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Families hold onto hopes for a miracle
The digging continued Monday--both for bodies in the wreckage and for memories in the minds of loved ones steeling themselves for the months and years ahead.
One family has given authorities their son's comb and toothbrush to help identify any remains. A family of three New York firefighters waked one son after his body was recovered over the weekend; a second son still hasn't been found. So their little brother will don his gear on Tuesday and return to the rubble.
As he rides the bus back to the firehouse in Brooklyn after digging through the rubble of the World Trade Center, New York City firefighter Kenneth Haskell's arms and legs tingle and he begins to feel sick with exhaustion.
"It's been tough," Haskell said. "But [going] to sleep is the most painful part of the day, because that's when I start to think about it the most."
Since the terrorist attack Tuesday, Haskell, 32, has gone about his work with a special sense of purpose. Among those reported missing after the buildings collapsed were two of his brothers: Thomas, 37, captain of the New York City Fire Department's Hook and Ladder Co. 132 in Brooklyn; and Timothy, 34, a firefighter with the city's Squad 18.
Thomas Haskell still has not been found. But sometime around 2 a.m. Saturday, firefighters uncovered Timothy Haskell's remains in the ruins of the north tower, Haskell said.
"Obviously there's mixed emotions," Haskell said. "Finding Timmy was actually a sense of relief--especially for me, personally, because I've seen firsthand what some of the bodies looked like. We're not going to recover everybody. Some people, there's just nothing left of them.."
On Monday, the family held a wake for Timothy Haskell that lasted from the middle of the afternooon well into the night. Timothy, of Seaford, N.Y., was single and "the daredevil of the family," Kenneth Haskell said. "He had his motorcycle, his boats, his pets. He had numerous dogs, birds, ferrets. He was a very happy-go-lucky guy."
Kenneth Haskell planned to go right back into the rubble first thing Tuesday and resume looking for his brother Thomas, he said. "His oldest daughter, Meaghan, is 8, and she's asking a lot of questions.
"She asked if Daddy was dead.
"I said, `No, he's just missing.'
"She asked, `What does that mean?'
"And I said, `It just means he has some stuff on top of him, and I'm going to go find him and get it off of him and bring him home."
On Sunday Thomas Haskell was promoted to battalion chief. A staff chief stood in for him at the ceremony and took the oath.
"Tommy, he would have been very proud," Kenneth Haskell said.
A 1992 graduate of Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Ted Hennessy, 35, was used to flying around the country on business.
His wife, Melanie Salisbury, "was used to kissing him goodbye in the morning and saying `I'll see you in a couple of weeks,'" said Lisa Browdy, a family friend.
Hennessy and Salisbury lived with their two children in Boston, where they met 10 years ago when she threw a party in the apartment above his.
He strolled upstairs to see what was going on; they were married a year later. He was leaving on yet another business trip when he boarded American Airlines Flight 11 last Tuesday.
Taimour Khan's home answering machine has a simple message. The voice is not his own: It is his sister's, directing anyone with information to call his family.
The handsome 29-year-old Manhattan futures trader was on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center working at Carr Futures when one of the hijacked planes struck it.
His sister, Zara Khan, last talked to him Monday night, when she scolded him for not calling her back on Sunday, missing their usual daily talk. He gave her a ridiculous excuse about his answering machine, she said, and they chatted about their weekends.
Khan was so full of zest for life, his sister said, he got angry at himself when he slept past 8 a.m. on weekends because he felt like he was losing time.
The Long Island native had a larger-than-life personality, she said, and he loved bicycling, basketball and soccer. "He can't stand being indoors. He can't stand just sitting here.."
After resisting the urge for five days to visit downtown New York where her husband, Bruce, was last seen before the World Trade Center collapsed, Kathy Simmons gathered her family by her side on Sunday and went into the city.
"It was definitely horrible," she said. "But I wanted to be closer to where he was last."
Bruce Simmons, 41, was a father of three and partner in the investment firm Sandler O'Neill. He was responsible for the firm's creation of its Chicago office several years ago and spent a lot of time there picking out the location and hiring many of its employees.
A rabid Yankees fan, avid golfer, and his family's best cook, his wife said, Simmons also found time to coach his son's soccer team and serve on the board of directors for the Maroon Soccer Club.
The Ridgewood, N.J., native was working on the 104th floor of the south tower when the first plane hit the north tower.
"I'm going to be evacuated Kath. I'll call you when I get down to the street," he told his wife in his last call home after the first plane struck.
"He was in charge of his [equities] desk. So he made sure everyone got out first," Kathy Simmons said. "As much as I miss him, I know he did everything right in the end."
