Editor's Note: These stories first appeared in The Eagle-Tribune on Sept. 13-14, 2001.
Executive comes home with only clothes on her back
Barbara E. Stoebel, a vice president for Revlon, is coming to home to Methuen with only the clothes on her back.
At least temporarily without a home, Stoebel is traveling today by Amtrak to see her mother Helen and sister Beverly.
Her home in Battery Park in New York is covered with debris from the World Trade Center, which stood just 300 yards away, virtually her back yard.
"I want to see my mother and sister," said Stoebel, 43. "I need to hug my mother and have her wait on me hand and foot."
As for her sister, who lives in Andover, Stoebel said she wants Beverly Stoebel to take her shopping until she can't bear it anymore.
Beverly Stoebel plans to invite the entire family after her older sister arrives home. "They need to see her," she said. "I almost lost my sister yesterday."
That fateful Tuesday, Stoebel was in an American Airlines plane at LaGuardia International Airport, intending to fly to Chicago on a business trip.
But instead her plane sat on the runway and from her window she saw flames engulf the top halves of the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
Stoebel spent the next 36 hours as a wanderer without a home. She walked beside thousands of people leaving LaGuardia. She spent the afternoon at a colleague's home, slept at friends' apartments in midtown Manhattan, and then tried yesterday morning to get as close as she could to her Battery Park home, where she had left her dog Beau.
Stoebel never made it. Debris from the two towers has been pushed up against her 36-story building, making it impossible for her to enter. "I saw the devastation firsthand. I saw a carcass of the south World Trade building," Stoebel said during a telephone interview yesterday.
Soot was everywhere, empty baby strollers stood side by side, and brief cases had been left behind. Countless police, firefighters, doctors and nurses worked in the area. She was surprised she said, because, "It was so quiet."
Luckily, Stoebel had learned very early that morning that her dog walker was able to retrieve Beau and eight other dogs, and took them in a tug boat across the Hudson River to New Jersey. They will be retrieved soon.
Barbara Stoebel was raised in Methuen, graduated from Tenney Memorial High School, and had been working for a cosmetic company in the area when she earned a promotion eight years ago that took her to The Big Apple.
"She had always wanted to live in New York," her sister said.
And despite this recent attacks, Barbara Stoebel wants to return to the city soon. "I love New York City. I so love this city. This is the most fantastic place in the world. It's magical here."
"Through this entire experience, I have never been afraid," she said. "If I am afraid, I'll never be able to function as a normal human being again. I will not allow anybody to dictate to me what I should do."
— Lisa Chow
Nurse rushed to N.Y. to help
Seeing an American jetliner crash into the World Trade Center "really hit home" for Jennifer L. Raineri, a Sandown, N.H. resident and Parkland Medical Center nurse. Her boyfriend is a pilot for American Airlines who flies out of Logan regularly.
So on Tuesday night, Raineri, a 30-year-old mother of two, and another Parkland nurse, Lori Silva, hopped into a car and drove to downtown Manhattan to offer their help.
Raineri and Silva spent yesterday treating exhausted and dehydrated firefighters and police who were pulling bodies out of the rubble.
Rescuers suffered eye irritations as they scoured through the disintegrated remains of the towers. "There's dust and paper everywhere down there," Raineri said.
Raineri, who had never been to Manhattan, said the real-life scene of the tragedy was "very overwhelming — it was complete devastation."
But the resilience and unity of the toiling rescuers gave her a strong sense of pride. "Firefighters and police are giving 110 percent. Some have been working for 24 hours, and they're not going to stop until someone tells them to."
"There was a real feeling of brotherhood down there, as if no one was a stranger — a strong sense of American pride," she said.
She recalled the vivid scene of demolition crews banging away at the remains of a building, firefighters emerging from the mountain of rubble with dust blanketing their faces in white, and above it all, from the 15th floor of an adjacent building, someone was hanging a large American flag.
Raineri returned to Sandown late last night to care for her children but she said Silva, a Londonderry resident, could not be torn away.
"She has no ride home, no plans, but she couldn't leave," Raineri said.
Raineri has worked at Parkland in Derry, N.H., for five years and her father and mother, Richard and Addie Kania, are Haverhill residents.
— Shawn Boburg
Support from across the sea
Lawrence resident Les Bernal is known as the chief of staff for state Sen. Susan C. Tucker, D-Andover, and as a Lawrence Planning Board member. But he also has traveled to Romania over the years as part of a group that teaches Romanians about Democracy and how to achieve it in their country.
Yesterday, obviously touched by what he heard about the terrorist attacks on America, one of Bernal's former students e-mailed him a heart-felt letter expressing his condolences.
