Saturday, September 11, 2010


 Photo by Derek Jensen (Tysto), 2004-September-11

Nine years. It is hard to believe it has been nine years since a few men, motivated by a crazed ideology, took the lives of over 3000 people in New York City, Washington D.C and a farm field in Pennsylvania. I am sure most of you who live in the US will remember that day, what you were doing when you heard about the planes crashing, when you began to realize serious it was, how many were dead. And I am sure you have seen the lists of the names of those killed, an almost endless list.
So many people dead, but no one I knew. Or so I thought at first.

Maybe a week or two after the 11th, I happened upon a website of the small North Jersey high school I went to. Maybe 800 students in total, less than 200 in my graduating class. It was a school where everyone knew everyone else..and on that schools web site I found out that one of those many, many killed at the World Trade Center was one of our teachers, Susan Murry.

Of course, many of us remembered her before, when she was Miss Susan Dominick, before she met and married another teacher, Mr. Murray. It was an event that moved the romantic heart of many of my fellow students. Did I mention it was an all girls school? If I remember right, she left the school before my class graduated in 1978 and I had no idea what happened to her after that. Seems she stayed in North Jersey and at some point went to work at the firm of Marsh & McLennan, and was at the building, where the company had their headquarters, that morning with a co-worker for a meeting.

About the company, from Wikipedia...
..."Prior to the September 11 Attacks, the corporation held offices on 8 floors of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, between floors 93 and 100. When American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the building as part of the attacks, their offices composed the entire impact zone, which was between floors 93 and 99. No one present in the offices at the time survived the attack and the firm lost 295 employees and 60 consultants."
To sort of flip the words of Stalina million deaths is a statistic, a single death is a tragedy.
As horrible as it was before, actually knowing someone who was there, who died, was worse. To put a face on the senseless murder made it so much more real.
I could remember what she looked like all those years ago, young, seemingly always smiling, happy.
The weird part was it I realized the other day that nine years ago, when she was killed, she was 54.
I am 54 when she was our teacher, she was only 9 years older than we were.

I certainly didn't know her well, just for that brief time, many years ago. I didn't suffer a terrible loss as tens of thousands did.  But she touched my life, and the life of many no doubt, as did every one of those thousands that were killed that terrible day. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends and co-workers. And teachers. 

Susan D. Murray, age 54

Place killed: World Trade Center.

Resident of Summit, N.J. (USA).

Marsh & McLennan Cos. employee.

Maiden name: Dominick


  1. The minute I started reading your post, I got a very sick feeling just remembering that day. The sight of people jumping out of windows will haunt me for the rest of my life . . . and I didn't even know anyone. Such a horrific event. I'm sorry that your teacher was one of the victims.

    We went to Spain 3 weeks after for our anniversary and made a sidetrip to Gibraltar. After 9/11 I was panicky thinking about flying so one of my friends gave me an angel pin and I wore it every day. At Gibraltar a woman came up to me and said she noticed my pin right off and I told her how I got it. She was from England and she started to tear up and said what a horrible, horrible thing had happened to our country. We ended up hugging and crying together. So that day did not just affect us.

  2. Caite, this was a lovely remembrance post both to your teacher and to all the events of 9-11. What a tragedy it was and I'm sure everyone can indeed remember where they were at the time.

    I didn't know anyone personally that died, but found an odd little connection as well. Austin is a long way from NYC or Pennsyvania or Washington, but at the time there was a post office that I frequented regularly. One of the men who worked there appeared on my TV screen soon after the event onn the news. It turned out his brother was one of the pilots of the flight that went down in the Pennsylvania field. I got chills imagining it and what his reaction must have been when he found out that the flight was connected with his brother.

    Thanks for sharing and helping us to continue to remember.

  3. Such a very sad day, and post. My niece works for M&M in NYC as Susan did. She was not at that job in 2001 fortunately.

    We were on vacation in Las Vegas and woke up to the dreadful news.

  4. Lovely post Caite! It's always a sad day to remember.

  5. A beautiful tribute, caite. She sounds like she was a wonderful person.

  6. I am on vacation as we speak, and today I was on Long Island, visiting a few lighthouses and checking out the Hamptons and as usual I had my satellite radio on. Usually I listen to talk radio or news, but today I couldn't. I just could not listen to them replaying the news as it came in that day and remembering some of the details.

    She was a nice person...just look at that smile, which is how I remember her...and what was done to her and all those other people is so very, very wrong.

  7. What a moving and personal tribute. Thank you for sharing. It is personal stories like these that help to make this a day that no one will ever forget.

  8. She was my cousin. We saw her at a family gathering only a few days before the day she died so tragically. Thank you for this post. Now on the anniversary of her death, I searched the internet again and found this photo of her.


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