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September 11 Memorial: Remembering the victims who died at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania

Diana Borrero de Padro

Age: 55

Hometown: Woodbridge, Va., USA

Occupation: Civilian employee, U.S. Army

Location: Ground, Pentagon


Every day when he got to work, Jose Padro would call his wife, Diana, at her office in the Pentagon, just to hear her laugh.

It wasn't a nervous giggle or an earsplitting chortle, he explained. "It was a kind of laugh like, 'I'm glad to talk to you.' I loved that. I would call her every day just to hear that," Padro said.

Diana Padro, 55, a staff accountant for the Department of the Army, had lived in Woodbridge for nine years -- the longest stretch of time their military family lived in one place. Their sons Jose, 23, and Juan, 19, are graduates of Potomac High School. Diana Padro, an outgoing woman, "immersed everyone in her energy," her husband said.

Though they were each born in Puerto Rico, Jose and Diana met at Fort Hood, Tex., where they were both stationed after finishing Army basic training. Diana left the service in 1982 but stayed involved with military life. She loved her job, for which she traveled often, her husband said. Every time she visited a new city or state, she brought home a kitschy refrigerator magnet. A quarter of their refrigerator displays them in tidy rows, including another magnet that reads "Diana's Kitchen."

Jose Padro said he first heard of the attack in the morning when he was watching television. He works nights, and Diana had already left for the day. When he heard the news, he said, "I got on the phone immediately to call my wife. The phone rang, but no one answered."

When the news came out that the plane had hit the Pentagon near the helipad, Padro knew his wife worked nearby. He remembered picking her up from the airport and seeing her point at her office.

"She said, 'That's my window. When the president comes in the helicopter, we all go to the window so we can see him,' " Padro said. "So I knew something had happened.

"I never expected anything like this."

-- Christina A. Samuels

Source: The Washington Post, AP and

The profiles in this feature were written in the months following Sept. 11, 2001.

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A day after the 9/11 attacks a makeshift memorial was created on the Arlington Memorial Cemetery fence. Seven years later, the first 9/11 memorial is opening.

Related Coverage:

3-Dimensional Virtual Memorial

Victims Remembered in Maryland

One Family's Loss

Stepping Through the Ashes

Pentagon Under Attack

Five Year Anniversary Coverage

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