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2011 Archives

SMU Student: More ‘Relieved’ Than Happy

The family of Christina Rancke
The Rancke family in 1998, three years before Todd’s death on Sept. 11, 2001. Clockwise from top left are Debbie and Todd and their children Brittany, Todd Jr., and Christina, who was 8 years old when this photo was taken during a family vacation.

May 3, 2011

DALLAS (SMU) — The news of Osama Bin Laden’s death at the hands of an elite force of U.S. Navy Seals holds special significance for SMU student Christina Rancke: Her father perished in one of the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001.

While the terrorist leader’s death was celebrated across America, Rancke didn’t find joy in the news. “I felt more of an overwhelming relief — mainly that he’d been found,” says the second-year undergraduate student working toward a degree in corporate communications. Her extended family shared the news through numerous telephone calls, e-mails and texts before and after President Obama’s televised address late Sunday.

“We’re definitely not celebrating, though,” she says. “We’d never celebrate the death of individual. Especially since nothing can ever bring my father back.”

Her father, A. Todd Rancke, was only 42 when he was killed at work on the 104th floor of the South Tower, where he served as managing director of the financial firm Sandler O'Neill & Partners. After the first plane struck the North Tower, her mother, Debbie, spoke with Todd and was relieved that he was OK.

“I just remember my family surrounding the TV,” says Rancke, then living in Summit, N.J. “Everyone was worried, but my dad told my mom he was all right and not to worry,” she says. “That was the last time they got to talk.”

Rancke is helping plan SMU’s 10th anniversary 9-11 commemoration with SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Policy.

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