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

Residents of University Park, Maryland, gathered at a community potluck dinner at a nearby church to remember the victims of recent terrorist attacks. A neighborhood memorial honors Charles Falkenberg and Leslie Whittington, a couple who was killed along with their two young children, Zoe and Dana, when their hijacked American Airlines plane slammed into the Pentagon. Another University Park resident, Sheila Hein, is a Pentagon worker who has been missing since Tuesday's attack on the building (<i>Wednesday, September 12, 2001</i>).
Photo of

Leslie A. Whittington

Age: 45

Hometown: University Park, Md., USA

Occupation: Professor, Georgetown University

Location: Passenger, American Flight 77, Pentagon

"There were a lot of rituals in that house! From early in her life, bedtime for Dana was a story in the living room on the couch with everyone listening. Afterwards, she was carried upstairs for a few songs in the rocking chair before being put down with her favorite stuffed 'Lambie.' Then, Zoe and both parents read together -- longer, more complicated books like all of Harry Potter, some Tolkien, many children's classics. Zoe usually had just one song in her bed; she was usually allowed to read on her own for a while. In her last summer, Dana, like most little 3-year-old girls, was fascinated by anything about princesses and stayed in costume much of the time. Part of the family Sunday morning ritual was reading The Washington Post, including the comics with the girls. They loved each other, loved being together, loved books, loved life." -- Ruth Koch, Leslie Whittington's mother, 'Nana' to the girls


Leslie A. Whittington, of University Park, was on her way to Australia with her family -- her husband of 17 years, Charles S. Falkenberg, and their daughters, 8-year-old Zoe and 3-year-old Dana.

Whittington, 45, an associate professor of public policy at Georgetown University, was to be a visiting fellow for two months at Australian National University in Canberra.

According to Georgetown's Web site, she was "an economist who has research interests in public finance, labor markets and family policy." She wrote extensively on the personal income "marriage tax" and the problems it created for families and was co-writing a book about women, work and family.

Falkenberg, 45, was the lead software engineer for ECOlogic Corp. in Herndon. For the last six years, he had worked on developing "scientific data delivery systems" for oceanographers, ecosystem scientists and space scientists, according to his biography on the Internet.

He had worked in Alaska developing a software system for researchers evaluating the long-term effects of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. When he died, he was at work on a project for NASA.

<style> #PentmemMemoryWrap { margin-left: 95px; width: 506px; background: #faf7ec; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 11px; color: #2e2e2e; } #PentmemMemoryTop { padding: 14px; } #PentmemMemoryTop img { padding: 0px 0px 0px 10px; } #PentmemMemoryTop .headline { font-size: 12px; font-weight: bold; } #memAuthor { float: right; margin: 2px 20px 20px 0px; font-weight: bold; } .blurb { font-size: 11px; line-height: 16px; margin-left: -92px} </style> <div id="PentmemMemoryWrap"> <div id="PentmemMemoryTop"> <div class="blurb"><p><!-- <img src="" align="right" border="0"> -->"Above anything, they valued family. One of their last trips was to the West Coast with extended family. </p> <p>While there Zoe took surfing lessons. With her family cheering her on and with her characteristic determination, she overcame her fears and rode the waves like a pro.</p> <p> Much of her confidence came from Charlie, always an egalitarian. He refused to impose stereotypes on his daughters. When Zoe was about 2, he gave her a toy dump truck when she wanted pink ballet shoes. She never did warm up to construction equipment, but he was successful anyway- she never limited herself to narrow views of who she should be. </p> <p>Dana, only 2 at the time of the trip, basked in the love of her family. After several days with 12 members of her extended family, the group was separated for a car trip. She looked around at the six family members in her car and asked, "Where are the rest of my people?"</p> <p> Leslie, always full of warmth and wit, loved to tell stories about her girls. If she had lived long enough to return to the classroom, these stories and more would undoubtedly have found their way into her lectures. She called them her "Zoe-isms."</p> <div id="memAuthor">-- Sara Guest, Leslie's sister <!-- /end memAuthor --></div> <!-- /end blurb --></div> <br> </div> </div>

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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