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Tribute to 9/11 Families

Aired September 14, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, memories of people who have two things in common, they were deeply loved as parents, spouses, siblings, friends, and they died in a terrible act of violence on September 11, 2001; a tribute to some of those who are gone, but never to be forgotten, next on a special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND.
Thanks for joining us. This has been a very tough week for all of us, so much mourning, so many memories one year later. We are still struggling to make some kind of sense about what happened on September 11 last year. We're still grappling with the fact that more than 3,000 lives were snuffed out that terrible day. The loss is almost inconceivable.

Tonight is not about the events of 9/11. It's about some of the individuals affected by them. It's a tribute to some of those who died from those who knew and loved them best. We'll also have a poignant musical performance from Peter Gabriel. We begin with remembrances of some of the parents who never came home on 9/11.


SONIA PUOPOLO, LOST MOTHER SONIA MORALES PUOPOLO: To think that a year has gone by and it just seems like it's been -- God will never present me with anything more difficult because nothing could be taken that would be more valuable. My mother was my life. My mother was a very beautiful, loving, giving, she loved to love. She was a very -- she taught all of us, my brothers and I, she gave us the passion to learn.

DOMINIC J. PUOPOLO, JR., LOST MOTHER SONIA MORALES PUOPOLO: One of the things she taught me was the value of life, human life. She taught me how important that was and how to respect it. She was very much a force behind giving me energy and ideas in a company that I had started just months before the crashes, and she just had this energy about her, this love of life, and she just said go out and do it, just get it done.

S. PUOPOLO: I thought my mom and I would be together forever, so she's with me, just not in the physical sense but really there's that difference of feeling, you know of really understanding, really understanding the value and how precious life is, how precious people are, and how important it is to tell the people that you love you love them. Don't wait until tomorrow.

D. PUOPOLO: There's times where I wanted to pick up the phone and talk to her and say hi, and say what do you think about this, and I can't do that, and that is very hard to comprehend and deal with and I do rely on my faith in God to get through. That's what's gotten me through.

TERRY MCGOVERN, LOST MOTHER, ANN MCGOVERN: I just can't believe it and I keep trying to make sense of why this happened and how it happened, and then on the other hand, I also know that she would want me to focus more on how she lived and that she lived with a lot of grace and with a huge sense of humor, and so I guess I've tried to keep my sense of humor through this whole nightmare.

She was crazy for all her grandchildren. She had four others and then my son. You know, the one time I brought him out to her house, she came running out of the shower like dripping, screaming Liam's (ph) here, Liam's here.

So, she was like, you know, absolutely delighted with him and I think that it will be fairly easy to kind of keep her alive for him because her other grandchildren, she was so involved with them, and she was so kind of different. She was a different type of grandmother. I forgot to say that she drove a sports car very fast.

She had all these different grandma characteristics, so they have a lot to say about here and you can't really even mention her without them all getting this big smile because she was just not a usual grandmother. So, I'm sure that they'll tell him all about her.

JESSICA MORELLO-LORE, LOST FATHER, STEVEN MORELLO: It doesn't feel like it's been a year. It certainly doesn't feel like a year since I've seen him. It's kind of scary it's been that long.

VICTOR LORE, LOST FATHER-IN-LAW, STEVEN MORELLO: You know, he didn't care if you had money or you had no money, he just accepted you as who you are. You know whatever problems you had he's probably been through, just accepting and he loved me. I know that.

MORELLO-LORE: Super loving, so gorgeous, he had these beautiful green eyes that my sister has.

LORE: He really just liked to be -- he was a family guy, talked about everything, so knowledgeable, could talk to anybody, could make the worst person turn good and selfless. He just would do things that anybody else wanted. If he wanted to do something, he put it on hold for three weeks before he did as long as everybody else was happy.

MORELLO-LORE: I've said it before, he's just a sparkle, you know. He was always happy to see you and even when you knew you did something bad, you knew OK you'd get yelled at and then everything was going to be fine.

You know I can't help but talk about him to everybody and I'm sure that sometimes people must be like, oh God enough already, but it just feels good inside because I know that he did that for us and I knew that he loved us very much. I just want to make sure that the whole world knows that we love him a lot.

JEANNETTE DIEHL, LOST FATHER, MICHAEL DIEHL: He was just my best friend. He was like -- he wasn't even like a father. He really was my best friend when it came down to everything. I could tell him anything and he would always be there for me.

Actually, around eighth grade I started piano, I remember, and I had a play, I think "Beauty and the Beast," and I looked at him and I could see tears running down his cheeks because he was so proud of me, because I know he was so proud of my music. That's why I like ten instruments, so that's one of the moments I remember.

