I don’t really do much for 9/11 anymore. I use to attend the local memorial service but after awhile, it became too much. But the one thing I’ll always try and remember to do is share this post. I’ve moved blogs a few times since the first time I wrote this. I actually panicked this year because I forgot to bring the post to this blog. Good thing the WayBack Machine exists and I was able to find an older copy.
A few years ago I was able to visit the 9/11 Museum while in NYC. It was tough. It was emotional. But I made sure to stop and listen to John’s sister talk about her brother. I found myself crying for a man I never knew, but had this weird connection with, all because I signed up to help remember those that were lost that day. If you find yourself in New York, you can see John’s name on the memorial at the South Pool, Section S-39.
A few months ago I signed up for the 2,996 Project. I had no idea who I would be assigned to. I didn’t lose anyone during 9-11 so I didn’t have a certain person that I wanted to blog about. I was assigned John Patrick Hart who was in the World Trade Center, Tower 2, 90th floor on that September day five years ago. I’m going to do my best to write about the man who was lost, and not the event that took his life.
After reading some information on Mr. Hart, it sounds like he was a one of a kind guy. He met his wife of 10 years when she was a flight attendant. She would always be showing off pictures of her two children on an airport shuttle. John would then make it a point to always take the shuttle she was on. After five trips he finally asked her out but there was a catch. He explained that she would have to bring her children. They went out for pizza and had fun bowling.
He was a dad would lend a helping hand at his children’s t-ball games. His sister, Jeanine, said that John was the type of dad that whenever he walked into a room, all the kids would just run to him. He would arrange his work schedule around his kids activities. He made sure his family always came first. He knew how important family was since he came from a large family of 5 siblings and had 4 children himself.
John was a typical guy in some aspects though. He was a huge “Cheese Head” who was a lifetime Green Bay Packers fan. During opening season of deer hunting in Wisconsin, you’d find him out there on his annual hunting trip. When in front of the TV, it would always be sports or shows about wars.
He was in New York City that day 5 years ago to teach a management class. The class was on the 90th floor of the World Trade Center’s south tower. After the plane slammed into the building he had enough time to call his wife at home to let her know he was OK. They think John had enough time to escape the Tower but his wife Laurie said that John felt that it was his responsibility to let those who were arriving for class know they didn’t have to stay.
In my eyes this man was a hero. He helped Laurie after her 1st marriage fell apart and adopted her two children. Not many men would step up to the plate like that. Not many men would ask that the children come along on the 1st date. This dad could have been any of our fathers and he reminds me of mine in a way. A father who always made sure he had time for his kids but did whatever he had to in order to make sure they had what they needed.
I don’t know if any of his friends or family are reading this but if you are, I want to let you know that even though I don’t know you or him, I could tell he was special just by reading the various articles I found. I’m sorry that you lost such an important part of your lives but I know that his spirit lives on inside you.
On this 9-11 I’ll be attending a local memorial service, I’ll be lighting my candle in honor of Mr. John Patrick Hart.
You can find the new list and website here.