by Barb Pert Templeton
All 43 names had ties to our state
The 20th Anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has arrived and as various organizations across the state pause to honor and remember the nearly 3,000 victims there’s also a group honoring those with specific ties to Michigan.
The Michigan Remembers 9-11 Fund was founded in 2006 by Patrick Anderson who was inside the World Trade Center when the first hijacked plane crashed into the building. A thankful survivor, Anderson, who is the CEO of East Lansing based Anderson Economic Group, LLC created the 9-11 fund to ensure that future generations remember Sept. 11, 2001 not only as a day of loss but to celebrate the brave men and women across Michigan who continue to protect and serve our communities.
As were all the years before it, the 20th Anniversary of the terrorist attack is one of solum reflection for Anderson. He said the memories remain sharp and jagged for both the survivors and for those who lost loved ones to the flames and rubble.
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Anderson was staying at the Marriot Hotel in the World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 after attending an economic conference. In an article in the Lansing State Journal dated Sept. 13, 2001 Anderson described how he heard the crashes and rumbling outside and raced to get his belongings and exit the hotel. He took refuge under a garbage truck in the street when the second plane hit. He said he felt grateful for the extra nudge he got, he believed from God, to get out of the hotel room quick although he wasn’t sure what was happening. He saw carnage and faces locked in fear on the streets outside the World Trade Center and it took him nearly all day to reach his wife and three children in Lansing to assure them he was okay.
Honoring those lost
Hoping to find a way to remember the victims, Andersons launched the non-profit 9-11 Fund and created both a website and Facebook page for the group.
Lisa Wootten Booth, a marketing and executive assistant for Patrick Anderson at the Anderson Economic Group, said that the Michigan victims of 911 are recognized as a group on the michiganremembers.org website and trustees continue to update the names based on research.
She said donations to the fund have in past years supported an annual “Run to Remember” run/walk, which has been held in different cities around the state. They have also supported a scholarship essay contest intended to encourage high school students to learn more about a day that is merely a historic note for them.
Fundraising events did stall over the past year during the pandemic but organizers hope to resume all activities next year. Donations received will be earmarked to resume them, and to continue to research and maintain the site’s historical records.
Over the years, Booth said some survivors and family members have shared their stories with the 9-11 Fund, either while attending the run or through letters and phone calls.
“I believe the trustees try to let them know they’re welcome while respecting their privacy. Some of the bios on the website were provided by family members,” Booth said.
The Fund considers those who were born, grew up, went to school, or whose families were in Michigan to be “people of Michigan” worthy of remembrance, regardless of their resident address on the date of the attack.
Anderson will be speaking at a special ceremony on Saturday Sept. 11 2021. All are welcome to attend the special ceremony on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at noon at the Wayne County First Responders Memorial on Edward N. Hines Drive (Hines Park) in Plymouth Township.
Here are a few of the Michigan names noted on the Michigan Remembers website.
Suzanne Kondratenko, 27, originally from Romeo, Michigan, Senior Consultant, Keane Consulting Group in Chicago She was attending a meeting with Aon Insurance executives on the 92nd floor of the north tower at the time of the attacks. Kondratenko grew up in Romeo and attended Sacred Heart High School.
Meredith Lynn Whalen, 23, grew up in Canton, Michigan, where she developed a love of horses and riding and competed on the cross-country and swimming teams at Plymouth-Salem High School. Whalen earned a BA in business from the University of Michigan in 2000 and was a research associate with Fred Alger Management on the 93rd floor of the World Trade Center.
Todd M. Beamer, 32, was born in Flint, Michigan and spent much of his youth in Glen Ellyn, IL. Beamer was an account manager for Oracle Corp., and was a passenger on Flight 93 that was hijacked before crashing in Pennsylvania. A 2001 article from the Chicago Tribune relayed Beamer’s heroism as he and several other men on the flight planned to battle the terrorists for control of Flight 193 with his now infamous line, “Let’s Roll.” Beamer is survived by his wife, Lisa and three children.
Alicia Titus, 28, was from Dexter, Michigan. Titus had worked as a flight attendant for just nine months when her life was taken in the crash of United Airlines Flight 175. She had earned a degree in International Marketing at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
To read more about victims from Michigan or to donate to the Michigan Remembers 9-11 Fund go online to michiganremembers.com