LISA CARDINALI, LOST MOTHER MARIANNE SIMONE: She was great. I think from her coworkers that survived, I know that she was kind of the life of the party over there. She had a lot of great spirit. Everyone really liked her and she had a lot of connections, so I think that's why she stayed around a long time. She knew the ins and outs of what she was doing.

And, a couple days before my mother and I had taken my children to the boardwalk on Staten Island and we walked along and we talked and we talked about her future plans, which were to move right near my house, and we just enjoyed the day with my children. We went to the park after that, and pushed them on the swings, and then we went to go get ices.

I try to keep those memories in my mind but somehow the memories of that day just overpower all the memories of my life. Somehow I have to try to recall them more.



KING: Welcome back to this special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND, one year after September 11. We're sharing memories of some of those who died. We continue with reflections on some of the husbands and wives who were lost in the terrorist attacks.


NIKKI STERN, LOST HUSBAND, JIM POTORTI: We met at a party and we dated for a couple of months, and then I invited Jim over and asked him if he'd like to go to Paris. So, off we went to Paris in October where we made a lost of discoveries about each other. I found out that even though he was a very shy person in public, he was really funny, and I also discovered he was something of an artist.

He went out one day while I was sleeping and picked up some fruit, put it together in a still life and painted while I was asleep and said that one of his dreams had always been to paint in Paris, which is something he got to do, and he wrote on the bottom, "Nikki Jataime Jim" and I speak French pretty well, and I said you realize that this doesn't mean I like you, it means I love you and he said I know.

JULIE UMAN, LOST HUSBAND JONATHAN J. UMAN: My focus is my kids and remembering their dad for them and letting them know that they have a history and they came from a great person. Jonathan was the kind of person who could switch gears so easily.

When he was at work, he was at work, and when he was home, he was with us and he was home. So, at the beach it was just building sand castles and running in the water and burying daddy in the sand and just doing all those fun things you like to do at the beach and he did that, you know. There was no, you go play with the kids. He went and played with the kids, you know. He knew why we were on vacation and he loved it.

He worked long hours and e-mail was a good way for us to just kind of touch each other in the day, and I sent him an e-mail at 8:45 and within the subject line it said "ily nt" for I love you, no text, and I sent it at 8:47, and the phone rang and I answered the phone and saw what had happened.

I just hope he saw it, and I can't focus on what happened. What happened was awful. Awful things happen every day. It just so happened that Jonathan was there that day and I just need for them to know that not every day is bad and even though bad things happen, good things happen too, and that's a really important thing I want for my kids to know.

RICHARD PECORELLA, LOST FIANCE KAREN JUDAY: She changed my whole life. I was a gruff kid from Brooklyn. You know, I might work on Wall Street but I'm still a gruff kid from Brooklyn and she taught me how to look at people in a different light, how to be more caring. She was just a sweetheart.

I probably needed an anger management class for awhile until I met her. Karen didn't have a bad bone in her body but she just taught me, you know, how to love life. She wanted to enjoy life and that's what we were going -- we planned to do together, and we probably had the best five years of our lives together, and that's one thing that we can be happy about.

NATASHA SEKZER, LOST HUSBAND JASON SEKZER: We'd been together all these years and we have never, ever gotten into a fight, never, and I've always considered myself like a little firecracker and I would instigate a fight and never, never fought, never yelled, never, and it was just unreal. And, I mean, we basically believed that we were put here on earth to be together.

He was just an amazing person. He was somebody I looked up to. He was pretty much black and white, full of integrity. There was right. There was wrong. He was just -- I can't even explain it. I feel like it's been a very long time since I've seen my husband and I don't think I'm ready to admit that I will never see him. I mean I'm not fooling myself. I knew two days after that that was it. I can't believe it.

LORRAINE DIEHL, LOST HUSBAND, MICHAEL DIEHL: He was very quiet and conservative, quite the opposite of me. He was the one that would keep everything, like I would get excited over little things. He'd say don't sweat the small stuff, you know. He was known as the "barbecue king." He enjoyed the simple things in life and one of them was trying to get the family together on a Sunday for a barbecue and sit outside at the patio, and he would cook everything from like hot dogs to the Thanksgiving turkey. I mean he was excellent at that. He couldn't cook in the kitchen to save his life.

He just wasn't a person that could handle the kitchen but he really knew how to barbecue and I miss the companionship. I really do because we did everything together, and people said you mean you guys go grocery shopping together? We did everything, everything.

So, my big thing now is to make sure that when I leave the house I tell the children I love them and give them a kiss, no matter how knocked out tired they are. You know, I have to just let them know because you just don't know when your last day is going to be. People just assume that, you know, you're going to be here every day and it just doesn't work that way.

