As part of the 2996 project, I have the priviledge and honor to write about and pay tribute to Thomas G. Crotty.
To be quite honest, I wasn’t sure just what to write. There have been several memorials not only to Thomas, but to all of the 2996 that died that day. The more I read, the more I realized that even though this was a shock to the nation, I want to emphasize that Thomas is more than a statistic, more than just one of the number of people who died that day.
Thomas was a husband to Joanne and a father to his two little girls Catherine and Caroline. He was a family man who loved to be with his family. He was an athletic man who was to compete in a marathon with his brother a week after 9/11. He was a caring man towards all of his family as his brother James told Newsday reporter Lawrence Striegel how he was living in Michigan in 1996 when his wife, Fran, became very ill. Tom helped get Fran admitted to a special private room at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan during six months of treatment for Wegener’s granulomatosis, an autoimmune disease, and then visited her often while James was back in the Midwest. “He said, ‘Put her in there and we’ll worry about the money later,”‘ James said.
Thomas started off his business career at Merrill Lynch as a trainee. He had spent his last seven years at Sandler O’Neill Partners, where he was a managing director for equities. His work ethic was reflected in a comment that one of Thomas’ clients mad to Thomas’ mother “Even though I wasn’t a large investor, he always made me feel so important. … He never brushed me off.” He was at work on the 104th floor of 2 World Trade Center during the Sept. 11 attacks.
To Joanne, Catherine and Caroline, please know that the man to whom you gave all your love to as wife and daughters didn’t die in vain. He is NOT some statistic that will be placed in some history book. He is a man who loved life and the three of you and is an inspiration to all of us. You see, I have two daughters as well; my oldest is seven and my youngest turns 4 in two weeks. And after reading about this wonderful man I want to make sure that I show as much love to my family as he did to you for life is very precious and too short.
My heart goes out to the three of you this day, to all of Thomas’ family, and to all of the family of the remaining 2995 persons who perished this day. May we all NEVER FORGET!