Thursday, September 11, 2008

Irish Killed on September 11th

There were approximately 20 Irish people killed on this day seven years ago in the terrorist attacks of September 11th. The victims that most Irish people will remember is that of the truly amazing story of Ruth and Juliana McCourt (pictured). On that day Ruth McCourt 44, originally from Ballintemple, County Cork, living in the US since 1973, boarded Flight 175 from Boston to Los Angelas. In her arms was her four year old daughter Juliana. Flight 175 crashed into the south tower at 9:02 am. Juliana McCourt was the second youngest victim on September 11th.

The story takes an unbelievable twist with the news that Ruth's brother Ron Clifford was scheduled for a meeting that morning in the South tower at 9:am. He arrived in the lobby of the south tower at 8:45. About half a minute later he heard the almighty roar and explosion of flight 11 crashing into the North tower. He ran outside to the scene of devastation. He came to the assistance of a woman that had been horribly burned by falling jet fuel. He was still cradling this woman fifteen minutes later when he looked up to see the plane carrying his sister and his niece slam into the south tower. He barely escaped the falling debris. Later that evening he arrived at his home in New Jersey from a day that he probably thought could not possibly be more horrific only to find out that his sister and niece had been killed. Such a tragic collection of coincidences nobody could have imagined.

Other Irish killed that day include Sean Canavan, a 38-year-old carpenter from Co Tyrone. He was finishing off a job on the 94th floor of the south tower when the attack happened. Sean was a first cousin of two time all Ireland winning Tyrone football star Peter Canavan.

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