Vanessa Roach: Two Haunting Words


When I turned on the TV to catch the local morning news and the TODAY Show was already on, I knew something was terribly wrong.

After watching for hours I made myself go to work. Gathering with my colleagues at Stanford was both comforting and nerve-wracking as we had a number of peers traveling on the East Coast and in specifically in New York. At some point we learned that our wonderful friend, who was booked on Flight 93, had made an earlier flight ... as her taxi got her to the airport so early.

Midday Stanford announced a gathering in the Quad in front of Memorial Church where everyone could get together and just be. We sat on the Quad in a large circle; there must have been a few hundred people.

After the informal program and remarks they asked for people to call out names of those who were missing so we could all keep them in our thoughts. People called out names for some time. But there was one voice and two words that still haunt me today.

A man, who seemed to be on the outer edge of the circle, called out quietly, "My sister." Everyone seemed to stop and catch their breath. It was so real and so painful.

I will never know who this man was, or if his sister survived. But I will never forget hearing those two words.

Vanessa Roach

Milton Street

Redwood City

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