SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Among the heroes of the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 was Bay Area Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas – a heroine on Flight 93.
Her widower, Jack, tells the story of her life and legacy 20 years after losing her.
“I felt she was at peace with everything that had happened. Even though it was, I can only imagine, the most horrific perilous situation you could ever find yourself in, ”said Jack, who now lives in Monterey, Calif.
Grandcolas’ joie de vivre was evident to anyone lucky enough to know her. Tragically, her life was cut short when she boarded the ill-fated Flight 93 on September 11.
She was one of 40 people on the flight who plotted to get back on the plane, battling the hijackers and ultimately forcing the plane to land in rural Pennsylvania.
It was the first victory in the war on terrorism.
Lauren was returning home to San Rafael after her grandmother’s funeral in New Jersey. She and Jack were expecting their first child.
He shared part of the message she left when calling from the plane:
“She said ‘I love you more than anything, know that’ so I wouldn’t be left with haunting feelings,” said Jack. “Even in times of danger, she wanted to comfort me, leave me the message that I want you to continue if I can’t get through this, don’t let them have you too.” And she said, ‘I love you more than anything, just know that. Please tell my family I love them too.
A native of Houston, the University of Texas graduate was a senior marketing manager and aspiring author. EMT trained and the daughter of a soccer coach, Lauren’s name survives in the inspiring textbook for adult girls called “You Can Do It”.
Jack, who is remarried now but still recovering, fondly remembers their many adventures, including skydiving, and how she not only inspired him, but undoubtedly inspired his fellow Flight 93 heroes.