Her Brother Died On Flight 93. She Still Sees Him Surfacing In Small Ways

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A photo of Richard Guadagno hugging his dog Raven hangs in his sister, Lori’s home. He was on on board Flight 93 and died when it crashed outside Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2001.

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Lori Guadagno keeps her brother’s memory alive with his objects scattered throughout her home.

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Part Of Flight 93 Crashed On My Land. I Went Back To The Sacred Ground 20 Years Later

He especially loved frogs.

«We were at a seafood restaurant on the Jersey Shore,» Lori recalled. «Rich saw on the menu that they served frog legs and he lost his mind. We couldn’t eat there. He was hysterical.»

That love of nature remained as Rich became an adult. He built a career at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, eventually becoming a manager at a preserve in northern California.

That intensity remained, too.

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Lori says she still wears Rich’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services jacket.

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Photos of Rich and Lori around 2001.

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A leather case that housed Rich’s credentials from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services was found in October 2001.

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They Don’t Remember Their Parents Dying On 9/11. But They’ll Never Forget

Still, as the first anniversary of the crash neared, Lori knew she’d have to go to Shanksville to support her parents.

The first anniversary was cold and windy. The flags lining the fences around the crash site whipped in the wind.

The Red Cross handed out blankets to the attendees, but quickly ran out.

Johnstown’s orchestra, joined by U.S. Marine Corps musicians, played Aaron Copeland. Family members and public officials spoke. A friar rang a large bell after the name of every person on Flight 93 was read.

None of it moved Lori.

She glowered during the ceremony, cringed at the way her grief was on public display. She was icy toward other relatives of passengers and crew, by her own admission.

When it was over, the families and friends of victims made their way slowly to the crash site.

The field, burned by the plane’s impact and the intense heat of the jet fuel fires, was now filled with green grass — except around where the gaping crater once was.

In that field, Lori wandered off by herself.

«I remember looking up to the sky, really pissed off. I said, ‘Rich, if you can hear me, just show me a sign. I need to know you know I’m here. I need to feel you here,'» Lori recalled.

She took one more step into the field and looked down. She saw a perfectly-formed bird’s nest, made of mud and twigs.

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Lori holds a bird’s nest.

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Family members received a binder of catalogued clothes and personal objects that were found at the crash site. Lori went through it to see if she could identify anything that belonged to her brother.

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Rich’s hemp wallet was the only thing Lori could id from the binder. It still held a receipt from their time together in Vermont.

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Rolls of film taken by Rich were found by the FBI.

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The FBI developed Rich’s photos from their grandmother’s birthday party in 2010.

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A neighbor delivered yellow cheery tomatoes from his garden to Lori. She saw it as a sign from Rich since his home in California was filled with tomato vines.

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A neighbor delivered yellow cheery tomatoes from his garden to Lori. She saw it as a sign from Rich since his home in California was filled with tomato vines.

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No one said anything. Lori just stared at the tomatoes.

«You know, I always say that the signs that I get from Rich are most peculiar. But they are so crystal clear, and that would be one of them,» she said.

«The hardest part of the conversation — and the tomatoes arrived.»

«OK. Alright, Rich,» Lori finally said, after another long pause. «I’m here to tell your story. I am here to tell your story.»

And she did.

  • Shanksville, Pa
  • Lori guadagno
  • richard guadagno
  • mourning
  • spiritual
  • September 11th
  • grief
  • Flight 93
  • Terrorism

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