Lives, dreams cut off by terror

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Say their names, remember their lives. They are emblematic of what it means to be an American, millionaires and the formerly homeless, immigrants yearning to build a new life, the young just starting out, the middle-aged at the height of their careers, city dwellers and suburbanites, people full of life and love.

They were in the World Trade Center or the Pentagon on Sept. 11. Now they are among the dead and missing. But they cannot be forgotten, because they are more, even, than individual, remarkable people. Here are a few of those names, provided by the New York Times News Service.

Zhanetta Tsoy was beginning a new life at 9 a.m. Sept. 11. It was Day 1 of a new job in a new country, a place where she and her husband believed their futures were as big and bright as the New York skyline. Fresh from Kazakstan, Ms. Tsoy, 32, could hardly believe she was about to go to work in one of the world's tallest buildings, as an accountant for Marsh & McLennan. Relatives wanted her husband and 4-year-old daughter to return to Kazakstan. But she was there, and so they remained.

Bryan C. Jack was a budget analyst for the Defense Department, and for days, friends thought he was missing in the ruins of the Pentagon. By a twist of fate, he was among the passengers aboard American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed at the place where Mr. Jack, on most days, would have been crunching numbers at his desk. Mr. Jack, 48 and described as a brilliant mathematician, was on his way to California on business.

Khamladai and Roshan Singh had to leave home early the day of the attack -- by 6:20 a.m. -- because their roles at a conference breakfast at Windows on the World restaurant were so crucial. Khamladai, 25, as an assistant banquet manager, would be greeting the participants at 8 a.m.; her brother, Roshan, 21, was arranging an audio-visual presentation. Preparations for the 600 guests had to be flawless. They left the family home in Woodhaven, Queens, together as usual, caught the A train and arrived by 7 a.m. After working all day, Khamladai studied computer programming at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Roshan was in the Army National Guard.

Richard A. Penny loved to work, even during the 10 years he was homeless. When he slept on a cot in a Harlem shelter or dozed upright near Grand Central Terminal, he still rose to polish the brass at St. James' Church, scrub floors or sweep city streets. Three years ago, he found a steady job in the World Trade Center recycling program, now run by Project Renewal, and rented a room in Brooklyn. Mr. Penny told his story as a fall from grace. He was the 1966 valedictorian of Metropolitan High School; heroin and a 1975 robbery conviction swept it all away. The hard climb from homelessness led to the upper floors of the twin towers, where he was collecting paper Sept. 11.

James Audiffred was nutty about lighthouses. But not just any lighthouses. Again and again, he was drawn to the lighthouses of Maine. He studied their history and their architecture. In July, he packed his wife, his son and his sister-in-law's family into a rented minivan and took them to see the Cape Elizabeth Light, a 67-foot lighthouse south of Portland. With childlike delight, he made everybody pose for pictures. Mr. Audiffred, 38, was a World Trade Center elevator operator from Brooklyn.

Elsy C. Osorio-Oliva was 27, the eldest sibling in her Flushing, Queens, household, but she acted like a mother hen. She doted on her younger brother and sister -- Kate and Anthony Umanzor, 10 and 8 -- with whom she lived, along with her mother and stepfather. And she doted on her mother, Feliciana Oliva-Umanzor, who left college and a war-ravaged El Salvador in 1983 for a new living cleaning apartments in the United States. Ms. Osorio-Oliva was a junior translation engineer with General Telecom on the 83rd floor of 1 World Trade Center.

Alisha Levin lived alone in her apartment and loved New York -- the lifestyle, the rhythms of the city. She loved her job as vice president for human resources at Fuji Bank. She loved working at the World Trade Center and looking out the windows on a clear day. Every other week, Ms. Levin, 33, would go home to Philadelphia to spend time with her parents, her sister and her nephews.

Katie McGarry Noack could turn strangers into acquaintances and acquaintances into friends. Mrs. Noack, 30, would go to school meetings with her sister and autistic godchild, and on the spur of the moment, drive 45 minutes at night to comfort a grieving friend. She was married only six months and had worked at Telekars USA only six weeks. She was at a breakfast meeting at Windows on the World on Sept. 11.

Julie Geis had a way of encouraging people to do their best, whether they were in a boardroom or on a softball field. Ms. Geis, 44, was senior vice president of Aon Corp., where she had worked for six years. She lived in Lee's Summit, Mo., the small town where she grew up, and was in New York City in the south tower for a monthly meeting the day of the attacks. She loved to travel, especially to New York.

Vernon Cherry was a Brooklyn firefighter who moonlighted as a wedding singer. The singing, more than anything else, keeps him so vivid in the minds of friends. Mr. Cherry, 49, sang it all and sang it everywhere: Barry White in the firehouse, Frank Sinatra at weddings, the national anthem at Fire Department promotion ceremonies.