When Conrod Cottoy's 15-year-old son asked him last week whether the World Trade Center could ever be vulnerable to attack by terrorists, the 51-year-old commodity trader was honest. The boy had just watched a program that depicted the lengths to which fanatics will go--including the 1993 bombing that killed six in the twin towers, where Cottoy worked for Chicago-based Carr Futures.
"His father told him we're very vulnerable," recalled Cottoy's wife, Paula Rena Cottoy. "He said it could happen.."
Cottoy worked on the 92nd floor of the north tower. When his wife watches TV images of the attack, she remembers the man she married 27 years ago, with interests that ranged widely: fishing, photography, history and theology.
"I sleep with his picture," she said. "[I] and the boys lit candles. We've been praying together. I have faith in God. I have to be strong for my boys."
Pendyala Vamshikrishna, 30, had been away on business for three weeks and was eager to get home to Los Angeles. As he boarded American Flight 11, he called his wife's voice mail to let her know he would be home soon.
"He didn't want to disturb me in the night," Prasanna Kalahasthi said. "He said, `Hi, sweetie, I've just boarded the flight and I'll see you in Los Angeles this afternoon.'"
A software engineer for DTI Technologies, Vamshikrishna moved to the U.S. from his native India 10 years ago, earned a master's degree and became a great fan of American sports.
The faintest hope still glimmered Monday in the New York offices of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood that longtime receptionist Rosemary Smith would still be found.
About 150 members of the firm--which occupied five floors in the World Trade Center, including Smith's desk on the 57th floor--made the long trek down crowded stairwells to safety last Tuesday. A week later, all were accounted for but Smith.
"We've searched around, looked for people that were near her, but we haven't been able to place her outside the building yet," said John C. Feldkamp, executive director of the firm's New York office.
Smith, of Staten Island, arrived early each morning to open the firm's switchboard and was a favorite at holidays, when she brought homemade chocolates to the office. She had short hair and an open, friendly face that broke into a smile whenever she talked about her two grandchildren.
James and Mary Trentini's memorial service drew 1,000 people to the tiny Catholic church in Rowley, Mass., where the entire town's population is only 1,100.
Both James and Mary were aboard American Airlines Flight 11, on their way from Boston to visit their grandchildren in Irvine, Calif.
Though they retired three years ago, both were still well-known in teaching circles in northeastern Massachusetts. James Trentini, 65, was the longtime coach and former chairman of the health education department in the Burlington school system. Mary Trentini, 67, was the longtime administrative assistant to the athletic director at Triton Regional School in Byfield.
When their daughter dropped them off at the airport Tuesday, Mary's suitcase was stuffed so full of toys and homemade clothing for her grandchildren that the Trentinis feared they wouldn't be able to get it aboard the flight.
"She loved kids, period. That's all you can say," said Don Paris, their son-in-law.
A freelance producer of TV commercials, William Weems was headed from Boston to Los Angeles aboard United Flight 175 when it crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center, said his wife, Lisa.
Weems, 46, lived in Marblehead, Mass., on the coast of the Atlantic, north of Boston. He had a 7-year-old daughter Zoe.
Michael Selves, of Fairfax, Va., who would have turned 54 on Sunday, was no button-down Pentagon bureaucrat.
His wife, Gayle, said that about two years ago Selves, director of information management for the U.S. Army, was to deliver a speech before an audience of government contractors at the Pentagon. The briefings were known to be a bit staid. So to break with tradition, he walked up to podium and started to loosen his necktie. He then took it off and began to strip.
Gayle Selves said the audience was aghast as the portly man stood before them in his underwear. But "after that meeting, he got standing-room-only crowds," said Selves, who had been married to her husband for six years. "Everybody loved him. He really knew how to boost morale."
The couple, both avid golfers, had planned to retire next year and "laugh and play golf forever."
Harry Blanding is a "good, quiet, gentle man who works for his family," said his pastor, Rev. Harry Clark of Pleasant Valley Presbyterian Church in Brodheadsville, Pa.
Blanding, 38, who is married with three small children, works for the Aon Corp., an insurance company on the 100th floor of the World Trade Center.
"This is your basic American family man," Clark said. "He commutes into New York City every day and is devoted to his church and his family."
For almost 30 years, Wanda A. Green followed her childhood dream. "As a teenager, she always wanted to fly, so she finally got her wings," said her mother, Aserene Smith.
As a young woman, Wanda Green sought her mother's blessing to become a flight attendant. Though Aserene Smith was hesitant, she finally relented, and Wanda Green became one of the first African-Americans to join United Airlines as a flight attendant, according to her mother.
Green, 49, was aboard United Airlines Flight 93 when it was hijacked and crashed in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.
A mother of two--Jennifer, 21, and Joe Benjamin, 18--Green loved to travel and regularly planned trips to Europe.
