Remembering Huntington Alumni
Lost on 9/11
It's been 11 years since America lived through one of the most shocking days in its long history. The events of September 11, 2001 are seared into the country's collective memory for both the stunning loss of nearly 3,000 lives and for the bravery displayed by those responding to the terrorist attacks
No one who lived through the shocking events of 9/11 can ever forget the senseless destruction of life and property and the remarkable heroism and courage shown at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on United Airlines Flight 93, a hijacked plane that fell from the sky and crashed in an open field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The magnitude of death and devastation and the utter chaos created by the 19 terrorists that hijacked four airplanes that dark morning still leaves one speechless. Nearly 3,000 innocent Americans lost their lives that dark day in United States history. Many hearts were broken, never to be healed.
More than a decade later, the Huntington school community is still saddened by the loss of its six alumni who were killed at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan and with the death of former Huntington students who attended elementary school in the district before enrolling at other Long Island high schools to complete their scholastic education.
"Although it has been 11 years since the events of September 11, 2001, I am sure many adults recall them like they were yesterday," Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. "It is important for us to remember the brave and dedicated individuals who lost their lives on that tragic day and to help our students understand the sacrifice that these people made in support of fellow citizens and in support of their country. Today and always, the Huntington School District remembers."
Several district employees also lost loved ones that frightening September morning, including a husband, brother and the daughter of a retired teacher. Dozens of community residents were killed in the attacks, too. Many worked for financial service firms that had a large presence in WTC Towers I and II while others were members of New York City's uniformed services.
Among Huntington High School's lost alumni were Susan Clyne-Dietrich (1977), Dennis Edwards (1984), Michelle Titolo (1985), Michael Desmond McCarthy (1986), Judson Cavalier (1993) and Joe Anchundia (1993). The graduates left behind heartbroken families and friends who will never recover from their loss.
Ms. Clyne-Dietrich, a graduate of C.W. Post and Touro Law School never entered a courtroom because she fell in love with computers. She worked on the 96th floor of the Tower One as senior vice-president of Marsh & McLennan, the largest insurance company in the world. The Huntington grad oversaw global software design for the firm. A married mother of three, she lived in Lindenhurst.
Mr. Edwards, 35, was a partner with bond giant Cantor Fitzgerald, working at the top of the World Trade Center. He resided in Huntington after marrying his high school sweetheart, Patti, and was the father of a 2½ year old daughter. During the 1993 bombing of the WTC he carried a pregnant woman down 80 flights of stairs, saving her life.
Following graduation from Huntington High School, Ms. Titolo went on to earn a degree in finance from St. John's University and later obtained a MBA. She was working as an equity controller for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 101st floor of One World Trade Center when she was killed in the terrorist attack. The 34 year old and had just moved into a new home in Copiague.
Mr. McCarthy, who turned 33 years old on September 8, 2001, was an assistant vice-president at Carr Futures, specializing in the London Stock Exchange. On September 19-11, he worked the overnight shift, 2 a.m.-10 a.m., and was due to leave the World Trade Center shortly after the time the terrorists struck. The firm was located on the 92nd floor of Tower One, two floors below the impact zone of the plane. All 68 people on the floor, including Mr. McCarthy, survived the initial explosion, but a searing inferno that spread to the west side of the floor prevented anyone from escaping alive.
Following Mr. McCarthy's death, his family created a scholarship at Huntington High School, presenting several awards in his memory. He is buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery in Huntington.
Mr. Anchundia, a Longwood College alum and Mr. Cavalier, a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, worked at Sandler O'Neill & Partners near the furthest reaches of the WTC. The pair had been best friends since attending Flower Hill Elementary School together. They were both 26 years old and beginning the climb the corporate ladder with the investment banking firm. On September 11, the duo was once again together, working on the 104th floor of Tower Two when terrorists deliberately flew a plane into the building.
Over the years, Huntington School District schools have commemorated the events of 9/11 in their own special way, ranging from school-wide moments of silence, emotional poetry readings and tender written testimonials to group reflections, musical tributes and gatherings of students, faculty and staff.