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Richard Wylie: Remembering families who lost loved ones

From the COLLECTION: 20 years later, our readers share 9/11 memories series
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My story about the tragic events of 9/11 begins on 9/10/01. My family and I were gathered in Wildwood, MO, to say goodbye to my sister, Carleen, who passed away from breast cancer at the age of 47, after battling the disease for seven years. Since my siblings and myself were born and raised in North Massapequa, NY, it was her dying wish to be buried there.

On 9/11 we were getting ready to meet with the funeral director to make arrangements to fly her body back to NY when the first plane hit the twin towers. After the second plane hit the towers, and the Pentagon was hit, all airplanes were grounded. We had to put her body on ice until that ban was lifted. We had a small funeral in Wildwood, MO. My wife and I then drove back to La Crosse and waited until we were able to fly her body to NY.

Once that happened, we drove to NY to have a second funeral to honor my sister's dying wish. Every year when 9/11 comes around, I not only think about all those families who lost love ones during that horrible time, but also remember my beautiful sister who left us much to soon.

Richard Wylie

La Crosse

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