"I join my words to those expressed to you by millions," wrote Emil Musat of Calarasi, Romania. "I support America. Romania supports America, the whole world supports America. ... No matter how many buildings will fall, America remains the symbol of freedom, democracy and dignity. Us the Romanians, and Romania, need this symbol. You have taught us democracy; for 50 years, you have kept the flame of freedom and dignity burning in our souls."
— Nancy C. Rodriguez
Before her very eyes
Mary S. Lyman was driving on Route 395 from Virginia to Washington, D.C., drawing close to the Pentagon, when she noticed a plane shooting through the air nearby, approaching the earth at a very steep angle.
"It looked too close and too low. It was coming in very fast. I could hear the engines," said the Andover native, who now works in D.C. at a public policy consulting firm and lives in Alexandria, Va.
"It looked like it was going to fly right into the ground," she said. "The plane disappeared and then there was a big pile of smoke that came up. I started hearing emergency sirens and then I just knew that was it."
Lyman had heard about the attacks on New York's World Trade Center earlier that morning, and left her home with a miniature television so she could listen and watch the unbelievable events unravel. She almost immediately made the connection.
"Traffic stopped dead at that point. We kind of moved to the side so that emergency vehicles could go through. People started getting out of their cars," said Lyman, who graduated from Andover High School and still owns her family's home on Chandler Road in Andover.
"We just stayed there watching the smoke billowing up. It was pretty scary. ... My heart was pounding."
Police instructed everyone to get back into their cars. They turned around and drove back south on a northbound lane. She arrived home safely, but was shaken.
"I keep thinking of the passengers in the plane," she said. "It has been haunting me all day — the last moments of those passengers. I can't think of a worse way to die."
All yesterday afternoon, Lyman heard planes overhead — all military ones — but the possibility of yet another attack crept into her thoughts. "We just had no idea how many planes might be up there waiting to come in," she said.
— Lisa Chow
No school connection with terrorist
News reports that relatives of Osama bin Laden — the Saudi militant considered by the U.S. as the prime suspect in Tuesday's attacks — have lived in Massachusetts over the years came as a shock to some yesterday. The news also sparked a rumor among students and others that bin Laden's nephew or daughter attends Brooks School in North Andover.
A Brooks official quickly squelched the rumor.
There is no bin Laden enrolled at the school, said Sondra Longo, the school's communications director. And while a bin Laden is listed as a 1998 alumni, the student did not spell his name the same way as Osama bin Laden does, she said.
"We have no confirmation at all that it is any relation," Longo said.
— Nancy C. Rodriguez
Boys show patriotism
Fourteen-year-old Joe Rozmus and 15-year-old Josh Kraunelius, both of Methuen sat at home feeling upset after terrorists attacked the country this week, wondering: What can we do?
The boys, who are not old enough to donate blood, decided to show their patriotism at The Loop last night by parading up and down the shopping mall's sidewalk waving 3-foot long flags. At The Loop they were joined by friends Steve Uliano, 16, Daniel White, 15, and Steve's 15-year-old brother Silvio, all of Methuen.
"We got beeps and people saying 'America Rules' — real good energy coming from everybody," said Joe.
He was in World Trade Center
Haverhill native Michael Farmer, member of the Farmer funeral family, was at work at Kemper Insurance on the 36th floor of the World Trade Center when the first terrorist plane hit Tuesday morning.
When he saw the debris falling, he quickly left the building and was eventually able to get a train out of the city to his home in Pennsylvania.
Farmer waited in a long line at a pay phone to call his father Louis, asking him to call his wife so he wouldn't tie up the phone for others waiting.
He got out fast
An Andover man who heard the massive explosion of the first plane hitting the tower as he took a shower in his nearby Spring Street apartment made his way out of the city by walking over the 59th Street Bridge.
Paul P. Lisiak, 27, formerly of 5 Haskell Road, called his parents on his cell phone while in a cab heading uptown after he witnessed the second plane crash into the second tower.
Lisiak worked in the Financial Center building attached to the main towers, but had a meeting uptown Tuesday and was not in the building when the attacks happened.
Lisiak and his girlfriend walked over the bridge and were picked up by family members who drove them to South Hampton, where they are resting.
Salvation Army troup headed to NY
HAVERHILL — The local branch of the Salvation Army is seeking bulk donations of water, new jeans, underwear and socks in all sizes to send with its new disaster trailer to New York rescue workers.
The trailer will serve as a relief station for the rescue teams who have been working nonstop in the rubble of the fallen World Trade Center amid smoke and cement dust. The workers need to change clothes several times a day, said Maj. Robert T. Klenk, a 15-year veteran of the Salvation Army.
Klenk said the effort is being coordinated with the Boston office and he is waiting for instructions when to send the trailer out.
"I'm on a team planned to go to New York to relieve these people," Klenk said. "It's all 'fly by night,' " right now."
