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A mother to her son: How could I forget your curiosity and energy?
By Eunice Hanson, for The Associated Press
Nine years ago we were happily preparing for your wedding to Sue. Today, your Dad and I are discussing the one-year memorial observance of the deaths of you, Sue and little Christine Lee on Sept. 11.
You and 3,000 others were slaughtered, and now we have been asked to describe our feelings.
You and Sue and Christine are always in our thoughts and hearts ... we miss you so much.
Peter, I still feel the terrible pain that went through my whole being when Dad, holding the phone, heard your last words. As the plane banked and crashed into that tower and exploded in a burst of flame I screamed, for I knew that all the joys we had together, all the care and good times, all the dreams and hopes, were ended.
The thought of the three of you in each other's arms in that final moment will never leave me. They tell me that there could not have been any pain, but you knew what was happening. How could those murderers have looked at the innocent people on the plane, at little Christine, and so cruelly kill? How could their leaders, hidden and protected in a far-off land, laugh and joke about their lack of humanity?
I want them brought to justice, but my feelings are about you. How can I ever forget you? Why would I want to forget you? How could I forget your curiosity and energy? Or your teens, when you would quietly come into my bedroom and ask if I would talk with you? You would pour out your experiences of life, not looking for answers, only wanting to talk. And your dreadlocks which, after you met Sue, you cut off and brought home to me? The Grateful Dead, whose music you loved so much that you convinced your Dad and me to attend some concerts to share the experience.
You moved to Boston to attend university, embraced the city and then met Sue. I remember your calling me from Boston, asking me to help you pick out an engagement ring for her. I remember how you encouraged Sue to go for her Ph.D. in immunology. We loved her so much.
And Christine Lee was and is love personified. The world had no limits for her; she was truly her mom and dad's daughter. To this day, I still expect the phone to ring and hear her voice telling me about her day at school, always closing with, "I love you Namma."
Before that last trip, she told me she was going to California to see her great-grandmother and to see Mickey Mouse and Pluto. And then she said, "I want to go to your house, Namma," and I told her we would see her when she returned.
Peter, people have been kind. Our church and community in Easton; the people of Groton, Mass.; Boston University; the political community; firemen; police; people in the Army; the press; everyone has been so good. And you know, the memorial dedicated to you and Sue and Christine in Groton is so meaningful and the elegy written by Carl Schroeder, "Christine's Lullaby," is so beautiful.
I am sure that you were smiling when Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead called us and dedicated a concert of his new group to you. You all had so many friends, for you and Sue were good friends to so many. Your love was steadfast.
We still need your love and the happy memories of you and Sue and Christine. But oh, how I miss you.
Peter Hanson, his wife, Sue Jue Kim-Hanson, and their 2-year-old daughter, Christine, all of Groton, Mass., died on United Airlines Flight 175 when it crashed into the World Trade Center. Peter Hanson, 32, vice president for sales at TimeTrade, used his cell phone to call his parents moments before the plane hit the second tower. After her death, Sue Kim Hanson, 35, was awarded the post-doctoral degree in pathology and immunology she was working toward at Boston University; BU has established an annual lecture to be held on Sept. 11 in her honor. Peter's parents, Eunice and Lee Hanson, live in Easton, Conn. Here, Eunice Hanson shares some thoughts in the form of a letter to her son.