A Remebrance of 9/11/01: Michele Reed

Like many of you with WordPress hosted blogs, I stumbled upon the blog Project 2996 this morning. I had been battling with a way to honor this date, not sure how I could do it in a way that I felt would focus on the people and not on me. So I went to the list of people without tributes and sat. How could I possibly pick just one name out of all of these? Should I just pick a number? No, I hit CTRL F and typed in my name, the way that I spell it, with just one ‘L’. I started clicking through the results, wondering how I would narrow down further when I came across Michele Reed, 26.

Something about her stuck out to me, so I started my research.

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She graduated from Norwich High School in 1993 and her classmates talk about her adventures. She was a free-spirited loving person with a smile that everyone who writes on her memorial wall at legacy.com remembers to this day. From reading all of the pages of tributes to her on that site I learned that her birthday was July 9th and her favorite flower was the tulip. Numerous people mention her Geo Tracker, with Grateful dead decals. Including, a man she shared her morning commute with:

September 11, 2006

Michele,

You don’t know me, but I’m the guy who stood about 3 feet from you every morning at the North Branch train station. We never met except to exchange the daily 1/2 nod and smile. My heart sank the night after 9/11 when I saw your car (the Geo Tracker with the Grateful Dead style decals) still in the lot with the note on it from your family. It was still there that Sunday when we placed flowers on the windshield. And then, perhaps saddest of all, it just disappeared one day.

Anyway, 5 years down the road I have to admit that every once in a while as the gate comes down when the 7:10 train approaches I remember you standing there. How things changed in a few short hours…how you and so many others were lost so quickly.

I pray that you are at peace and I promise to pay my respects the next time the gate comes down for the 7:10.

(BTW, you’d be pleased to know that they finally built a platform…now we don’t have to wait in the middle of the road)

Joe Bongiorno,

Branchburg, New Jersey

 

She worked for AON on the 100th floor of the South Tower, and one co-worker talks about remember the smell of apple cider that she would cook at her desk in a small crock-pot. Michele Reed’s idea of a good time was getting muddy in her ATV. On weekends, Michele and her twin sister, Jennifer, would escape the city for their family’s dairy farm in Plymouth, N.Y. Her aunt talks about a boyfriend who had started coming with her. From the legacy site I learned his name is Robert:

September 11, 2009

Hi hun im sorry it took me eight years to write something about you, but the pain is still as it was the first day. I still wake up every day and think about you and when i close my eyes at night. I miss you so very much and often wonder what it would have been like to have married you because you were such an awesome women. The time we spent together can never be replaced and was the best times of my life. I LOVE YOU AND ALWAYS WILL. YOU WERE MY SOUL MATE.

Love
ROBERT XOXOXOXOXO

Robert Grohe,

Stockton

According to one friend, there have been many tributes to her in the form of scholarships at Norwich High School and Cazenovia College. Also, tributes in the park in Norwich and a wing at the yet-to-be built community building in Ringoes will bear her name. Those that remember her and speak of her, paint a picture of a friendly, warm woman who I would have loved to have been friends with. She sounds sincere and open like she never met a stranger in her life. Always willing to bring someone along for her next adventure.

September 09, 2005

Michele-
I remember your smile, it was warming.
I remember your laugh, it was contagious.
I remember your kindness, it was sincere.
I remember your sense of humor, it was refreshing.
I remember so much. So many of us do.
And we will not forget you.
No matter what time in our lives you touched, we will always carry you in our hearts, forward.

david whittaker,

Vermont

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26 thoughts on “A Remebrance of 9/11/01: Michele Reed

  1. I got chills reading her boyfriend’s letter.
    This is a way different tribute than what we’re accustomed to seeing for 9/11. Every person who died that day was connected to all kinds of people who are still alive.
    #commenthour

    1. By the time I had gone through all the pages of letters written to her tears were streaming down my face. It made it so much more real to read their words instead of just her name, age, company she worked for etc. My heart ached after writing this, but I think it was a good reminder.

      1. Robert Grohe

        Hi My Name is Robert I was engaged to Michele It is so great to see you keeping her memory alive (aka the boyfriend) 13 years later I still have the same feeling love her till we meet again

    1. Yes, I plan to go back next year and see if there are any more without a tribute. I really hope not. Althougth, it really doesn’t have to be 9/11 to write the post, that is just what I chose. It takes a lot out of you though, more than I thought that it would. I felt emotionally wrung out for a couple days thinking about someone that I didn’t even know but somehow felt close to at the same time. A very weird feeling.

  2. bits of glitter

    I knew Michele……your tribute was only the tip of the iceberg…. Please know she was everything wonderful and more. Thank you for thinking of her

  3. I didn’t know Michele personally, but I know her father & used to work with a woman who used to be married to her dad. This is a wonderful tribute to Michele…such a surprise when first getting online this morning & reading this. Thank you so much for doing this & I’m sure her family would love to see this. I’ve gotten to know Michele a little more now thanks to you.

  4. I went to school with Michelle and we both attended College at Cazenovia for a bit. We weren’t close friends, but we ran in similar circles. We were both in a wedding together for a mutual friend and she was the most caring, warm person who was invested in other people, more than herself. The day of that wedding I’ll never forget how she wanted ALL of us to be happy and especially the bride. She was the first down the aisle, and as each of us got to her she made eye contact and gave us one of her genuine, warm smiles. She was beautiful and thank you for writing about her. Nothing happens by accident, and there is a reason you found her site. So many of us still miss her, love her and feel her near. She is at the top of our minds every day, and on this day especially. Your chance finding proves her spirit transcends the virtual world and is still making connections here on earth- nothing short of a miracle.

