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

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Edna L. Stephens

Age: 53

Hometown: Washington, D.C., USA

Occupation: Budget analyst, U.S. Army

Location: Ground, Pentagon

Profile:

Edna L. Stephens, 53, liked to cook, bowl and sing in the choir at Varick Memorial AME Zion Church in Northeast Washington. With 34 years at the Pentagon, the civilian budget analyst for the Army looked forward to retiring next year and moving back to her home town, Gainesville, Ga.

And her family, including her father, son and most of her eight brothers and sisters, anticipated the day she would return to the Atlanta suburb.

"Whenever she came home, it was always a happy time," said her sister, Eunice Holcomb, from Stephens's Capitol Heights home. "When she left, we didn't stop laughing."

Stephens was on the Department of Defense list of those unaccounted for after the attack at the Pentagon.

Soon after graduating from high school, Stephens moved to the Washington area and began her job at the Pentagon. About three years ago, she thought about retiring, but instead, Stephens bought her first home and pushed off thoughts of retirement to the future.

Holcomb, 45, said she'll miss confiding in Stephens, the second-oldest of the nine siblings, who was like a "family guidance counselor."

"I won't see her and listen to her and talk to her about things that I can't decide on," Holcomb said. "She was a focal point of guidance for us all. Even though she was far away, we always talked to her."

Stephens's only child, Torrass Allen, a Gainesville High School music teacher, said that while his mother was working at the Pentagon, she attended the University of the District of Columbia.

"She was serious a lot of the time," said Allen, 33. "But she knew how to have fun. She would say what was on her mind. She liked to play cards and be with her friends."

And Stephens liked to smile.

"Right now, I think the main thing I'll miss is her smile not being here anymore," Holcomb said. "One of her friends gave me some consolation when she saw me and said, 'There's her smile.' No one had ever said that to me before."

-- Yolanda Woodlee

Source: The Washington Post, AP and washingtonpost.com

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

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Timeline

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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