KATHY MAHER, LOST HUSBAND DANIEL MAHER: Unconditional love, this man was not about power or money, although we had it in his job. He was just unconditional love, his family, compassion, humor, and that's the only thing that keeps us going.

I wish people -- I know that he would want one person to understand that and to understand it's not about money or power or material things, it's your family, and he was happy. We just all fit. I can't explain it. We fit. We were always happy. There was -- my kids will tell you, they can't ever remember us fighting.

On his birthday, the four of us had been together. We gave him a 50th birthday party. He didn't want a big deal. He just wanted his close family and friends and it was wonderful. It was just what he wanted. It was just a party in the yard and he said "don't make a big deal. Don't make a big deal." And, I didn't, it was just family and friends and it was wonderful.

He sent me a card thanking me for his happiness. I mean that's how he was. He was just very happy and that gives me comfort and that gives the boys comfort. There's no regrets some people are regretting things. We don't have that.




DEBRA BURLINGAME, LOST BROTHER CHARLES BURLINGAME III: Hand-to- hand confrontation with these hijackers. I don't know whether he died in the cockpit or if he died in the cabin. I know he gave every last ounce of his strength to save his airplane, his passengers and crew, and I'm haunted by the fact, by the questions that will never be answered.

I want my brother to be remembered forever. His death mattered to people and matters to people and I think, you know, that's somehow appropriate. I remember on the day of remembrance, that Friday after this happened, I remember looking at people lighting candles in Tokyo and Munich and Paris and Brazil, and I thought well that's the way it should be when Chick Burlingame dies, the whole world should be mourning my brother's death.

JOHN CARTIER, LOST BROTHER JAMES CARTIER: And, at the same time that my younger sister and I were running for our lives, my younger brother, James Cartier, 26 years old, was losing his. Every day we wake up without James, every time the clock reads a certain time, we know that's the time the building came down, you know.

This is an anniversary for the rest of the country. We live it every day. It never goes away. It's seven days a week, 24 hours a day. There's no closure for us because long after they wipe out the Taliban, my brother James is still not coming home. They could wipe out all these bastards and Jimmy's not coming home.

KATHRYN BOWDEN, LOST BROTHER THOMAS BOWDEN: And so far, all I've been able to come to terms with is that maybe God killed Tommy or -- well not killed him but maybe God allowed Tommy to die in order to make us realize that we each have to be better.

Tommy's babies were little teeny babies when he died. His daughter Sarah (ph) was a year and a half old and his daughter Allison (ph) was born on August 31, and I know that she and her mommy every night sit on the bed and they tell daddy about their day, and Sarah blows kisses to heaven.

And when she stays over at my mum's house, without fail before every nap, before bedtime, she blows kisses to heaven, and sometimes she's really tired and she'll lay down and she'll jerk upright and realize she's forgotten something and she'll blow kisses to heaven really quick and then she'll lay back down again.

CATHY MARCHESE COLLINS, LOST SISTER LAURA A. MARCHESE: The last time I saw Laura was last year, August 26, at my family reunion. That was the fourth year I've had it and we just had it yesterday without her and that was an extremely painful day.

You know, she was so loved that the day of her memorial service, there must have been 600 people there. We're talking a 35-year-old woman. She wasn't a politician. She wasn't a gangster when you expect to see that at those type of services. She was just a 35-year- old woman that had a lot of friends.

MICHAEL BURKE, LOST BROTHER WILLIAM BURKE, JR.: He loved the duty. He loved the honor of the fire department. That's what he -- a sense of honor. So many times he spoke of this. I can see him, you know, his jaw set, the determination in his eyes as he spoke of the men of the past, of the honor of standing fast to your values. This was something -- he cherished this and then he in the end had the opportunity to fulfill this. He was tested.

JIM BURKE, LOST BROTHER WILLIAM BURKE, JR.: His only thoughts were laying down his life for others and what better way to go than that, I guess. ANGELA FRUNZI, LOST BROTHER, DANNY PESCE: My brother acted exactly how he always was. If there was like anything, any chaos, he just took charge. He was very calm. He just took control. He was my hero that day and that's how he was his whole 34 years of his life, and he just took charge.

He just led people out of the office and he left the receiver on and that's what I heard, just you know, him directing his coworkers off the floor. Where they went after that, we don't know. That's the last I've heard of my brother.

This is a photo that was taken of my brother Easter before he died, April 15 actually. My daughter had taken a nice shot of him and I put it on a heart and I can wear it every day to keep him close to me because he lives in my heart forever and he always will be there.


