From Franklin Ross:
I remember going to school that warm September day. I remember my first class was economics. I remember a sudden urge to go to the snack shop halfway through class. I remember leaving class and heading up the stairs to the main student hall. As I walked towards the snack shop I remember the radio. First I heard the noise, and then I heard the news: A plane had just hit the World Trade
Center, and then a second one. I did not realize at the time but my life had changed forever. It took me about ten minutes before I remembered that my father had taken a plane that morning to California, and then the possibility hit me.
The clarity of what had become of my father came to me an hour later in a conversation with my uncle:
Franklin: Have you heard from Dad? Do you know where he is?
Uncle Jon: No, we have not located him.
Franklin: He is gone.
In the following days, months, and years I have tried to comprehend the changes that my life, my family, and my country have undergone since that September day. It has been ten years since my father died on September 11th, on the first flight to hit the towers, American Airlines Flight 11. It is as if the dream will never end.
One night I went to sleep having a father and the next day he had vanished, gone forever into the dust of the fallen towers. My father, Richard B. Ross was
born in 1943. He came from a divorced family and no particular means but he had a great work ethic and made something of himself. He was a loving husband, father, son, brother, and friend. His greatest accomplishment was cofounding the Brain Tumor Society. Since its inception, the Brain Tumor Society has helped families cope with and receive the resources they need to
fight the brutal onslaught of brain tumors, while also funding research to find a cure.
His dedication to this cause began as a result of his own experience helping to find a cure for my sister, Alison, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 9. I only mention the above because it’s important to understanding my father and what a special man he was. My father accepted challenges and fought them head on; he worked tirelessly to save my sister and give comfort
and help to others. He was a supportive father but never lazy with correction.
Constantly, he reminded me of my moral duties and obligations to those around me. I fought him every inch only to find that when he died I agreed with all his notions. He was quite simply the best, and that truth has helped me deal with losing him.
For when I feel sad I remind myself that I was blessed to have a wonderful father for eighteen years. I will never forget my father, a man of integrity and strength. A man who lived life to its fullest, who filled so many lives, who truly helped others, who truly loved.
To help deal with the loss and with my emotions, in 2003 I wrote a book of poems called, “Loss of a Father” and this year I published them to both honor my father, and also a way to ease other people’s pain when they lost someone they loved who they never got a chance to say goodbye to.