When we were in New York last fall we visited the 9/11 site and I took photographs of the names engraved on the steel bands that surround the reflecting pools in the memorial park. Since today is the anniversary of 9/11 I thought I would put faces and stories to three of those names.
Michael John Otten was a 42-year-old third generation firefighter from Manhattan. He could always be counted on to lend a helping hand to those in his neighborhood who needed assistance. This coming January his 21-year-old son Christopher and his 18-year-old son Jonathan are scheduled to write their entrance exams for firefighting school so they can follow in their father’s footsteps. Their Mom says although she will worry for her sons’ safety she has no intention of stopping them. She remembers how their father loved his job and woke up everyday happy about going to work. She wants that kind of joy in their profession to be a reality for her sons too.
Rhonda Sue Rasmussen was a 44-year-old civilian employee of the United States Army. She and her husband Floyd had four children. He describes her as a woman with “a big heart, big smile, willing to listen, laugh at you, put you at ease.” Her work as a budget analyst had taken her family to several overseas postings including three terms in Germany which she had particularly enjoyed. Rhonda loved to read aloud to her husband when they went on car trips.
Amy R. King was a 29-year-old flight attendant on the plane that was flown into the South Tower. She was an avid runner, the youngest of three sisters and a devoted aunt to her nieces and nephews. She was dating Michael Tarrou a fellow flight attendant who died with her. Michael had recently asked his mother for his grandmother’s engagement ring to give to Amy. Her hometown of Jamestown New York will hold the 11th annual Amy’s Run this year. The 5K event was organized by Amy’s high school track coach and all proceeds go to summer camp scholarships for kids. The community has also built a playground called Amy’s Playce. It’s spelled with a ‘y’ because it is a place for kids to play and new equipment is constantly being added.