This story first appeared on the Dallas Morning News.

In Public & Private, Dallas-Fort Worth Residents Remember 9/11

David Flick, Eric Aasen, Christina Rosales, Dallas Morning News, Sept 11 2011


Throughout North Texas on Sunday, on the 10th anniversary of an unforgettable day of terrorist attacks half a continent away, people commemorated heroes and honored the dead.

Paul Copley, a Boy Scout from Plano, stood guard at a memorial in Grapevine dedicated to the flight crew members who died in four hijacked airplanes.

Capt. Joe Krais of the Allen Fire Department twice climbed the 56 floors of the Renaissance Tower in downtown Dallas, carrying the helmet of a New York firefighter who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Nearby, in the Majestic Theatre, Mayor Mike Rawlings called on residents to make Dallas “a bastion of faith and hope and charity.”

Danny Davis, an Air Force airman deployed to Iraq four times, ended a ceremony at the regional Red Cross headquarters by re-enlisting.

Charles Santos, who is alive because he was late getting to his office on the 92nd floor of the north tower, stayed inside his Lakewood home Sunday. He watched some anniversary coverage on television, emailed other survivors and lighted a candle in remembrance.

“I spent the day quietly and privately,” he said. “I’m happy to be here.”

Area residents — some with personal connections to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, some with only the vaguest of memories — honored the day in ways large and small.

The commemorations began as early as Friday night, with moments of silence at high school football games. By Sunday morning, the terrorist attacks were the subject of sermons in churches throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Not all events were solemn. Grapevine hosted a memorial run, a dog walk, a concert and some 9/11-related movies — using the money raised to benefit the
Grapevine 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial and a rescue team that helps find lost and missing people.

Christina Rancke, a 21-year-old SMU student, is fine with that.

Rancke, whose father died in the collapse of the twin towers, helped organize several anniversary events at SMU and planned to attend a memorial service there Sunday night.

“I don’t think there’s a right way or wrong way to be able to reflect or remember what happened,” she said. “Everyone has their own way to deal with coping or
honoring those who died.”

At an interfaith program Sunday afternoon at the Majestic Theatre, speakers tried to recapture the unity that enveloped the nation in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

Noting the political and economic strife that has characterized the last decade, Rawlings called on residents to “open up our hearts to a more peaceful decade to come.”

Moments later, Andrew Paley, president of the Rabbinic Association of Dallas, said he continues to be optimistic.

“Since 9/11, there are those who work to see that the fabric that holds us together be torn asunder — but to no avail,” he said.

A long climb

Sunday morning’s commemorations began before sunrise in North Texas, when hundreds of firefighters from Texas and surrounding states arrived at Renaissance Tower in full gear. Each climbed the 56-story building twice to approximate the 110 floors of the trade center, each bearing the name and photo of one of 343 fellow firefighters who died in the attacks.

The unseasonably warm day made the tribute more strenuous.

“This is like fighting a fire,” said Carli Turbeville of the Grand Prairie Fire Department, who was red-faced and panting. “This is just proof of the camaraderie between firefighters. We’re thinking of all those lost and taking them to the top.”

The helmet held by Krais belonged to Patrick Waters, a New York City fire captain who died while trying to rescue others.

Memorial Plaza.

Hundreds gathered to honor the airline workers from the four flights who died that day. The crowd included pilots, flight attendants, police stood solemnly in front of the memorial, some wiping away tears.
Marty Fangman, whose brother, flight attendant Robert Fangman, died on United Airlines Flight 175, read aloud the names of the crew “In a way, it was our first act of honoring our departed colleagues,” said Julie Frederick, government affairs liaison with the Association Attendants, who spoke at the ceremony. “We could feel them with us. They pushed us to fly. They gave us the strength to carry on.”

Every time Frederick puts on her uniform and walks down the jet bridge to a plane, she said, she thinks of her colleagues who died that “They will always be with us. We will never forget.”

As the ceremony concluded with a performance of “God Bless America,” a commercial airplane from Dallas/Fort Worth International Copley, the 17-year-old Plano Scout, had no vivid memories of the attacks, which he said he learned about only after he returned home But he said he was standing guard “to remember those who died for our country and what’s happened to our country.”

Close to home

The memories of the terrorist attacks could not be more indelible for Santos, who is executive director of TITAS, Dallas’ theatrical arts Santos was then managing director of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and had been scheduled to attend a breakfast meeting restaurant on the top floor of the trade center’s north tower.

Because he had been planning to attend an event later that evening, he left for work late. The north tower was struck just as he boarded just as a second plane hit the south tower.

Santos said he scrapped his initial plans to return to New York City for the 10th anniversary. His only participation in an official commemoration the DISD arts magnet school.

“It’s interesting talking to the students, some of whom were young children 10 years ago,” he said. “It’s like hearing our fathers talk about He understood their view one day while watching a 9/11 documentary on television.

“It’s illuminating to watch the towers come down in two dimensions,” he said. “There’s no smoke around you, there’s no smell, there’s event sterilized, and I thought, ‘That’s what it must be like to kids with no personal memory.’”

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