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A voice from the sky: 'Our plane is being hijacked'
They had time to glimpse their fate, and precious seconds to tell of it. Unlike the victims inside the World Trade Center, these casualties of Tuesday's terror had an idea what was coming.
"Our plane is being hijacked," TV commentator and author Barbara Olson calmly told her husband before the phone went dead about 9 a.m.
A few minutes later came a second call from her Los Angeles-bound American Airlines jet.
"They've huddled all the passengers and crew into the back of the plane," Ted Olson remembered his wife saying. She said they were armed with "knives and cardboard box cutters." Once again, the connection was lost.
Moments later, her husband -- the U.S. solicitor general -- saw with the rest of the world what had become of the plane: With 65 aboard, the Boeing 757 plunged into the side of the Pentagon, not far from Olson's Justice Department office, where he took the two calls.
There were others who would call from the skies, too, including a flight attendant, a mother of four who called her husband from San Francisco-bound United Airlines Flight 93.
Those few voices offer a glimpse into the last moments of 266 passengers and crew members aboard four California-bound jets in America's worst terrorist attack. Although the FBI has yet to authorize the release of the flight manifests, a few names and their stories surfaced from the smoke and ashes Tuesday.
One of television comedy's more creative minds, David Angell, an executive producer and creator of the NBC sitcom "Frasier," gone.
Daniel C. Lewin, 31, a technology executive, the father of two and an officer in the Israeli army, gone.
Thomas McGuinness, a former Navy fighter pilot, father of two teen-agers, and the pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, gone.
A group of Washington schoolchildren headed for a field trip to the Channel Islands, never going home.
A devoted family man is mourned
Gerry Hennessey and her husband, Ted Sr., were driving home from a trip to Gettysburg, Pa., site of the Civil War battlefield, when they heard about the crash of American Airlines Flight 11 -- the plane carrying their son.
"We were 4½ hours away," said the Belmont, Mass., woman. "It was an awful, awful long time."
Ted Hennessey Jr.,35, also of Belmont, was traveling to Los Angeles for some consultant work with Time-Warner Communications. His mother described him as a devoted family man, who loved to spend weekends at the zoo or local museums with his wife of 10 years, Melanie Salisbury, and their children, Matthew, 3, and Rachel, 6.
By the time Gerry Hennessey arrived at her son's home, Salisbury had already broken the news to the children. She said Matthew ran up to her screaming, "Grammy, Grammy, Daddy is dead, and I'm so sad."
"If they [the attackers] wanted to do something, why is it that they have to do this horrible thing to us?" asked Gerry Hennessey. "These are good people. I just don't see how you can ever feel safe anywhere again."
Ted Jr. is her second son to die. She lost her oldest in 1971, in a car accident.
"We are just in total shock," she said. Her son's wife "is in terrible shape. They were so much in love."
'A horrible thing on a horrible day'
As word trickled out in Hollywood about Angell, the surreal images of carnage were drawn into a sharp and tragic focus for his friends and colleagues.
The 54-year-old executive producer was traveling with his wife, Lynn, from Boston to catch the Emmy Awards this weekend.
"This is one of my closest friends and one of my longest clients," said Angell's agent, Elliot Stahler. "It's a horrible thing on a horrible day."
The Angells were building a home on Cape Cod, according to television writer Dave Hackel, creator and executive producer of the CBS sitcom "Becker," and a friend of Angell for 12 years.
"This was about the time when David would come back [to Los Angeles] for a while," Hackel said. "He'd come and go a little more than in years past.
"The story David used to tell is, he was pretty much packed up and ready to go home when he got his first writing assignment. If you go back through 'Cheers,' you'll find that some of your favorite episodes were written by David Angell," Hackel said.
Angell and his wife were heavily involved in philanthropy. Lynn volunteered as a librarian at Hillsides, a home for abused children that the couple helped renovate. Lynn, in fact, sent each of its 66 residents a postcard from Cape Cod this summer.
"She was a driving force behind creating one of the nicest children's libraries I've ever seen," home director John Hitchcock said. "It's a huge loss to us."
Bishop Kenneth A. Angell, David's brother, had already helped parishioners mourn the loss of unnamed victims during a Tuesday afternoon Mass in Burlington, Vt. Then he found out his own brother and sister-in-law were among them.
Immigrant had followed his dream
Candy Glazer never thought twice when she kissed her husband, Edmund, goodbye. It was just a routine trip to the home office for the chief financial officer and vice president of finance for MRV Communications Inc., a Chatsworth-based telecommunications company.
"He called me at 7:35 [a.m.] and told me he was sitting on the plane," she said from the couple's home in Wellesley, Mass. "And two hours later I turn on the TV -- and this is what I see."
What she was watching was the remains of American Airlines Flight 11 after it was flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
A native of Zambia born to South African parents, Glazer came to the United States from South Africa when he was 17, attending Santa Monica College for two years, then graduating from USC, his wife said.
"I guess it's been everyone's dream," Candy Glazer said of her husband's emigration. "This is the place where you can make it."
