A little background about this project can be found here. Someone set up a blog that had a list of all the ones that were noted to have lost their lives on September 11, 2001. People were invited to take to their blogs writing a proper tribute for an individual they would be given upon signing up. Over time things change people forget or let go of their love and habits of writing – when recently searching the blogs that had devoted a post to an individual, many were found to be either broken or dead links leaving the list at a dwindling 900 individuals that had their virtual tribute still in existence. Given that yesterday was the 10 year anniversary of this unimaginable tragedy the same person to initially have these tributes written 10 years ago did just that again – to refresh these individuals tributes and have their last memory put to the world wide web once again.
I didn’t even hesitate to contribute – this is such a minute thing to do to give back – but means so much to so many. Many news feeds buzzed with the question ” Do you remember exactly what you were doing when you found out about the 9/11 attacks?”…and to be quite honest I vaguely do. I remember being in history class (ironic) at John Metcalf Junior High in Burnsville, MN. I remember our teacher answering the phone looking up at us and then turning around to turn the tv on – he went out into the hall to tell the other teachers I imagine. We sat that day and just watched – there was no learning – there was only listening, on that day I remember time truly standing still. When one kid in my history class raised his hand to ask the teacher if we were going to actually learn something today (this kid was a real asshole) the teacher looked him dead in the eye and said, “yes – watch the TV’s – you are living history right now, you will forever remember this day when all the other knowledge you’re taking in now has faded.” That was the moment I started to recognize the true severity of the situation.
Andrew Steven Zucker
Andrew Steven Zucker was a 27 year old lawyer who had grown up in North Massapequa, was even known in his younger years by his loved ones to be the ‘family lawyer’ he seemed to have a strong will about him. “He was loud and outgoing. He got on everyone’s nerves four times a day, but did something five times a day to make up for it. ” Zuckers brother Stuart had said.
Andrew had attended Binghamton University and Cordozo Law School was stuck in a decision to move to Israel but ultimately thought he’d stay in the US and become a lawyer. Zucker helped win a case against the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of a Pakistani immigrant that set a precedent for the interpretation of eligibility for the earned income credit. After law school, Zucker spent a year at the Bronx district attorney’s office and then practiced briefly with a firm in New Jersey before joining Harris Beach.
Harris Breach had an office in the second tower of the world trade center and said that it was a symbolic location for them “you could see forever, and we thought we’d be here forever, we were on top of the world”. Zucker wasn’t supposed to be at the office that morning, he and his wife had decided to vote at the mayoral elections that morning but due to his wife not sleeping well he left for work to let her continue sleeping and told her “we’ll vote later in the day” when she called him at work.
In the office when the first plane struck at 8:46 am, Zucker knew that there was a small dwindling window of time to where they needed to get out of there. Being advised to stay put and not leave their offices Zucker had known otherwise due to firefighter training done in his earlier years when he was a volunteer firefighter. Zucker was said to walk through the halls yelling to everyone to get out now – get to the stairwell get to the nearest exit they could immediately.
Due to the amount of deaths Harris Beach suffered that day, now known as the largest human loss a law firm has experienced at once, the company hired a private investigator to help them understand why some of the employees there that day lived. The investigator could not determine which floor the employees were on when they died but it was between the stairs and the 78th floor, at 9:06am – when the second plane hit the second tower taking out floors 77 through 85.
When asked by the investigator how those people were able to make it out alive and others weren’t, seven people had said that the only reason they got out was because of Andrew Zucker and his courage, he lost his life because he went back to the 85th floor to make a ‘final sweep’ accounting that everyone had evacuated the floor.
Andrew and his wife Erica had suffered a loss several months earlier in the Spring of 2001 just weeks before their first child was due – they had learned they lost the baby. The silver lining in the wake of the horrible events that September day and the sadness from losing their first child were woven into the very reason Erica couldn’t sleep that morning…She was expecting, and Andrew had known as well – however, they were the only ones to know, they had yet to tell their families.
Erica delivered a beautiful healthy boy in February of 2002, named appropriately, Andrew Jason Zucker – keeping his fathers namesake alive. Since then Erica has remarried with Andrews family in attendance, and had a second child along with two stepchildren – she remains close with Andrews family and keeps her son Andrew close to his fathers family as well.
To say time heals all wounds would be routine – to say that it’s going to hurt for quite sometime and who ever actually knows if it gets better…but there comes a day where it does get easier – the beauty in this is that their son Andrew came to existence – he still sees his dad in every one of his family members and is told quite often how similar he looks and acts to his own father, he may not have known his dad but he sure does now. To the Zucker family and everyone linked to this passing of Andrew – I offer my deepest condolences and wish you brighter days while everyone’s soul finds peace. Speak of him often and know that he is never gone forever, for his memory lives in each of you every single day.
→ The reason I chose Andrew Zucker for this was because first off he was on the list of un commemorated – and I wanted him to have his proper space be given. Second he was very last on the list – I know what it’s like to be accounted for last in class due to a last name leaving you at the back, but I wanted him and his family to know that it was important to me today to make sure he was first for something – doing so everyday he is a first forethought to his family. Third – his age, he was 27 when he left this world, that is close to my age. Fourth – his story, the fact that he lost his own life in hopes of helping others weather he knew he was going to make it out or not – he went back in for the better of someone else and their families that is a true everyday hero. Finally I chose Andrew because like so many lost that day I don’t want him to be forgotten – I don’t want anyone to overlook that day for centuries to come, I witnessed history as a child and I’m speaking on behalf of that history as an adult, because one day when his son grows up I want him to have constant references to who daddy was and how much he loved him even though he wasn’t born yet. Andrew Zucker thank you for your contributions to society and your contributions that tragic day – although I have not had the pleasure of ever meeting you or your loved ones, their worlds are better places for having known you. Thank you, Be well, and God Bless.
May we forever find peace within our hearts for the hearts and souls of others and may this world live on to know the beauty of selflessness and a better tomorrow from a stronger today.