Her mother spoke to her the night before the doomed flight. "I said `I love you and I'll see you tomorrow,' and that was it."
Amelia Virginia Fields
Three weeks ago, 46-year-old Amelia Fields and 18-year-old Shantell Fields got into a minor mother-daughter spat. So the daughter left the family's Dumfries, Va., home to begin her freshman year at Alabama State University without hugging or kissing her mother.
"We made up over the phone," Shantell Fields said. "But that's not the same as in person. I took her for granted, and now she's gone."
Last week, her mother had just begun her new job on the third floor of the Pentagon. "Tuesday was her second day on the job, and I don't even know what she did," said Fields, who has two brothers, ages 24 and 10. "It was also her birthday."
Fields said the family had been going through a rough patch. Her father was diagnosed with kidney cancer two years ago and was unable to work. Her mother--who had a strong faith in God-- had to become the chief provider.
"We didn't have a lot of money," said Fields. "But, back then, we had all we needed. That's not true anymore."
Christopher Dincuff, 31, was, by no small margin, the youngest member of the South River, N.J., Lions Club. "He would be sitting there with 80-year-old men, and here was this young guy," said his fiance, Angie Gutermuth.
At Lions Club barbecues, amid the polka music, there was Dincuff. That was just how he was, a joker with a serious pride in small-town America, especially his hometown of South River.He graduated from Villanova University in 1992 and--after working for a minor league baseball team--joined Carr Futures in the World Trade Center in 1993. He was there, on the 92nd floor, Tuesday.
From the 88th floor of the World Trade Center's south tower, Scott Johnson watched as the north tower burst into flames when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into it.
"I'm fine, the plane hit the other tower," Johnson told his parents from his office at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, an investment firm, according to John's aunt, Katie Dawson of Racine, Wis.
Twenty minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175 crashed through the south tower, and no one from his family has heard from him since.
"We're not sure if he was on the 88th floor when the plane hit or if he was being evacuated or if he was still in it when the tower fell," Dawson said. "For a time, we were holding out hope we'd find him alive. Now we're holding out hope we'll see Scott in heaven one day."
A few days ago, Johnson's family turned over to authorities their son's comb and toothbrush. The officials needed the items to help identify any of his remains.
The birthday presents are still wrapped, sitting on her mother's bed in Florida.
Elizabeth Wainio would have turned 28 on Oct. 8. For her birthday, she had planned to come to Florida from New Jersey to rest and see her mother's new home.
As district manager for the Discovery Store in New York and New Jersey, Wainio worked long hours and flew all over the country.
Just two days before she was supposed to fly to San Francisco for work, she returned home from Europe. Wainio had seen a friend get married in Italy. She had visited Paris with another friend, ate lunch along the Champs-Elysees, and walked inside a church where she lit a candle for her grandmother.
Wainio had always told her mother, Mary White, that if she ever got to see Paris, she could die happy.
After she got home, she called her mother, Mary White, and talked briefly. She talked about her trip. She said she was looking forward to eating her mother's spaghetti. She said she needed to go, to check her e-mail and messages at work, to make sure everything was on track before going to San Francisco.
Her plane, United Flight 93, crashed in Pennsylvania, near where her grandmother was born.
On Oct. 8, Mary White will fly to Baltimore, where her daughter grew up, for a memorial service. Then she will go to the crash site.
Christopher Vialonga, a 30-year-old trader from Demarest, N.J., loved his job on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center's north tower, the first building struck by terrorists Tuesday. A former college football player, he also loved the New York Jets--and had the season tickets to prove it.
And he loved his mother, Katherine, with whom he lived. She was the last family member to speak with him. He called her after the plane smashed into the building, half a dozen floors above him.
"He said, `I'm OK, I'm at an open window,'" recounted Christopher's sister-in-law, Michelle. "He said, `I'm OK, I love you. She said, `I love you, too,' and the phone went dead."
Adriana Legro, 32, was born into a close-knit Colombian family that came to the United States when she was only a child. An immigrant who lost her mother at age 15, Legro was a star in her family when she was accepted to Boston University and went on to graduate with a business degree, said her sister Maria Legro.
She took her first job out of college at Dean Witter, went on to trade coffee for Mercon Coffee, and, two years ago, took a job with Carr Futures on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center.
"She was a bon vivant," her sister said, "always the life of the party."
Tribune staff reporters Kim Barker, Rudolph Bush, John Chase, Jeff Coen, Julie Deardorff, Liam Ford, Ted Gregory, Sean Hamill, James Janega, Robert L. Kaiser, Lynette Kalsnes, Karen Mellen, Bonnie Miller Rubin contributed to this report.