I posted about these two men last year as part of the 2,996 project. While I was not able to sign up this year, I have decided to repost these tributes to honor two lives lost on this day, six years ago:
Jesus Cabezas called it his picture face – the stony, serious expression pictured above. It was a stark contrast to the sunny disposition of the 66 year old Windows on the World cook. Jesus’ dynamic personality was larger than his 5 foot, 5 inch, 150 lb frame. So was his spirit.
He came home one day holding a knife he’d taken from a mugger during a struggle. “He ran away before I could give it back,” he quipped.
And that wasn’t the only battle he’d fought – Jesus had also successfully fought colon cancer – and won.
He made an impression on those who knew him. Sol Caceres, who worked with his daughter at Woolworth, described it this way: “I only met this man once. More than 10 years ago at his daughter Victoria's wedding. He looked so elegant and debonare walking his daughter down the isle. He was the strong silent type with a lot of love and passion for his family in his heart.”
Originally from Riobamba, Ecuador, Jesus had come to New York more than 30 years earlier, hoping to earn a good living for his family. He lived by himself, sometimes working as many as three jobs at a time, waiting for the time that he could be reunited with his family.
When he first brought his wife and daughter to the States, Jesus still had three children back in Ecuador. The entire family was reunited once he could support them in his new home.
Jesus had been a cook since he was young. He worked in an Italian restaurant for over a decade. While working as the main cook for Manhattan’s Grace Hotel, he had also worked part-time at Windows on the World, high at the top of the World Trade Center. After the hotel was sold, he went to work full time at Windows on the World.
Returning home from work, he would often make his wife’s favorite Ecuadoran dish. On the way to work, his habit was to pause to ask his wife for a blessing. He would then kiss her good-bye, and head off.
On a sunny September morning in 2001, he was in a rush. Late for the morning shift, he did not ask for her blessing, did not give her a good-bye kiss.
Jesus’ grandson David was expecting his “Papi” to attend a soccer game that weekend. But that was not to be.
Mere hours later, Jesus would be gone, The horrific circumstances are well known. The airplanes. The destruction.
What is, sadly, less well known, is the simple joy that Jesus Cabezas brought to the lives he touched. Friends and family would recall that he “smiled about everything.” Coming to the States, he had worked hard, and found joy in doing so. His family had urged him to retire, to move somewhere quiet. But he had refused, saying “I’m a city boy.” He loved his job high above New York City as much as he loved the city itself.
Jesus was one of those quiet heroes, ordinary, every day people who don’t win medals, who don’t see their names in lights. They are heroes in their little circles, heroes to family and friends, to co-workers, to customers, to neighbors. They are the unsung heroes whose flames are small, but burn brightly in their little corners of the world, and far outlast a life that loved ones see as far too short.
September 11, 2001, Jesus N. Cabezas lost his life in the attack on the World Trade Center. But in the hearts of those who knew him, that light lives on.Links:September 11th MemorialA Nation of Immigrants RebuildsNewsday.com - Jesus Cabezas9-11 Victim Memorial - Jesus CabezasGuest Book - Jesus CabezasUnitedInMemory.net
Although the events of 9/11 occurred in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania, many other states, and even other countries, were hit hard that day.
My home state of Connecticut was keenly affected by that day. 152 of our own were lost.
One of those my state mourns is Bradley J. Fetchet.
Brad Fetchet touched many lives. After that fateful September day, his family would begin to learn just how many. "In the first week, thousands of people came,"
his mother would remark in a Hartford Courant interview. "He had friends going from hospital to hospital, going to the Armory to fill out a missing person's report. One of his friends set up a Web site. I have baskets full of letters from kids that I don't even know."
He had moved to Manhattan in 1999, and worked as an equities trader with Keefe, Bruyette and Woods, on the 89th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
Despite the sometimes cutthroat nature of that business, Brad was known as a kind, generous young man. He would come home to attend his younger brothers' sporting events, or to take them to games. The young man who preferred to let his birthday go by without celebration needed no special occasion to give to others. He would surprise his parents with gifts -
He liked to surprise his parents, like the time this summer he bought a DVD
player and the movie "Gladiator" for his father, set it up and paused at the
most exciting scene. "He called Frank into the family room and said, 'I have
something to show you,'" his mother recalled. "He laid back on the sofa with
that big smile of his and pressed the button ... He had the best smile."
He was the go-to guy in his family for setting up the electronics or fixing a problem with the computer.
He was an accomplished athelete, who had played both hockey and lacrosse in highschool and college.
And he was looking towards his future. He and girlfriend Brooke had been shopping for engagement rings only days before.
In a day filled with horror and chaos, Bradley had calmly telephoned his family at about 9 am to let them know that he was OK. He called his father, and then left messages for his mother and his girlfriend.
That is the last that anyone heard from him. At 9:02:54 am, United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower, between the 78th and 84th floors. Within an hour, that tower would collapse.
His family has decided to honor Brad by establishing a scholarship fund in his memory. Though Brad has left us, his generosity lives on in the Bradley J. Fetchet Memorial FoundationLinks:Legacy.com - Bradley James FetchetKeefe, Bruyette, & Woods - 9/11Deft Athelete Was a Role Model to ManyVoices of September 11
(Brad's mother is the Founding Director)Connecticut's Living MemorialConnecticut's Official List of VictimsConnecticut Remembers 9/11UnitedInMemory.net
Labels: 9/11, terrorism