David McCourt never recovered from the tragedy that befell him on 9/11

David McCourt’s life ended on the day the hijacked planes crashed and killed so many at the World Trade Center.

Though he was not on board his beautiful wife and daughter were on the United flight that crashed.

Four-year-old Juliana was on a flight to Disney Land in California with her mother, Ruth, when their plane was hijacked out of Boston.

On the ground at the World Trade Center that dreadful day was Ron Clifford, a Cork native and Ruth’s brother, who narrowly escaped  death himself.

The following years were dreadful for the family as they tried to make sense of the horrific deaths.

For David, a successful businessman, deeply in love with his wife and enraptured by his daughter, the bad days never ended.

I met David McCourt on a few occasions afterwards and marveled at his resilience in the face of such tragedy. But deep inside it is clear he never recovered.

As Ron Clifford told me last week, David was a victim of 9/11 as surely as anyone who died there even though it was cancer that eventually claimed him at age 71.

“He never got over that tragedy” said Ron who has struggled mightily with his own grief and who has played a leading part in the effort to bring those responsible for the deaths to trial.

It is easy to see why when you see the beautiful pictures of mother and daughter.

'Ruth and Juliana were my life and my passion,' he told an audience at a New London synagogue.

'I was going to end it all. If faith could justify taking these two beautiful creatures, I just didn't want to go on. But something kept me going.

'It's been a journey of spiritual awakening to go from where I was.

'If you don't have the spiritual awakening, you don't survive.'

He formed a non-profit so that children would learn not to hate. He saw how hatred had twisted the minds of the 9/11 hijackers from an early age.

He was trying to leave the world a better place despite the tragedy and he did that by his example. Now he is gone and once more the world seems full of weeping for his family.

But I know Ruth and Juliana will be waiting for him.