Klenk said the trailer was donated to the Salvation Army after a recent carnival. He said it is equipped with water, coffee pots, and a microwave oven and has been used by local fire and police departments at disaster sites.
A generator for the trailer was recently donated by the Haverhill Cooperative Bank in cooperation with the Kiwanis Club.
Klenk said the trailer is being dedicated to deceased Haverhill firefighter Dave Moughan on Sept. 22.
"Even if the trailer is not here, what better way to dedicate it than to put it to use to help other firefighters," he said.
Donations should be dropped off at the Salvation Army headquarters on Main Street, Klenk said. He said people can also send checks to the Salvation Army Disaster Fund.
'I wish I was there so I could help'
Bruce School students in Lawrence have collected a third of a large water jug of pennies and written cards of condolences for victims and families affected by the attacks.
One card read: "I'm sorry about what happened. I wish I was there so I could help."
Another student wrote: "Hi, you probably don't know me, but I know what happened to you, and I am very sorry for that. I hope no one was badly injured in your family. I just wonder how you feel. If it was my family I'd feel sad."
Fifth-grade teacher Arlene B. Pecevich said teachers organized efforts to reach out to victims so that students would have a way to help.
"They have a lot of concerns," Pecevich said. "They're worried about their safety and the safety of their parents. They're just sick over what's happening to the families across the country."
In Haverhill, a group of 7- and 8-year old girls have created a poster and cards with hand-written words of comfort and prayers for the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attack.
"Instead of doing arts and crafts, the girls decided to do cards for the victims," said Megan B. Shea, director of Girls, Inc., 7 William St., an after-school program for girls ages 6 to 12.
Shea said she hopes to be able to send the poster and cards to New York with the Salvation Army.
"It gives little kids a chance to do something except to watch and fret," Shea said. "This gives them something positive and proactive."
Bringing back a terrible past
HAVERHILL — They lived through the Great Depression, the bombing of Pearl Harbor and a presidential assassination — but never thought they would see such a major attack on their country.
Then this week's terrorist attacks unfolded before their eyes.
Elderly residents of Penacook Place nursing home asked to "do something," said Patricia J. Horgan, director of community relations for the home.
Horgan organized a prayer service at the Water Street nursing home Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.
Residents said it helped them deal with fears for their loved ones and unhappy memories of the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor.
About 30 residents listened to The Rev. W. David Thomas, executive director of Bethany Homes and pastor of First Congregational Church in Kingston, N.H., read psalms and other Bible selections which offered peace, hope and comfort in these troubled times.
Ruth A. Daneau, 89, sat among the group.
"I feel so bad for these people," she said of the victims and their families. "I know just how they feel."
Daneau said she was living in Amesbury with her 11-year-old child when Pearl Harbor was bombed in a surprise attack by the Japanese in 1941. The attack thrust the United States into World War II.
She said her two nephews and a brother-in-law died in that war.
Daneau said she is still in shock and feels numb about the recent attack, but does not fear for herself. She said she is concerned for her four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren who live and work in the Merrimack Valley.
"I'm afraid it will be worse before it gets better," she said softly.
World War II veteran Joseph A. Bourgeois, 83, was a deep sea diver aboard the U.S.S. Brandt during World War II. His mission was to recover valuable equipment and documents from ships that sank.
Bourgeois said he has put most of the bad memories of the war behind him, but Tuesday's terrorist attack brought back some of those buried images.
"We've been there once before, " he said. "It didn't end up good and I don't think it will end good now."
Bourgeois said he fears the latest attack will lead to dozens of bombs being set off by destructive powers.
"I don't believe in retaliation because that means another war," he said. "It should be talked over to find where the fault lies, and punish them."
Proudly we hail
HAVERHILL — United States flags are being replaced at the memorial site of every city veteran killed since World War I.
The effort is being coordinated by Michael G. Ingham veteran services director, along with veterans Richard C. Scott, and Richard Rafferty.
The flags are a tribute to veterans and a symbol of support for a nation in crisis, said Ingham.
Ingham said the flags are routinely put up on Memorial Day but many of them needed to be replaced.
"Luckily, most of them are still there," he said of the 300 memorial plaques bearing the names of the veterans throughout the entire city.
"This is a perfect time," he said. "It speaks for itself — they (veterans) scarified for us in their time."
Ingham is a reserve officer in the air force and could be called to duty if war is declared.
Sign of the times
HAVERHILL — Pentucket Bank lined its front sidewalk on Merrimack Street with American flags as an sign of respect for victims and support for the United States, said President and Chief Executive Officer, Kendall C. Smith.
Smith said the flags had been stored away since July 4 but pulled them out after Tuesday's terrorist attacks. "It's the least we can do," said Smith.
Smith said he received positive reactions from people all day who called to thank him for the display.
He said he wished more people along the street would do the same.