On the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, La Jolla resident Mary Beth Adderley reflects on the personal horror she and her family endured that day and its lasting impact.
My beloved, gentle, generous, sensitive, brilliant and loving son, Terence Edward Adderley Jr., known as Ted, was 22 when he was killed.
He worked in the North Tower of the World Trade Center, on the 93rd floor, for Fred Alger Management, an investment firm. It was his first job after graduating from Vanderbilt University in May 2001; he started his job in July 2001. He enjoyed working for David Alger as a financial analyst in an area he studied at Vanderbilt. He was both excited and nervous about working for such a prestigious investment firm in New York.
I can’t imagine the terror that was felt when people on the upper floors of the World Trade Center saw the plane flying straight towards them, if they saw it. But I know the terror I felt when I couldn’t get in touch with my son that morning. He did not answer his phones. Calls on her cell phone went directly to voicemail.
I sat down and watched the building burn with the gaping hole where I knew my son was probably located, then saw the building collapse. The feelings of hopelessness were overwhelming. It took me a week to look at a photo of him. He was gone.
I had the incredible joy of watching my son grow from a sweet and bright little boy to a strong, handsome, bright and mature man. A young man on the threshold of life. A young man I loved with all my heart, a young man who loved me so much in return.
When I look back over the past 20 years, I realize how much I have lost, his sister has lost and his father has lost, but most of all I think about how much Ted has lost.
He would never continue to enjoy doing the research and analysis he was doing for David Alger. When Ted gave the eulogy for his grandfather, Russ Kelly (the founder of Kelly Services), he said that Grandpa Russ taught him to read the Race form (Russ had been raising racehorses for years) and The Wall Street Journal. Ted said The Wall Street Journal was harder. Working for the Algiers was exactly what he had been studying for from a young age. It was a wonderful opportunity.
Ted never had the satisfaction of pursuing the career he had chosen. He never obtained his master’s degree in business administration in finance. He was never to start his own investment firm or work with his father to develop the family business, Kelly Services. He never had the satisfaction of seeing his hard work helping others. He never had a well-deserved retirement.
Ted never had the pleasure of making his first New York apartment just for himself and his two friends from Vanderbilt who were to be his roommates.
Ted never had the joyful experience of marrying a wonderful woman, someone he could adore and love completely.
Ted never had the incredible joy and undeniable pride in holding his own precious babies. He didn’t see them grow up to be strong, independent people, helping to improve society, like Ted would.
Ted has never met his sister’s two boys. They know him, but they will never know him, nor will they instill in them his values of kindness, generosity, commitment and a decent and good life. They didn’t see the love and devotion Ted had for their mother, his sister Elizabeth.
Ted was not with his father when he died three years ago. He wasn’t with him to hold his father’s hand and tell him he was loved as his father took his last breath.
No one was with Ted, as far as we know, when he took his last breath, and it still haunts me today. He was probably alone.
Ted missed the greatest moments of his life, the struggles that make you stronger, the joys that make life worth living. He did not have the opportunity to learn about other cultures and people while traveling around the world.
When I think about the life he should have lived – a rich, full, hopeful and happy life – I also realize that the world has lost the contributions it could have made to society and the differences. that he was able to do in the lives of others.
In that regard, we all lost our lives when he and the other victims were cut short on that fateful day in September 2001. The world is a poorer place because of the loss of all these beautiful lives.
– This commentary was originally posted by The San Diego Union-Tribune. ??