KING: Some of those who lost family members on 9/11 witnessed the tragedy firsthand. Others watched and waited at a horrified distance hoping against hope their loved ones would come home. Memories now of those who didn't make it.


WILTON SEKZER, LOST SON JASON SEKZER: I watched the first building collapse and I said to myself, my God. I have to bang my head against a wall. I'm in a terrible, terrible nightmare. I can't be seeing this. I'm an eyewitness to history. I can't be seeing this. This can't be real, and the building came down and I said to myself, I just pray that somehow my son got out.

Now, I know that he's not there. They're done. They're done digging. They're done sweeping up. I'm experiencing feelings that I've never experienced in my whole life. I lost friends in Vietnam. I lost close friends in the police department. I've lost a son, not as good as he was. He was beautiful. He was absolutely beautiful. God gave me a perfect jewel and then took him back.

VICKI SHOEMAKER, LOST SON ALAN KLEINBERG: I just remember driving to my daughter-in-law's house screaming no, no, no, this can't be happening. And then, of course, we waited to hear from him and we never did. He was my first born. He was my only son. He was my pride and joy.

My daughter Marla (ph) said: "Ma, how did we get so unlucky?" I said: "Marla, we're unlucky but then you have to look at how lucky we are. Look at all the children and look at what a strong family we have and that's what will keep us going." Alan has left a tremendous void in our lives, tremendous. I wish I could trade places with him any day and let him live his life.

RICHARD CIMAROLI, LOST DAUGHTER PATRICIA MASSARO: It's funny because a lot of times Patricia would go to work with me. We leave the same time. I only wish that she had left with me that morning. She wouldn't have been there because she would have been late but unfortunately that wasn't the case. She had to get in early because they were working on a project.

ANNA CIMAROLI, LOST DAUGHTER PATRICIA MASSARO: She always strived for the best. She was trying to climb that corporate ladder. She got married young but she was such a mature person that at 23, at this day and age 23 seems rather young. She was very mature beyond her years, so we said OK, it's time for her to get married. That's what she wanted.

R. CIMAROLI: And she had a million dollar smile and then when whoever talks to you about her that's what they would talk about, that smile, and she had a great little laugh, and she used to -- when she laughed, she did a high pitch sound to her laugh and she used to crinkle up her nose and she'd laugh.

A. CIMAROLI: But you just turn around and she's not there. You look for her and she's just not there. It's very difficult and everyone in the family they just don't know what to say. And so, sometimes it's a silence and we all just feel the same thing.

R. CIMAROLI: I don't know if my wife had mentioned it, this is, today is her birthday. Yes, today is her -- she would have been 26. See, that's hard for me to say too, she would have been. It's difficult to say.

SUSAN CARROL, LOST SON KEVIN COLBERT: He was a huge person physically, mentally, emotionally. He was a huge person. I would have to say the only thing larger than his physical presence was his smile. He had this incredible smile as you can see. I don't have one picture of him where he is not grinning from ear to ear.

I loved Halloween and it was hard as the kids got older, you know. They don't want to dress up. Even as a 25-year-old man, Kevin let me dress him up for Halloween so I dressed him up every year. He'd let me come up with some outrageous costume and he would go along with the program for me.

Last year I dressed him up as a giant baby and he wore a bonnet and carried a pacifier and did the whole pajamas with the trap door that fell out and everything. He was incredible. I feel like the rug has been ripped out from under my feet.

And I live by the Long Island Railroad Station in West Hempstead and I could put dinner on the table by the time that he would walk in the door, so that's another hard thing for me too. That's a constant reminder. The train comes in every day and I expect him to come barreling in my kitchen door and, of course, he doesn't, so that's hard.

TOM ROGER, LOST DAUGHTER JEAN ROGER: As I'm standing there watching the situation on television, the second plane hits and, of course, at that point my daughter Jean who was a flight attendant on American Flight 11, you know, we didn't know she was on the plane at that point. We didn't know -- nobody knew at that point that a commercial plane had hit the tower.

I mean as you recall the first 15 minutes it was all confusion, and so at that point everybody was just horrified as to what was happening and my initial reaction is what a terrible thing that's happening to those people, not realizing of course that I was one of those people that was going to be affected.

You know she became a flight attendant after four and a half years at Penn State because she wanted to, you know, travel the world and be with people and she got along with everybody. I mean you know she was a rare individual. I mean she really got along as well with a two-year-old child as she did with an 82-year-old grandmother.

And, you know, we were very candid, you know, prior to September 11 about life and you know what dreams she had, things like that, so you know to be able to think about those, you know the tragedy is that she won't be able to live them but hopefully, you know, we can do something to try to remember her and try to live some of her dreams out.

