Family remembers daughter killed on 9/11

September 8, 2011 3:40:16 PM PDT
America is remembering tragedy as Sunday marks 10 years since 9-11. And this weekend, a Flight 93 national memorial will be dedicated in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

There were 40 passengers on that ill-fated flight. All of them considered are heroes, and one of them was from Houston.

The past decade, Larry and Barbara Catuzzi have been through a lot.

"The last 10 years seem like yesterday," Larry Catuzzi said.

On September 11, 2001 the Catuzzis were in New Jersey for a grandmother's funeral, including their 38-year-old daughter Lauren who was pregnant with her first child.

"She was very ambitious. She had a very charming personality," Larry Catuzzi said.

"She was really lots of fun and very, very active," Barbara Catuzzi said.

Lauren graduated from Stratford High School and the University of Texas before moving to California, where she worked as a marketing executive. On September 11, she boarded United Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco.

"We had two son-in-laws working on Wall Street at the time and all our concerns were, were they OK, and we never thought about Lauren," Larry Catuzzi said.

It was the very early morning hours in California. She called her husband and left two messages.

"She left a call that there were some problems on the flight and they were looking into it," Larry Catuzzi said.

She told him and her family how much she loved them before giving her phone to a young woman beside her.

"It hasn't come out too much that they voted on doing this, on taking the cart," Barbara Catuzzi said.

Lauren was one of 40 passengers who tried to take back control of the flight. They began by busting into the cockpit.

"Who knows what you would do in a situation like that, but hopefully we would respond like they did," Larry Catuzzi said.

No one knows exactly what happened next, but Flight 93 is the only hijacked plane on September 11th that didn't reach its target.

"When people talk about the 40 heroes, they truly were heroes; it was the only victory of that day," Larry Catuzzi said.

Lauren's family has created a foundation in her name. The Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas Foundation has given to the kind of people and organizations that meant so much to her -- lifting women and helping children get their start.

The foundation helped provide a nursing station near Texas Children's Hospital, and there are more plans for the foundation's involvement in the new pavilion for women scheduled to open next year. The Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas Foundation also given 38 scholarships to college students.


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