Glazer had made it, but he took time to dote on his only child, 4-year-old Nathan.
"They were very close, and I'm consulting with professionals to see how you break this kind of news like that to a child," Candy Glazer said. "[I] can handle most anything, but in this one I need help.
"I know he's gone, but for some reason I still expect him to come home," she said. "I still expect the car to [come] into our driveway. ...
Glazer is also survived by his parents and a sister, all of whom live in Toronto, Canada, Candy Glazer said.
City is home to many airline pilots
Portsmouth, N.H., is an easy drive to Boston's Logan International Airport, and has become home to many airline pilots. On Tuesday the town lost one of them, Thomas McGuinness, a former Navy fighter pilot once based at Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego.
McGuinness was identified as one of the pilots of American Airlines Flight 11.
His two teen-age children were in school when the plane crashed, and their mother and a pastor met them on campus to tell them that their father's plane was involved, said Rick DeKoven, administrator at Bethany Church in nearby Greenland, N.H.
"As soon as the tragedy occurred we started checking on our pilots to see if any were flying today," DeKoven said. "We got confirmation soon thereafter that [McGuinness] was flying and then went right over to the family."
McGuinness flew F-14 Tomcat fighters for the Navy in the 1980s, said Bob Clement of Memphis, Tenn., a fellow former Navy pilot. Both men were assigned to the VF-21 Squadron and flew out of Miramar. McGuinness had lived in Fallbrook.
"Tom was a great guy, a very heroic-type person," said Clement, now a FedEx pilot. "He was the kind of guy you wanted to fly into combat with."
En route to an Australian adventure
It was to be an exotic family adventure. Georgetown professor Leslie A. Whittington was taking her husband, Charles S. Falkenberg, and daughters Zoe, 8, and Dana, 3, along on a fellowship she'd been granted in Australia. They never made it to LAX, their stopover.
Just Sunday, they'd finished moving out of their longtime home in Maryland to a new one in Virginia and capped it with a farewell meal with neighbor James Gekas.
"We talked about Australia and the times we had together," Gekas said. "We talked about people on the block we knew for years. And he said: 'Goodbye, man.' And that's it."
A flight attendant for three decades
The only career Michelle Heidenberger ever considered was one in the sky. For 30 years she was a flight attendant.
"She just loved it. She started doing it right out of college," said sister-in-law Betsy Heidenberger. Her enthusiasm for flying was so infectious that she persuaded her husband to become a pilot soon after they met in a Chicago bar.
Michelle and Thomas Heidenberger arranged their schedules so one would be in the air while the other was home with their two children. They used their travel perks to explore new places whenever they had the chance.
The family lived in the same neighborhood as a number of close relatives. "We had a big family and we were very close," Betsy Heidenberger said. "Michelle was the one we all confided in. ... She always listened."
Just before Heidenberger left at 6 a.m. to catch the flight that crashed into the Pentagon, she had written a note to her son, reminding him to take his inhaler to school. The previous night, the family had gathered in Baltimore celebrating the birthday of her daughter, a college junior.
Two scouts for the L.A. Kings
Stanley Cup champion Garnet "Ace" Bailey, director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles Kings, was aboard one of the jets that sliced through the World Trade Center.
Team spokesman Mike Altieri said Mark Bavis, an amateur scout for the Kings, was also on United Airlines Flight 175 -- the second plane to hit the towers. The Boeing 767 was scheduled to fly from Boston to Los Angeles, where the Kings were to open training camp today.
Bailey, 53, who won two Stanley Cups as a player with the Boston Bruins, was entering his 32nd season as a player or scout in the NHL -- his eighth as Kings director of pro scouting. He spent the previous 13 years as a scout for the Edmonton Oilers, which won five Stanley Cups during that time.
"First and foremost, we are shocked by the tragedies that have occurred today, and the tremendous loss of life that has taken place," Kings general manager Dave Taylor said in a statement. "Our entire organization is deeply saddened and shaken by the loss of these two individuals."
'This wonderful person was lost'
Fred Rimmele, a Boston-area physician described as an "old-style family doctor," died on Flight 175 while traveling to a conference in Los Angeles, said family friend Janet Daly.
Daly was scheduled to have dinner with Rimmele's wife, Kim.
When their plans fell through, Kim decided to stay longer, and canceled plans to fly out of Boston on Tuesday, said Daly. Shortly after the attacks, Daly e-mailed her friend that they had "reason to celebrate, because she didn't fly," Daly said. A one-sentence message came back: Kim's husband, Fred, was on Flight 175.
"He did God's work," Daly said. "All I know is that this wonderful person was lost for no reason I understand."
Actress 'one of the loveliest people'
Actress and photographer Berry Berenson, the 53-year-old wife of the late actor Anthony Perkins and the sister of actress Marisa Berenson, took Flight 11 to return to her Hollywood Hills home after a vacation on Cape Cod.
