2,996 Project: 9/11 Tribute to Thomas E. Hynes

In just two days, the fifth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks will be upon us. That day five years ago passed so quietly at rural Houghton that it was almost impossible to believe anything had happened. But, like everyone else in the nation and many around the world, we watched. We watched as the world we knew crumbled with the Twin Towers.

That tragic day wounded every one of us. Yet, the deepest scars are carried by those who lost loved ones as the Twin Towers collapsed and with those whose friends and family sacrificed themselves outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in the hope of saving others and with those whose husbands, wives, children, siblings and friends were killed as they went about their daily duties in the Pentagon.

Thomas E. Hynes went to work at the Vestek division of Thomson Financial that day, probably without the slightest inkling that anything out of the ordinary would happen. One can never be certain, but I'm willing to bet that Thomas didn't wake up knowing he was going to die, he wasn't traveling to work with the expectation that he would become a victim of men set on martyrdom or with the goal of becoming hero. Internet research reveals only a few tantalizing clues about this man I volunteered to memorialize.
  • Thomas was an account manager at Vestek, "an innovator in applying technology to help investment professionals make more informed decisions." I wonder: did he enjoy his job or was it a chore?
  • He left behind a wife and a baby daughter. I wonder: was his child born before or after 9/11? Did he ever get to see his little girl's smile?
  • Several commenters at September 11 Victims remembered his sunny disposition as a high school student. His picture above looks happy and friendly. I wonder: who was the last person to see that smile?
Who knows what Thomas may have been thinking, what he had on his to-do list, who he meant to call that day at work? He was from Norwalk, Connecticut, nearly 50 miles away from Manhattan. Did he drive or take the train? Did he listen to music during his commute? What was the last song Thomas ever heard? I can't answer any of these questions for you. There is probably no one who can. All we know is this:

2,996 people woke on the morning of September 11, 2001, and prepared for the day ahead. 2,996 people went to work or got on a plane. Among that number there was one named Thomas E. Hynes, 28, from Norwalk, CT. One day later, the world had changed and those 2,996 people, including Thomas, would never be heard from again. Perhaps the best way to honor the memory of these fallen Americans is to mourn our loss, honor their memory, and do our best to love those around us as if this day will be our last.

I would love to hear from any of Thomas' family members or friends who might be able to fill in some of these gaps... I invite you to make this post your own, to add to or correct anything I've written. And, as you mourn your husband/brother/father/son/friend know that my prayers are with you and that "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
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