News From Terre Haute, Indiana

9/11: 10th Anniversary Coverage

September 9, 2011

Ten years removed, 9/11 attack on NYC remains on minds of many (see VIDEO)

(Continued)

‘He’s not coming back’

Jerry Gogliormella trekked past that World Trade Center destruction daily after 9/11 on his way to work at the nearby World Financial Center. Those recovery crews found his younger brother’s remains six months later, in February 2002.

Michael Gogliormella, a 43-year-old from New Jersey was working as a computer analyst on the 103rd floor of the North Tower. He’d just landed the job in the corporate headquarters of Cantor Fitzgerald — a global financial services firm — three weeks earlier. Two months earlier, Michael and his wife had adopted a baby girl.

“He had left home [for work] that morning with a friend of his,” Jerry explained. “The friend stopped in Hoboken to pick up a newspaper. My brother kept going. And his friend made it home, and [Michael] never came back.”

The hijacker piloting Flight 11 drove the plane directly into the North Tower, hitting between the 93rd and 99th floors. No one trapped above the impact zone survived. Six-hundred and 53 Cantor Fitzgerald staff members died, nearly twice that of any other employer.

Jerry was working on the engineering staff at 2 World Financial Center, just blocks away. That 44-story building lost its southeast corner from damage caused by the thunderous collapses of the Twin Towers down the street and was ordered to be evacuated. Jerry and his engineering co-workers were the last ones out, walking into the opaque air, “that big mushroom cloud that you see on TV,” he recalled. “You couldn’t see anything.” But one thing soon became clear.

“In all honesty, the day it happened, I had a feeling my brother wasn’t coming back, because I called his house and nobody had heard from him,” he said. “And a day or two later, you just realize he’s not coming back anymore.”

On Sept. 13, Jerry returned to his job. “Working here kind of helped me, because you’re involved with it every day,” he said in a deep Jersey voice, sitting in the shade on the plaza outside his workplace. “So it kind of eases the pain a little bit.”

He still works at the World Financial Center, after 15 years. He still proudly wears a silver bracelet honoring his brother and, without hesitation, pulls it off to show a stranger its inscription: “IN LOVING MEMORY MICHAEL GOGLIORMELLA SEP 11TH, 2001 WTC.” And Jerry still remembers their last conversation, on the phone, a week before the attacks. “Just, ‘How you doin’? How you been?’ He had just adopted the baby girl, and we hadn’t had the chance to meet her yet,” Jerry said, glancing into the distance. “Probably the happiest time of his life.”

Mark Bennett can be reached at (812) 231-4377 or mark.bennett@tribstar.com.

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9/11: 10th Anniversary Coverage
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