Thursday, September 6, 2012

Forever Young, Forever Cherished

Some are like water, some are like the heat
Some are a melody and some are the beat
Sooner or later, they all will be gone
Why don't they stay young?

On the morning of September 11, 2001 four airliners were hijacked:  2 United Airlines planes and 2 American Airlines planes.   United 93, which had taken off from Newark Airport, was downed in Shanksville Pennsylvania.   Two of the other three flights that morning - American 11 and United 175 which struck the North Tower and the South Tower of the World Trade Center respectively - had taken off from Boston's Logan Airport. 

The fourth hijacked plane - American 77 - took off from Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. at approximately 8:20 am carrying six crew members and fifty-three passengers on a 757 bound for Los Angeles, California.  It was American 77 that the hijackers aboard, after seizing control of the plane, flew deliberately into the Pentagon.  The jet struck the western facade of the Pentagon at the 1st floor level at 9:37 a.m.   In all, one hundred and eighty-four people died that morning at the Pentagon.  

Donald McArthur Young was forty-one years of age when he was killed on September 11, 2001.  He was a decorated member of the United States Navy, which he faithfully served for twenty-one years.  He was killed one week shy of his 42nd birthday.  He did - in fact - spend the majority of his life in the service of his country.  At the time of his death, he was a  Chief of Naval Operations Information Systems Technician. 


He was much more than the sum of his awards and honors.  He was a loving husband to his wife Felicia to whom he had been married for fourteen years at the time of his death.  He was also survived by five sisters, a brother and countless nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles.   In a tribute to her husband in the Washington Post, Felicia Young said“Every time he went on a ship he collected a [Navy] hat. He also got one every time he had shore duty. They had great sentimental value to him because he was going to retire in a year or two, after 24 years. With the hats he could look back on his naval career and see where he had been and what he had done. ... He died doing what he loved.”

Edmond G. Young, Jr. might have not appeared - to the untrained eye - to have come very far at all in his too-short twenty-two years and change of life inasmuch as he was born and raised only in Annapolis, Maryland, which is a relatively short distance from where he died on September 11, 2001.  At his young age, he had already added the title of "father" to that of "son" and tragically left behind both his four-year-old son Stephan and his parents.  His mother and father - with his death in September 2001 - endured a parent's worst nightmare a second time as Edmond's sister Michele predeceased him.  He was the only son in a family of four children. 

He was a civilian employee at the Pentagon.  He worked as a Desktop Technician for BTG, Inc and had only been transferred to the Pentagon earlier in 2001 where he supported the DCSPER Army Division. At the time that American 77 struck the building he was at work, working on a General's computer.  It took rescue and recovery teams nine days before they were able to locate his body. 

In the tribute that the Washington Post published for him, his mom spoke of her son in terms that bring both a smile to my face and a lump to my throat"After high school, we didn’t know what he was going to do. Then he said he wanted to go to the Computer Learning Center in Alexandria. He graduated, and we were all so proud of him. He just liked to learn about computers. He wanted to find out what else he could do, to push himself. He was taking lots of computer tests, trying to move up in the world. He was a person who didn’t like to stay where he was."

Lisa L. Young was a civilian employee of the Department of Defense who died on September 11, 2001 at the building she had called home for fifteen years where she worked as a Personnel Assistant.   She was a DC girl - born in the District - and a proud member of H.D. Woodson High School's Class of '81. 

As good as she was at her "job for pay", the role at which she excelled like no other was that of mother to her daughter Chaquita.  She referred to her daughter as her "miracle baby", a baby whose eighteenth birthday was one month to the day after the horrible day on which her mom was murdered.   Eighteen is pretty damn young to have your anchor - your support system - torn from you.  In the Washington Post's tribute to Lisa Young, Chaquita shared a story about a workplace gift that her mom had received and which she, Chaquita, came to cherish“She received the bear about two years ago, on Secretaries’ Day. All of her co-workers chipped in and gave it to her. It was special to her because she worked [in the Pentagon’s Army personnel policy division] a long time. Everybody loved her. They actually looked at her as a sister and as part of the Army family. As soon as she died, I went and took it. It’s just like a memory keeper. It reminds me of her.”

You want proof of what type of job Lisa Young - only thirty-seven years old when she was killed - did raising her "miracle child"?  As Joe Jackson once snarled, "there goes your proof".   You did one hell of a fine job Mom.  One fine job indeed.

Famous last words laying around in tatters....
But I love you and that's all that really matters
If this is goodbye.  If this is goodbye....

-AK

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