Houston father reflects on loss of daughter 20 years after 9/11 tragedy

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- We mark a solemn anniversary this year, 20 years since the 9/11 tragedy that changed life forever.

The awful terrorist attacks took the lives of thousands of Americans, and forever disrupted our sense of security in our homeland.

But one Houston father who lost his daughter that day, woke up on September 12 with a new mission to honor her life and legacy.

Larry Catuzzi told ABC13 anchor Gina Gaston his daughter, Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, was the family's maverick. He said, "She did everything. I mean, skydiving, scuba diving, there wasn't a thing that Lauren wouldn't take on."

Lauren, who graduated from Stratford High School and went on to play golf at the University of Texas, was pregnant when she died aboard United Flight 93. She was trying to get home to California after attending her grandmother's New Jersey funeral.

She called her husband and family from the skies above Western Pennsylvania in the moments before the plane went down.

Catuzzi tells us, "She was calm. She was very, very reflective of what she knew. She told Jack she loved him. She left a message for us as well, that she loved us."

Catuzzi still thinks about Lauren every day. He also thinks about the bravery all of those aboard showed in choosing to take the plane down, so it couldn't be flown into a building.

"I can't imagine my being, or anybody being in that situation, and acting as they did," Catuzzi said.

The Catuzzi family has dedicated themselves to honoring Lauren's life by supporting birthing centers in Houston, Dallas and New Jersey where her family resides. They also built parks in those cities, as well as San Rafael, California where she last lived.

Catuzzi hopes Americans never forget this chapter of history, and he hopes Houstonians take some time in Lauren's Garden in downtown Houston to reflect.

"I would ask others to go down and visit Lauren's Garden, sit in the park and, get a calming, which I do quite a bit and find very helpful," Catuzzi said.
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