9.11.2006

Noel J. Foster, age 40

Today is 5 years since 9-11. It seems like a lifetime, and yet it has gone by in the blink of an eye. There are so many people to remember, so many families for whom this will no longer just be a day... it will always be the anniversary of the day they lost their husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father, friend, brother... it will always be the day that changed everything.

Today I am recognizing Noel Foster, who was 40 years of age when he died in the twin towers. He had a wife, of ten years, and two daughters (8 & 5 at the time). He graduated from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa... not far from where I attended college.

Noel was the vice president of Aon Corp, and the only reason he was in Tower Two that day was as a favor to a friend who had broken a leg. He was still helping that friend down the stairs when the towers collapsed. He didn't leave him. People said that he was just like that... always helpful, always with a smile. He liked red cars and always had a project going. He was one room away from having upgraded every room in his house.


Noel was a real person, with real hopes and dreams... and they were all extinguished, in the blink of an eye, 5 years ago. His girls, now 13 & 10, have only old memories of their father. They will never have their father walk them down the aisle. Their mother, Noel's wife, lost the man that she planned to grow old with...


From last year... my 9/11 story:

For some reason the TV was on that morning... normally it never was that early in the day. We would sleep as late as possible, then dash off to our first class, so morning TV didn't happen. But that day it was on, and as I came out of Trav's personal room I saw the smoke pouring out of the first tower hit. At that point it was still confusion about what had really happened... was this a mistake? I called to Jon that there had been a plane crash, and he gave some sleepy reply.

Soon all was clarified however, as I stood there, the second plane hit. I remember just being completely shocked. It was a weird feeling, like watching a movie. Something like that just didn't feel real.

I called out to Jon, who was still in his personal room that he had to come see this, that he would never believe what was happening. He didn't until they replayed the second hit.

I just sat there, unable to look away. Travis came back at that point, all the classes in progress were being dismissed, the rest (for the day) cancelled. He sat down to watch too... and then we remembered George.

One of Travis' fraternity brothers and friends, George, had a brother who worked in the city. Who we thought (but hoped not) might actually work in one of the towers.

Then the towers starting collapsing.

We went down the hall to George's room, and one look at his face was enough. He was frantic, trying to reach his parents, his siblings, anyone who could tell him anything about James. We tried to calm him down, and eventually we had to turn off his TV for him. He didn't want to watch, but he couldn't stop.

The rest of the day was a blur. No one could talk about anything else, think about anything else. Lehigh gets students from all over, but a majority from PA, NJ, and NY. A good number of those students have parents, siblings, or friends that work in NY. Numerous students lost people that day, or knew people that lost people. Too many (a good handfull) lost both parents.

Another large contingent of Lehigh students are International... and while our big draw is Asia, we also have a large number of Middle Eastern students. They were afraid to leave their rooms, afraid of how people would react... they were just as innocent as the rest of us, but no one was thinking clearly at that point.

As days went by you found that life continued, and that you just had to go on doing your thing, because the world does not stop turning for grief. Eventually the dynamic of school life returned to a semi-normal state. But for many students, many people across the country, their lives were forever altered. About a week later, George had to face one of the hardest realities of his life: James Andrew Gadiel was one of the thousands of people killed on 9/11, not making it out of the towers.

So, I wanted to write this post... while now we have new victims to think about (those homeless and abandoned by Katrina, those lost in Iraq, etc), the 9/11 victims are not forgotten 4 years later. They will not be forgotten 20 years later.



We will always remember. I hope you will take a moment for that today.
It's so easy to forget how fragile life is, and how it can end at the blink of an eye... but those with people killed on 9/11 will never forget that lesson. And neither will I.


Donations may be sent to the Megan and Nicole Foster Educational Fund, P.O. Box 181, Martinsville, NJ 08836.

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful Tribute, I posted a tribute as well.

    I found you through mainline mom, great to find another local blogger.

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  2. Noel was an incredible individual who inspired me in my professional life. I as many truly miss him.

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  3. I knew Noel from when he lived in the Bethlehem area. He always was there to help anyone. He is truely missed by all.

    Dean

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  4. Thank you for the beautiful tribute, for Noel is my father, I am his beautiful yougest daughter of 13, Nicole. Everyone is pretty well though he is in out prayers and thoughts always.

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