Museum Interactive Captures Messages of Sympathy and Hope
Visitors to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum are encouraged to leave handwritten messages of remembrance, hope and love at the interactive registry known as the Signing Steel.
On the evening of Sept 10. 2001, Andrea Haberman considered giving up on her trip to New York. Her flight out of Chicago O’Hare International Airport had been canceled twice due to weather. She told herself if the third flight was canceled, she would abandon her plans and go in the morning.
It was her first trip to New York City, traveling to the World Trade Center for meetings at the New York office of Carr Futures, the brokerage firm where she worked. She told her father, Gordon Haberman, that she was nervous and didn’t particularly want to go. But it was only for a few days and as a woman known for her strong work ethic, it wasn’t in her nature to say no. The third flight departed as scheduled and she landed in New York that evening.
At just 25 years old, Andrea’s life was coming together quite nicely. Only a few years out of college, the small-town Wisconsin girl had a quickly advancing career. She had recently gotten engaged to her college sweetheart, Allen Kolodzik, and they had just moved into a new home they purchased on Chicago’s northwest side. She had spent the summer of 2001 planning their wedding.
On Sept. 11, Andrea started her day with a playful ritual she and her fiancé shared whenever they were apart: whoever called the other first thing in the morning won the competition. That day Andrea won. She took advantage of the time difference and was calling from a desk in the Carr Future offices high in the North Tower. She decided to get there early for her 9:00 a.m. meeting.
About 40 minutes after she hung up the phone with him, a hijacked commercial airliner crashed through the building a floor above her. Escape was not possible.
Months later, recovery workers discovered some of Andrea’s personal items in the debris pile at ground zero. Among them was the cell phone that she used to call her fiancé for that last time. This and some of her other belongings are now a part of the 9/11 Memorial Museum’s collection.
Today, a white rose placed on the 9/11 Memorial honors what would have been Andrea’s 41st birthday.
By Jenny Pachucki, 9/11 Memorial Content Strategist