Remembering the Irish Americans we lost in the 9/11 attacks


Another victim from the same firm, Chris Duffy, was the son of Wall Street 50 honoree John Duffy.

Berry, Lenihan and the two Duffys were among those who attended Irish America's Wall Street 50 reception on July 11, an event that was held annually at Windows on the World restaurant.

At the top of Tower One, the breathtaking view from Windows on the World was the ideal setting to toast the many achievements of the Irish and their descendants in the U.S.

As of September 11, that skyline view has been lost forever, but of course the accomplishments of people like Berry, Lenihan and the Duffys remain.

The accomplishments of others were never recorded and may never be known.

The unborn second child of Damien Meehan will never know daddy first-hand, how he grew up playing Gaelic Football with five brothers in Good Shepherd Parish, Upper Manhattan.

How among the Donegal Meehans of Upper Manhattan, Damien was the first to enter a “safe” profession, becoming a financial foot-soldier on Wall Street, instead of a fireman or a cop.

How on September 11, 2001, the 33-year-old reported to his desk at Carr Futures in Tower One and then disappeared; vanished forever.

In Northern Ireland, they will never know of the woodwork yet to be crafted by 21-year-old Brian Monaghan, who had emigrated to the Meehans' neighborhood in Upper Manhattan.

Joint ceremonies at Good Shepherd Church, Inwood, and St. Patrick's Church, Belfast, recalled the hurdles young Monaghan and his family had overcome to date, and all the promise the young carpenter had left to give.

In Dublin, they memorialized Richard Fitzsimons, who traveled to the Irish capital from Lynbrook, Long Island, just weeks before, to dance at his niece's wedding.

In New Jersey, they play “The Minstrel Boy” just a little bit quieter now in memory of three fallen “Irishmen” of sorts from the Port Authority Pipe Band: Steve Huczko, Liam Callahan and Richard Rodriguez.

In the Bronx, a widow cries because her husband and the father of her two baby girls, 31-year-old cafeteria worker Israel Pabon, left for work at dawn after a minor domestic squabble the night before: "We never got the chance to talk . . ."

The sacrifice is staggering, the waste of life too much to bear.

In Woodside, Queens, and Breezy Point, Brooklyn, families of cops, firemen and brokers with Irish names are forever wounded.

There are Brooklynites like Captain Timmy Stackpole, who just weeks before had laughed while being named “Irishman of the Year” at the Coney Island Irish Fest, and there are Bronxites like Ann McGovern, who bragged of a recent hole-in-one on the golf course.

A vice-president at the Aon Corporation of Tower Two who had recently become a grandma for the fifth time, McGovern had many accomplishments and perhaps even more loved ones who gathered to mourn at St. Brigid's of Westbury, Long Island.

From the altar, Ann's husband summed up perhaps the most important lesson learned by untold thousands since the attacks of September 11.

"Don't be afraid to tell people you love them, when it could be the last words spoken," said Larry McGovern, near a poster-sized photo of Ann with her youngest grandchild, Liam.

Cocking his head to the church roof, McGovern said in a cracked voice: "I love you."

Originally published Saturday, September 10, 2011.