Today marks the 14 year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks that took place in New York City, Washington, DC, and a field in Pennsylvania. As we pause to think about all who were lost, and reflect on what our country lost that day, it is hard not to think about everything that has changed. Life changed so significantly for individuals and families who lost loved one on 9/11. Their lives were forever changed on that September day. Although it felt as though time stood still in the days immediately following September 11, time continued to pass for everyone. Life continued for survivors and family members, but this meant the implementation of new routines, determining what the new “normal” would be for families missing moms or dads, processing grief, coping with the loss. The sadness and sense of monumental loss resulting from the 9/11 terrorist attacks stuck with many people, specifically families and friends who lost loved ones. Despite their sadness, the survivors and family members moved forward in life. As we remember those who perished 14 years ago, we also shine a light on those who survived. Those people who continued living despite suffering unfathomable loss. The following is a 9/11 love story.
Ben Salamone’s wife of 31 years, Majorie, was killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Following her loss, Ben felt lonely and empty. When he would come home from work each day, he would be bombarded with reminders of his wife’s absence. Like Ben, Donna Teepe lost her spouse on 9/11. She experienced the same sadness and loneliness that Ben was experiencing. Seeking comfort from other widows and widowers, the two joined a support group for individuals who had lost loved ones.
Over time, Ben and Donna got to know each other. They bonded over their losses, as well as their similar life experiences and shared interests. Ben and Donna began to spend more time together and less time alone. Although they were reluctant, they continued on with their relationship. On Christmas Eve 2006, Ben proposed to Donna.