, 2001.
The U.S. military response to the 9/11 attacks would eventually cost Petry his right forearm and hand and the lives of many of his fellow Rangers — and earn him the military’s highest award, the Medal of Honor.
“It was a shock. It was like somebody attacking one of your own family members,” Petry said, recalling his reaction to hearing about the attacks of 9/11 from his training officers. “Although I didn’t have any relatives or friends involved directly in the attacks, it hit close to home.”
Having joined the Army nearly two years to the day before 9/11, Petry was putting everything he had into earning the right to join the elite Rangers.
“The instructors had a TV in a shed at the training area and were watching” when the attacks were taking place, Petry said. “We asked if we could come watch it, but they told us we needed to keep training, because we might be going to war soon. Little did we know how right they were.”
Petry deployed to the Middle East eight times — twice to Iraq and six times to Afghanistan.
During an assault on a residential compound in Paktya province on May 26, 2008, Petry was shot through both legs, and a squad member was hit in his side. As other Rangers moved in to help, an enemy grenade landed nearby and, as Petry picked it up to throw it back at the attackers, it detonated, blowing off his right hand. The action likely saved the lives of his fellow Rangers.
For his heroic actions, Petry was presented with a Medal of Honor by President Obama at the White House on July 12, and became only the second living recipient of the award since the Vietnam War.
A decade after 9/11, Petry remains in the military, helping wounded Rangers recover from injuries suffered in combat. The casualties of 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are never far from his mind.
“I have a living memorial on my arm that reminds me daily of the sacrifices we’ve made since 9/11,” Petry said. Inscribed on his prosthetic forearm are the names of Rangers from his 75th Regiment who have died since 9/11.
Petry will be in New York today, participating in a number of events honoring those who died that day and on the battlefields since.
“There are not that many points in history where people look back and remember where they were that day,” he said. “These are things that stick in your mind that you’ll never forget.”
— Charles Brunt

Rebecca Marchand
Still holding memories close, flight attendant’s widow has moved on

LAS CRUCES — It’s been six years since Rebecca Marchand’s last trip to the site of the World Trade Center where her then-husband, Alfred, a flight attendant on United Airlines Flight 175, died when terrorists slammed the hijacked plane into the south tower.
On that last trip in 2005, alone at ground zero, Marchand said she had an epiphany, realizing that she was still in a way searching for Alfred, a longtime Alamogordo police officer who had been a flight attendant for less than a year.
“I realized the last time I went, he’s not here. I’m not going to find him. … And that was the last time I felt I needed to go. Your heart and your brain make the connection that he’s not coming back,” said Marchand, 47, during a telephone call from her new home in Phoenix, Ariz.
About a year later, Marchand was in Phoenix organizing a birthday party for a close friend. There she met a bike shop owner, and a friendship grew into a romantic relationship. She decided to move to Phoenix from her hometown, Alamogordo, where she and Alfred had met and were wed. In 2008, she became engaged.
Rebecca Marchand has tried to move on from the shattering events of Sept. 11, 2001, but she said she will never forget Alfred. On this 10th anniversary, she will be in Manhattan for a memorial service, along with one of her sons, her parents and her fiance.
“I avoid not talking about him (Alfred), because he does deserve to be remembered for the man he was,” Marchand said. “He’s my hero, and was a hero of many people. So if I stop talking about him, we’re doing what we ask people not to do — never forget.”
Marchand said that when she left Alamogordo, it was time to make a change. Being known as the widow of the only New Mexican to die in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks garnered her lots of support, but she said it was also difficult being perceived constantly in that way.
“What’s been good is to just be anonymous,” Rebecca Marchand said. “It was so overwhelming. It was just like being thrown into the fanfare, which is horrendous to deal with when you’re trying to deal with the grieving, the death as well.”
The years since 2001 have not been smooth. Her two sons, Alfred’s stepsons, were both traumatized by his death. And she has not spoken to Alfred’s biological son, Joshua, in at least eight years. The two have been embroiled in a 7-year-old lawsuit over the division of $770,000 from the Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
These days, Rebecca Marchand spends much of her time as a nanny to her niece’s child.
She believes Alfred Marchand would be happy that she is engaged and is moving forward. On one of their last days together, he told her: “I know that if anything ever happened to me, you will remarry. I want you to be happy.”
­— Rene Romo

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