Jean had a wonderful way with people and you know in all that horror that those poor people underwent on that plane, you know, there wasn't anybody better at giving them comfort. You know, we don't know what's beyond but you know I mean if there was anyone that could have said to all those poor people after this happened, you know, come on, you know, let's go to the next place, she would be the one that would be leading them.



KING: We continue with this very special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND; more stories and heartfelt statements from those who lost family members on 9/11.


BURLINGAME: Well, initially my feeling was let's go over and turn Afghanistan into a big giant hole. That's irrational. Our country had sustained a tremendous loss of innocent life and I surely wouldn't want our country to inflict that on anybody else. But yes, there was a definite desire to inflict punishment, revenge, get them, kill them, make them -- incapacitate them so that they can't do this to anybody else.

CARTIER: As far as wiping them out, I don't know if that will ever happen. I don't believe it will. But, I think that America has to always been watching that it doesn't happen here. I say not one more life, not one more son, not one more daughter, not one more mother, not here on our soil ever again, ever.

MARIA LEGRO, LOST SISTER ADRIANNA LEGRO: It's just, it's been a horrible year, one of the worst years of my life. This is one of the most horrible things that's ever happened to me and my family and, you know, I say to myself why? Why did this happen to us? You know and it just, you know, why did she have to be there? Why didn't she just stay where she was -- you know, why did she have to go to work that day? You know, she wasn't supposed to be there. STERN: September 11 is not a magic day. People are not going to wake up September 12 and be better. They're going to wake up September 12 and go, oh my God it's real. Any kind of grief, even the "traditional" grief, it's worse the second year.

TOM RESTA, LOST BROTHER JOHN RESTA: I just feel that we need to keep the memory of who all these people were alive. It's a necessary evil. I mean that's the way I look at it. I mean every single one of these things is traumatic for all of us.

ROBERT TIRADO, LOST NEPHEW HECTOR TIRADO: I would hope that something positive would come out of this horrible tragedy, something positive. It did for our family. As I mentioned before, it got us closer together. We were sort of like separate and I guess Hector's dream of togetherness came true but as such a price.

CARYN WILEY, LOST FATHER MARK RASWEILER: Sometimes it feels like it just happened, like as we were driving into New York I kept thinking, looking over where the towers were and trying to see them there and thinking gosh, you know, it seems like we were just in here with the flyers. It seems like all this just happened, and then other times it feels like it's been forever.

MICHAEL RASWEILER, LOST FATHER MARK RASWEILER: I have my off and on days. Like every once in a while I'll just, you know, I'll be really depressed and it's like, it's kind of weird like the slightest things will kind of make me irritable and other times, you know, going out with my friends and having a good time and not really trying to think about it even though it's always on my mind. Some days are harder than others.

RONALD C. FAZIO, JR., LOST FATHER RONALD C. FAZIO: It goes second by second, day by day, hour by hour. It's just, it changes like a roller coaster and you know obviously the first thing was when we got married, my wife and I, a month later which was very difficult to do, but he was one of the rare type of men that he was actually very involved, along with my whole family, of planning our wedding so we felt that his presence was there, so it was very important for us to go on and have our wedding.

UMAN: Things that I do differently since September 11, I'm a lot more patient. I don't get angry as easily. When my kids laugh I really hear them laugh. It's not background noise for me anymore. I hear it. I hear the sound. When my son talks to me, I hear him. I hear what he's saying. I talk to him. I interact with him more.

You know my day is not filled with what do I have to do. It's enjoying the moment and enjoying the time and I know that sounds so cliche, but when something like this happens to you, you really do feel the need to enjoy every second because you don't know what's going to happen next.


KING: When we return, music to help and heal, a powerful, poignant song from the legendary Peter Gabriel. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We conclude tonight's special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND with a performance from musician and human rights activist Peter Gabriel. The song he's going to do for us is "I Grieve." It's from a new album "Up" to be released September 24. It's eloquent, emotional, and an appropriate close to this show. Peter joins us from his studio in his hometown of Bath, England. Peter, thanks very much for being with us.

PETER GABRIEL, MUSICIAN: Hi Larry. I've always been interested in the way people use songs like an emotional toolkit, and I felt that there wasn't really a song that I had to deal with grief and I tried to write that with this piece.

On September 11, both of my daughters were living in Tribeca, which is south of Canal Street, and so when the news hit and no telephones were working, I remember the sick feeling in my stomach and the relief when I did hear from my daughter, and I can only imagine a little of what it might be like not to have heard anything. So, this is for those people and it's called "I Grieve."





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