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Touched By Terror: Patch Remembers 9/11

Many were forever changed by the attack. Here are some of their stories.

Five days before Sept. 11, Anthony P. Bottan Sr.'s best friend left him a voicemail. 

There was nothing special about it, one buddy asking another if he had time for lunch. Bottan didn't have time to call back, never mind sit down and eat.

The next week, his friend, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee, was dead, one of about 3,000 victims of the terrorist attack that destroyed the Twin Towers.

"I don’t put things off anymore. Life is too short, and full of unexpected surprises."

The vignette, written by our Rockville Centre editor's father, is one of nearly a thousand Patch.com ran throughout the country leading up to today, the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

On Long Island, where so many lost relatives and loved ones in nearby New York City, stories like Bottan's are common.

The tales are easy to find, but so difficult to tell.

There's the Blue Point widow, who fights for her FDNY husband's dying wish.

About 40 miles to the west on Long Island's South Shore, Keith Grant was a newspaper editor, responsible for packaging the right balance of breaking news and analysis for the weekly Long Beach Herald. Two years later, he was in the U.S. Army. Today, he is an infantry captain with the 101st Airborne Division in Kentucky. Another life changed, another story to tell.

Rosalie Rau's husband was on the 33rd floor in the north tower that sunny September morning. Sixty floors in a downtown New York skyscraper was the difference between life and death. Bottan's friend, gone forever.

Firefighter Dennis Carey was supposed to be off. But duty called, the dentist would wait and, within an hour, his life would end.

In Levittown, Kathleen Vaughan Ware waited desperately for her husband, a NYPD detective, to call. She wrote, "As the day went on, I waited to hear from my husband. Each time the phone would ring my heart would race, as I hoped to hear his voice on the other."

He called. Devastated. But he called.

Meanwhile, on the rare day she is in New York, Abbie Kearse still won't ride a subway.

We all have a story. And they all matter. East Meadow Editor Michael Ganci was a high school freshman suffering through a math class. Malverne-West Hempstead Editor Tara Conry, 15 at the time, was driven to write a poem.

As for me, I had arrived at my downtown desk in a building overlooking the Hudson River. As the second plane flew at the towers, I looked down to check voice mails. A moment later, our building swayed, and there were screams. 

We were evacuated, and I walked towards the burning buildings, getting to within three blocks before turning to jump on a city bus bound for Forest Hills. Fifteen minutes later, the first building collapsed, and the streets turned gray. The bus drove through the fog, taking us to safety.

Vanessa Canner September 11, 2011 at 04:17 PM
This is beautiful.
Allie Johnson September 11, 2011 at 04:49 PM
Well written. My prayers go out to all those that lost their lives, those who tried to save them and those left to carry on. God bless them and God bless the USA.
Ray Manning September 12, 2011 at 01:07 AM
I had arrived in Loredo, Texas, about to begin looking at a package of gas stations late Monday. I was about to leave the hotel, when Good Morning America broke in to their taped daily program to say that a plane hit the Trade Center. Having travelled frequently, I knew planes do not fly over Manhattan often and especially at low altitudes. I called my wife at the school, a d while I was speaking with her I saw the second plane hit the second tower. We both thought it was a terrorist attack. I watched for another hour is disbelief, with reports on the Pentagon and the crash in Shanksville, PA. I called my office in Phoenix and they said that I could proceed or return home, it was up to me. My co-workers doing the same package of properties drove back to Phoenix. Air traffic was stopped, and driving back to Bayport from Loredo would take at least three days. I decided to stay, work and wait for the resumption of air traffic. The people of Loredo were amazing, the firemen of the city were out taking up collections with their fire boots at traffic lights almost immediately for the families of the fallen. People in the County and City offices were very kind and understanding and helpful. Most had never been to Manhattan, but they looked at it as if it was an attack on Loredo. That feeling of unity and nationalism as a result of the attack, had not existed since Pearl Harbor and the advent of WW II. The renewed patriotism has remained part of life since 9/11.
Nancy K. Nee September 13, 2011 at 07:38 PM
I lost my brother, FF George Cain that day! Life has never been the same! Nancy K. Nee
Jason September 14, 2011 at 02:57 AM
Nancy Bless you and your family!

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