She was in the 1982 film "Cat People," the 1979 movie "Winter Kills" and the 1978 film "Remember My Name," which starred her husband, as well as the 1980 TV miniseries "Scruples." Berenson had also just completed a book on fashion designer Halston, said her spokeswoman, Susan Patricola, who also noted that her client shot covers for Life magazine.
"She was one of the loveliest, greatest people on the Earth, full of life," Patricola said "It's just devastating."
Berenson, who has two grown sons, married Perkins in 1973. The actor, best known for his starring role as Norman Bates in "Psycho," died in 1992 of AIDS. Today is the the ninth anniversary of his death.
Headed for an island experience
Santa Cruz Island, off Santa Barbara County, is a sweet refuge, 96 square miles of wave-tossed coastline and grassy hills.
That's where they were headed, three teachers and their prize students from Washington, D.C., elementary and middle schools, when they boarded American Flight 77 at Dulles International Airport.
The two elementary school kids and one middle school student were going to join a couple of dozen kids from Washington and California for three days of camping and tide-pool gazing on an expedition set up by the National Geographic Society.
"I just feel a deep sadness knowing that the teachers and the students were the creme de la creme of their schools," said Peggy Cooper Cafritz, president of District of Columbia Public Schools board. "It makes it all the more tragic."
Also aboard were two National Geographic employees who helped organize the trip, said Betty Hudson, a spokeswomen for the society. None of the victims' names were released.
'She was a real family person'
Tara Creamer, 30, loved her job as a business planner at TJX Cos. Inc.
One of the things she liked best about the Framingham, Mass., firm that operates the TJ Maxx and Marshalls stores was that they have on-site child care. That allowed her to take her son Colin, 4, and daughter Nora, 1, to work when necessary.
"She was a real family person," said her father-in-law, Gerald.
She was also an ambitious career woman and had received several promotions. So it was no surprise that when the company decided to send seven of its employees to California for a business meeting Tuesday, she was asked to go.
Her flight crashed into the World Trade Center. Her father-in-law said he found out about Tara's death on TV. As soon as he heard where the plane took off and its flight number, he knew.
Tara and her husband, John, met at the University of Massachusetts, where she majored in business and he studied sports management. They married the year after she graduated, said Gerald Creamer.
Late Tuesday, they had still not told the children of their mother's death. "We're all grieving together, talking about memories and just trying to plan for the children," he said.
Executive was raised in Israel
Daniel C. Lewin, 31, a technology executive and an officer in the Israeli Army, was en route from Boston to Los Angeles when his plane crashed into the World Trade Center.
Lewin was the chief technology officer of Cambridge, Mass.-based Akamai Technologies Inc., a firm that used complex algorithms he developed to ease the routing of computer information.
Born in Denver but raised in Jerusalem, Lewin worked at IBM's research laboratory in Haifa, Israel, before launching Akamai. Despite his ties to Israel, there is no suggestion that Lewin was targeted, said Akamai spokeswoman Caryn Brownell.
He is survived by his wife and two sons.
"Danny was a wonderful human being," said George H. Conrades, Akamai's chairman and chief executive officer. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Danny's family, friends and colleagues during this time of national tragedy and personal loss."
Akamai co-founder F. Thomas Leighton called Lewin "an extraordinary human being."
"His death is a tremendous loss," he added. "He's responsible for making significant and valuable changes in the Internet and how it's used today.
"The entire industry is going to miss him. Danny was brilliant, extremely hard-working and had a tremendous amount of energy. There was nothing he couldn't do."
'I just had this sinking feeling'
Early Tuesday morning, heading for Logan airport in Boston, American Airlines pilot John Ogonowski obeyed family tradition by honking as he passed a relative's home -- his Uncle Al.
Long after that honk had faded, sobs replaced it. His family learned Ogonoswki's flight, American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into a World Trade Center tower. Shocked family members and friends gathered at the 150-acre Dracut, Mass., farm that Ogonowski, 50, shared with his wife, Margaret, and three daughters.
"We're just here consoling," said one longtime friend of Margaret, a flight attendant for American.
Meeting outside the home with reporters, Ogonowski's younger brother, Jim, said he feared the worst when he first heard news of the catastrophe.
"I just had this sinking feeling," he said, clutching a photo of his brother.
"I keep looking at the cornfield behind me," he said, "hoping that my brother will come out."
Part of a D.C. 'power couple'
One side of one of Washington's quintessential "power couples," Barbara Olson, 45, was a familiar face on television commentary shows. A formidable presence, with striking, long blond hair, Olson showed open disdain for the Clinton presidency, and for N.Y. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, made most evident in her book, "Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton.'
"She inspired passionate responses," said Los Angeles attorney Mark J. Geragos, who often appeared--and argued -- with Olson on Larry King's and Geraldo Rivera's cable talk shows.
She had been a federal prosecutor becoming counsel to Senate Assistant Majority Leader Don Nickles, R-Okla. More recently, she worked as a lobbyist in Washington for a Montgomery, Ala., law firm, Balch & Bingham.