Joseph John Berry was a man who left big tips and who once urged a nervous friend to go through with her wedding because "marriage is a wonderful thing." He simply hated the idea of a vacation without his three children. Never mind that they are all grown now, with the youngest 21 and the eldest 27. Whether it was a trip to Italy or one of their annual pilgrimages to Aruba for New Year's Eve, he and his wife always took their three children. Mr. Berry, 55, was co-chief executive of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, an investment banking firm.

Helen Cook was 12 when she and her brother, 10, moved to the Bronx from Honduras with their mother. "We came over for a reason," her brother said, "to go to school and try to become somebody." She loved school and wanted to become a nurse. But after three years of college in Buffalo, N.Y., she took a summer job at 1 World Trade Center and met Jermaine Cook, who worked for the stock exchange. In August, the couple celebrated their second wedding anniversary in Miami Beach. After the plane hit, Ms. Cook, 24, tried unsuccessfully to call her husband from the 82nd floor. Instead, she reached her brother, crying. By telephone, he did his best to hold her hand.

Hector Tirado Jr. liked firefighting the best of his three jobs. A former emergency medical technician, he was lured to the New York Fire Department less than two years ago by the excitement and the opportunity to help people, his uncle said. The divorced father of five, Mr. Tirado, 30, also worked as a waiter and, occasionally, as a model. His latest shoot was posing in casual clothes for a Latino firefighters calendar that was due out this year.

Janet Alonso worked three days a week as an e-mail analyst for Marsh & McLennan. Her second child, Robbie, was born with Down syndrome 18 months ago, and Ms. Alonso made a typical phone call the morning of Sept. 11. She was not only checking in with her mother-in- law, who handled the baby-sitting, but also making sure Robbie's foot braces, misplaced the day before, had been located and returned; it is impossible for him to take his baby steps without them. Janet and Robert Alonso were also the parents of Victoria, 2, a miracle baby of sorts. After 10 years of trying to conceive, using methods increasingly clinical, Ms. Alonso had all but surrendered her dream of becoming a mother when Victoria was conceived -- the natural way. Her final phone call was to her husband. She told him that the office was filling with smoke and that she could not breathe. And she told him she loved him.

Ming-Hao Liu was an engineer for Washington Group International in the World Trade Center, but most weekends, he was the principal of the Livingston Chinese School, near his home in Livingston, N.J. Once, on a visit to his native Taiwan, Mr. Liu, 41, bought gifts for his two young sons. But when he stumbled upon new textbooks for the Chinese school, he stuffed all 150 into his suitcase. His sons' gifts did not fit. He left them with his mother-in-law. His wife said she understood.

Samantha and Lisa Egan were sisters and co-workers. They did most things together: playing sports, visiting their parents on Long Island, collaborating on a Mother's Day gift. This year, they gave their mother, Elizabeth, a photo album of their moments together. When Lisa, 31, heard that jobs were available at Cantor Fitzgerald, where she had worked for four years as a human resources manager, she suggested that Samantha, 24, apply. About seven months ago, Samantha started working steps away from Lisa. Their father, David, says he knows that in the minutes after the plane hit their tower, Lisa and Samantha were together. "My girls," Mr. Egan said, "were outgoing, bright, articulate, giving, loving, caring. Not just my flesh and blood."

Jacquelyn Aldridge grew up in Tampa but moved to Staten Island in 1979, joining a sister who lived there. She worked as an accountant for Marsh & McLennan and was often in touch with her two sisters and brother, though none of them lived in New York. "She was always one of those who pulled folks together," her eldest sister said. She would have turned 47 this month, and married three years ago.

Kevin M. Cosgrove. "Mommy, it broke my heart when Daddy died because he was a good snuggler," said 4-year-old Elizabeth Cosgrove. She was speaking of her father, Kevin M. Cosgrove, vice president of claims at Aon. Wendy Cosgrove held her daughter close and said, "I know." Cosgrove, 46, was from West Islip, N.Y.

Scott Hazelcorn was 29 and a trader of long-term treasury bonds at Cantor Fitzgerald. At a memorial service, his father learned that there were at least a dozen people who considered his son their best friend, a function of his open heart and sunny nature. Each eulogist put it differently: your problem was his problem; he made each person feel he was the only one in the room; he taught people to hug each other; he was the one who made work fun. He and his girlfriend, a special-education teacher, loved children and had plans for a summer camp for needy kids. Mr. Hazelcorn often told his parents that he wanted to buy an ice cream truck so he could hear the happy squeals of children all day.

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