9/11 Stories

Lin Min, Zhu

Remembrance of Vijay

Vijay is my alumnus, who worked for Aon Insurance Company, which located on 103rd floor of the Second World Trade Center Tower. He was one of the unfortunate ones who did not make it out of the tower in the tragedy that took place a few weeks ago.

Though I am not that familiar with him, I felt extremely sad and painful. We met several times in the campus. He comes from Malaysia and took a Master degree of Actuarial. He graduated when I was a sophomore.

The night of September 11, I received a letter from one of my friends, he asked if we have got any information about Vijay, because he is reported as missing.

I began to worry at that time.

Did he make it?

Maybe he is sent to the hospital and can be identify at this point!

God bless him!!!

I prayed for him and wish he is alive under the rubble and would be found soon. I thought he should be able to make it out because there was eighteen minutes difference between the hit of the first and second towers. He should have enough time to take the elevator down to the ground.

As I was praying, I recalled the last time I saw him. He came to school few days before the attack. Because his company is so close to the school, he often came to the library after work and did some research.He is a guy that studies hard and works hard, according to his classmates. He has taken an internship in Aon Insurance Company since his junior year and from then on. It’s a good company that all we insurance major students want to work for.

Several days after the attack, his colleague, one of the survivors who could get out of the hospital provided some details to his parents, who flew from Malaysia. Vijay is the only child of them and they are felling into deep sorrow and sadness.

We learned more as to the circumstances Vijay faced on that day.

Upon hearing of the first plane, Vijay and his colleagues decided to leave their building. They took the stairs from their floor (103rd floor) but the stairs met a dead-end on the 78th floor. They had to head to the 78th floor elevator lobby. While in the lobby waiting for the elevator with a whole bunch of people, the second plane hit their tower. The lights went out on the floor and many people were hurt, some killed. The emergency lights came on and people we checking to see who was OK.

Vijay was apparently unhurt, just covered in dust. He then got a fire extinguisher to put out some of the fires that were on the floor but the fire extinguisher didn’t work! Some people were then beginning to make their way down another set of stairs to safety but others who were badly hurt could not do so. One of those badly hurt was Vijay’s boss and Vijay was trying to help him. Vijay told his colleagues that he would stay and help his boss take the stairs down.

As a couple of his colleagues left the building having come down the stairwell, the building collapsed behind them. One of them recalled her last image of Vijay was of him placing his glasses into his shirt pocket and then doing the same with his boss’s glasses. His willingness to help and his selflessness were evident right till the end.

His actions were quite heroic.

I am proud that I have an alumnus like Vijay.

Lin Min, Zhu