  5. Joe Bongiorno~ The tracker is still here in NY at the family farm with all the stickers! It’s something that will be here for a very long time. There is also a memorial in Utica NY where here name is honored for she once lived there as well. The flowers where always thought of as from someone else it’s nice to know she touched so many souls.

    1. JB

      Ms. Jones. I will make sure there are flowers at the train station on Sunday. I can also assure you that as long as I draw a breath, whenever I pass by an empty North Branch Station parking lot late at night I will nod in rememberence that lone car, that heartbreaking letter I read on the windshield and the pain her loved ones must still feel.

        1. JB

          I took my two children, the oldest of which was in the womb 15 years ago on 9/11, and had them read this blog entry aloud as we stood next to where the gate would come down and we commuters assembled. We placed a dozen yellow roses on the barrier. Sadly, when I drove by just 4 hours later someone had actually taken them. People … what can you do?

  6. Andie

    Tears for her and for all those that we lost on that horrible day. Thank you for reminding me to keep it “personal” because as the time passes, I let pieces of those minutes, those days and those weeks go….. as most do. I am from her town, but did not know her; I wish I had.

  7. Martha

    I did not know Michele personally, we moved to Norwich in 1995, but I do know others in her family. Her Aunt Sue is a good friend of mine. I have two daughters, and I could only imagine the pain her Mom feels. I remember whenever I saw her she wore a pin with a picture of Michele in it. This was a beautiful tribute, and it gave me chills as I read it……

  8. Mary Branham

    Dear Michele, I think of you often. I still remember when you were working in Norwich. I remember that day thinking that I wouldn’t know anyone that was in the towers. I had know idea that you had moved to the city. My heart broke when I found out you were there. You
    are missed and loved very much!

  9. Tony

    Michele new my daughter via a mutual friend. One day when my dauhterer was in high school, I came home to find Michele standing in the doorway to my daughter’s room. She was so pretty with her 1980’s “Big Hair”. She smiled and we said hello. It was the first and last time I remember seeing her. Often I pass the memorial in the Library park here in Norwich and I am remnded of what a small world it is and how cruel and fragile life is sometimes.

  10. Terri Dawn Adams-Schneider

    I babysat Michelle,her identical twin sister, Jennifer and their baby brother,Steven when they were about five years old. I had that privilege for several years on the weekends and when their parents went out. At that time, Michelle was the quiet one, a bit reserved and mature for her age but fun loving with a bright smile and a positive outlook on life, even then. As the years flew by and we all grew up, we lost contact yet our parents remained friends. When I heard the news that Michelle had perished on 911 I was devastated. My parents were able to attend the services that were held but I was too far away at that time. I keep a photo from Christmas 1978 of Michelle, Jennifer, my sister,Shannon, and myself on my desk at school to remember the good carefree days before 911. To remember how much was truly lost that day and to share with my students who weren’t born yet, so that they understand. It isn’t about the day but about the people who were lost . Lives cut short and dreams destroyed. Americans came together that day and for many days after that. Yet we won’t soon forget those who died that day. Michelle, thanks for the memories I have of you giggling and laughing as a child. Playing games together, taking walks and swinging on the swing set, just to name a few. You were one of a kind even though you were an identical twin. Love, Terri

  11. Stacey

    Michele was one of the most kindest people you could ever meet and once you knew her and became her friend she would always be there for you. I was fortunate to be one of those friends and that friendship and those memories are something I will always cherish. Michele was the kind of person you would meet once, see her smile and you would never forget her. I hope by this and all of the other memorials people remember NOT to forget. I know I will never ever forget what I was doing that day or where I was and I will never forget when I received the horrible news about Michele. I refused to believe it at first, actually until her family held the memorial for her and even then I just did not want to believe it. Its just hard to make sense of it sometimes I guess. Wherever you are Michele I know you are in a better place and you are at peace and we will some day see you again.

  12. Tina

    Michele Reed was my soul sister. We met at college orientation, We were roomates because we both had the same last name. It took all of 5 minutes for me to decide that this was gonna be my new best friend. Her smile could light up the whole campus. She was the most beautiful person inside and out. All my best college memories involve her. After college I moved to NC and we became great pen pals. I got to visit her in NYC and she took me on a tour of tower where she worked. She came to visit me in NC and she wanted to get her first tattoo. She said she would buy if I got one with her, so I did. She left this world way to soon. She left me with everlasting color and art on my skin and a giant imprint on my heart. She was one of those one in a million kind of people and she is missed.

  13. Trish

    Dear Michelle I carry your voice and that last conversation “maybe is a sign, maybe God doesn’t want you here” and all I ever wanted was to work there @ AON,so for me you will always live as my guardian Angel!

  14. Sue Buckley

    Michele, it has taken me fifteen years to write this. Not a day goes by I don’t think of you. You were such a ray of sunshine. You always saw the bright side of life, no matter what. You touched so many lives. I love you and miss you! Until we meet again on the flip side, I will always hold you in my heart. Love Aunt Sue

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