Fifteen years ago today, the Lubec couple were among the passengers on American Airlines Flight 11 when it was flown deliberately into the North Tower at the World Trade Center in New York City.
Robert, 85, was a Lubec native who served as a deacon at Lubec Congregational Christian Church. Jackie, 61, was the church clerk. They met and married late in life, and on that day were headed out to California to attend the wedding of one of Jackie’s sons.
I never knew of the Nortons until they were gone but, the Sunday after they died, I attended the Sunday service at their church to write about it for the Bangor Daily News.
I learned a little about who they were, from neighbors and friends and other parishioners at the church. I learned Robert had been an engineer and that Jackie had a green thumb, growing flowers and sweet peas at their home on Johnson Street. I learned that they left behind a six year-old golden retriever named Sam and that, weeks after the catastrophe, Jackie’s pocketbook and its contents were found amid the mountains of rubble at the former World Trade Center site.
I don’t know a lot about the Nortons, I admit, but I want to remember what I do know , the same way I make sure to remember Robert Jordan, a high school classmate of mine who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald at the top of the North Tower — the same building that Flight 11 was deliberately flown into.
There is a lot to remember on a day like today. I am lucky that none of my close friends or family were hurt in the terrorist attacks. For those of you who were close to people who were harmed or died on Sept. 11, 2001, I hope today also brings back good memories of the lives they lived.