And yet here we are, thirteen years later, facing the same threat that destroyed so many lives on Spetember 11, 2001 and we face the same threat, perhaps even greater. It is a threat based entirely on blind hatred.
Can we ever possibly overcome that? Are we doomed to an ageless war that will eventually destroy us all?
September 11, 2001 was horrific. In a few short hours 2,996 were murdered by the same terror from Islamic Fundamentalists that threatens us today. We will make it through today? Last year the terrorists attacked Benghazi on the Anniversary of 9/11 just to commemorate the anniversary of the attack. Our Ambassador and three others were murdered.
Since 2006 I have maintained my own small commemoration of the tragedy that was 9/11 by repeating here in this blog the story of Sue Kim Hanson and her husband Peter and their beautiful daughter Christine who were killed in the holocaust of 9/11. I've placed a series of links at the bottom of this post to each of the preceding eight years of blog entries.
Last year I wrote that I hoped we might eventually learn to replace hate with love if we focus on the people, their lives, their loves, hopes, fears and dreams. With a heavy heart this morning I light again that small candle of hope. I believe understanding and love may somehow overcome hatred and evil. At least I pray so in the memory of Sue Kim, Peter and Christine.
Please join me in remembering Peter Hanson, the handsome, young software engineer, Sue Kim Hanson, his Korean-American bride, and their two their old daughter, Christine.
The Hanson's were killed when United Flight 175 was hijacked by the terrorists and purposely crashed into the World Trade Center.
Susan Kim Hanson was one of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack that took the lives of 2,996 souls in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the fields of Pennsylvania.
Sue, her husband Peter, and her two year old daughter Christine were on United Airlines Flight 175 that crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Her daughter Christine was the youngest victim of the September 11th attack.
Sue was a great scientist in the making. She was a doctoral candidate in micro-biology immunology at Boston University and working on her final thesis. Her work promised to reveal the workings of a chemical believed to regulate immune responses. She had isolated in lab mice a gene suspected of being involved in asthma sufferers and AIDS patients. Her work had the potential to help millions of people.
Susan Kim was one of those wonderful American success stories. A Korean-American, Sue had lived with her grandmother in Korea until she was 6. Her mother died when she was 15 and she was raised by her strict Korean father. Through hard work and discipline, sacrifice, dedication and sheer will power she neared the goal her mother and father and grandmother had hoped she would achieve, her doctorate degree.
Dr. Hardy Kornfeld, Hanson's thesis adviser, said "She was sort of fearless. Sue just took on tasks that were incredibly challenging, and more often than not she was able to make a go at them."
That she would be attracted to the wild and undisciplined Peter Hanson was a great surprise. Three years younger than Sue Kim, Peter gained his education by following The Grateful Dead. Peter believed that the group and its music would become classics, up there with Beethoven, Bach and company, and he tried to sway the opinion of anyone who would listen. Many of our listeners to Wizard Radio would certainly agree with Peter.
But even if Sue wasn't quite convinced about the Dead, she believed in Peter. And her faith was well placed. Peter was, by all accounts, a brilliant software engineer, a great salesman and a wonderful person.
He was passionate about Sue and Sue fell head over heals in love with Peter. She obviously had a great effect on him. Legacy.com has a reprint of a New York Times article about Sue that tells the story:
- "The relationship spurred Peter Hanson to clip his tangle of brownish-red dreadlocks, trade in tie-dyed T- shirts for suits, go to business school and become one of the best software salesmen his friends and family had ever met. He was vice president of marketing at TimeTrade in Waltham, Mass."
"Her bond with the Hansons was so strong that they accompanied her to California when she went to inform her father about her engagement. She worried that her father would protest because Peter Hanson was not Korean. But her family embraced the Hansons."
Taking a last break before finalizing her research and thesis, Sue, Peter and Christine were on their way to visit the Sue's father and grandmother in California, and take Christine to Disneyland, when they boarded United Airlines Flight 175. Peter was one of those who made a final cell phone call to his parents moments before the plane crashed into the south tower.
Sue's friend Mona Pengree writes, "Sue was awarded her PhD posthumously, as her professor finished her work on her behalf. This is a wonderful picture of her, and she shone every bit as brightly in person. Probably more. Her loss was a loss to all mankind."
Sue gave a great deal to Boston University and she gave a great deal to all of us. Her work in immunology inspired her fellow students, faculty and the University to continue her research and finish her thesis. They awarded her a doctorate degree. And they established the Sue Kim Hanson Lecture In Immunology, not just to honor her memory, but to give full credit to her work and the inspiration, the strength and the courage Sue provides to us all.
Michelle Malkin wrote this in her syndincated column:
"Eight children were murdered on hijacked airliners that crashed on Sept. 11. Christine Hanson, 3, was on United Airlines Flight 175 with her parents. She was on her first trip to Disneyland. Christine was brown-eyed and rosy-cheeked and button-nosed. At family meals, she made everyone stand and hold hands while singing the theme song from Barney. During Christine's funeral, mourners re-enacted the scene, singing:
"I love you, you love me . . ." "
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Back in 2006, the 2,996 Project asked bloggers to prepare tributes to all who died in the tragic events of September 11th. Many of those blog entries remain on line and many will be reprinted today. Each year since the project began I have repeated my effort to honor Sue Kim, Peter and Christine. You can read each of my essays following the links below:
September 11, 2006 - Susan Kim Hanson
September 11, 2007 - Remembering Sue Kim Hanson
September 11, 2008 - Remembering Sue Kim Hanson
September 11, 2009 - Remembering the Reality: 9-11-2001: Sue Kim Hanson
September 11, 2010 - Reflections on the Life of Sue Kim Hanson
September 11, 2011 - Tears in Tragedy - Remembering Sue Kim Hanson
September 11, 2012 - Honoring the Memory of Peter, Sue and Christine Hanson
September 11, 2013 - The Tragedy of War, The Victims of Hate - Remembering Peter, Sue Kim and Christine Hanson
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