Monday, September 11, 2006

Joseph Calandrillo

Joseph Calandrillo is someone I don’t know…but is someone that many people knew and loved. He was one of the almost 3,000 killed five years ago in the terrorist attacks. He was working in the North Tower when American 11 hit floors 94-98. The company he worked for had offices in both Towers…all who were in the North Tower were killed.

As I was researching who Joseph was it was evident that he enjoyed his job at Reinsurance Solutions International, part of a larger company called Marsh & McLennan, with 58,000 employees worldwide. One article I found said that his last employee review was found among all the debris that “flooded” the streets of lower Manhattan. It said in part: “ Its blank business language said little about his life but indicated he was good at his job. His goal was to become proficient at newly assigned accounts. His accomplishments included reconciliations on co-broker business gone direct. But there was also this: Perfect attendance. Joseph Calandrillo got to work on time.”

His wife had this to say after 9/11: “Everyone always said my husband and I had a marriage you didn't see," she said. "We were always laughing and having a good time. We were best buddies. Our marriage was our greatest success."

Mrs. Calandrillo characterized them as a "Green Acres" couple. She loved the city; he loved the country. They lived in Brooklyn for a while and then, five years ago, moved to Hawley, PA. "I had my turn, so it was his turn," Mrs. Calandrillo said. "And I grew to love the country."

For Joseph, it was love at first sight and while it took his wife a little longer…it appears they would have been together for many, many years to come if it had not been to 9/11.

I found memorial sites that were set up for people to leave messages for the loved ones of those killed in all four sites five years ago and over and over again what I read about Joseph was that he was a great guy. He loved his wife, loved his job and loved people. He was a good friend. Those are qualities that we all should strive for.

I wish I could have found more information. I looked and looked, but many of the tribute pages contained the same exact information. Joseph was a loving husband who was killed on 9/11 at the age of 49. There are details about his remains…but I won’t repeat them here.

His wife has that piece of paper that was found months after the attacks and has saved it along with items sent by people throughout the country. As the first anniversary approached, his ’91 Oldsmobile was in the driveway and his sneakers in the den. She is active part of getting the memorial built at Ground Zero.

It’s impossible to forget where we were when the planes hit. I had just moved to Indiana and drove my grandfather to the airport for his return flight to CA that morning. He made it to Chicago and then was getting ready to take off when the airports were shut down.

I can’t imagine what Joseph’s wife felt as she watched the Towers collapsing and knowing that her husband was there. She had a last meaningful kiss from her husband that day. Something I am sure replays in her mind from time to time. Something I am sure she grateful to have had as they parted ways that day five years ago.

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