Jemal Legesse DeSantis, age 28.
9/11 is a culmination of terror and pain because we were awakened to the truth that America is vulnerable as a target to deranged terrorists. We grieved and wailed because of the many innocent lives that got killed, but we were also inspired with the stories of courage from the men and women who gave up their lives to help others.
First, let me thank DCRoe for taking the time to initiate the 2996 Project. It is an honour to be able to participate in this endeavor and remember the September 11, 2001 victims. For a list of tributes to the other victims, pls click here**.
I remember "Jemal Legesse DeSantis"
2,996: A Tribute to the Victims of 9/11
Jemal Legesse DeSantis, single, age 28
Place killed: World Trade Center. Resident of Jersey City, N.J. (USA).
Other friends like Jami Dichard and Karen Smith remember him with fondness. Jami met Jemal while he was working at Pace University officiating basketball games for the Lawyer's League. He remembered him as "a gracious player and one of the nicer guys."
Jemal played in that league with the boys on the ESpeed team, Cantor's public affiliate. The investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald suffered the single-most losses of personnel in the World Trade Center Attacks on September 11, 2001 - 658 of the office's 1,000 employees perished. However, there was no mention anywhere in my research whether he worked there or not.
Karen Smith remembered him affectionately because of his warmth and kindness. When she took her son to NYC for a yankees game, he volunteered to escort them on the subway after the game so that they could catch their train safely!
Other people who have met him said that he was a down to earth person with a good heart. He worked hard and thought about his family and friends often and had never said an unkind word about anyone. He was a Muslim and through him, his friends were able to learn about and respect the Muslim religion.
I wish I knew more about Jemal Legesse DeSantis. But my research had been limited to what was said about him on the net.
I can never do justice with this small tribute to Jemal knowing that I only have bits and pieces of his life. I do not know how Jemal spent his last desperate minutes. However, I am almost positive that it is one of the stories of courage in the face of death. I am also sure that the imprint he left on the people that knew him well and loved him so will continue to live on forever.