SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Among the heroes of the tragic September, 11, 2001 terrorist attacks was the Bay Area’s own Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas – a hero aboard Flight 93.
Her widower, Jack, tells the story of her life and legacy 20 years after he lost her.
“I felt that she was at peace with whatever happened. Although it was, I can only imagine, the most horrifying perilous situation anyone could be put into,” said Jack, who now lives in Monterey, California .
Grandcolas’ zest for life was evident for anyone who was fortunate enough to know her. Tragically, her life was cut short when she boarded the ill-fated Flight 93 on 9/11.
She was one of 40 people on the flight who plotted to retake the plane, battling the hijackers and eventually forcing the aircraft down in rural Pennsylvania.
It was the first victory in the war on terror.
Lauren was heading home to San Rafael from her grandmother’s funeral in New Jersey. She and Jack were expecting their first child.
He shared part of the message she left, calling from the plane:
“She said ‘I just love you more than anything, know that,’ so I wouldn’t be left with any haunting feelings,” said Jack. “Even in moments of her peril, she wanted to comfort me, leave me the message that I want you to go on if I don’t get through this, don’t let them get you too. And she said, ‘I just love you more than anything, know that. Please tell my family I love them too.'”
A native of Houston, the University of Texas graduate was a high-level marketing manager by trade and an aspiring author. EMT-trained and the daughter of a football coach, Lauren’s name lives on on the inspiring handbook for grown-up girls called ‘You Can Do It.’
Jack, who is remarried now but still healing, fondly recalls their many adventures, including skydiving and how she not only inspired him, but no doubt inspired her fellow heroes on Flight 93.