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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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Michael L. Selves

Age: 53

Hometown: Fairfax, Va., USA

Occupation: Information management support center director, U.S. Army

Location: Ground, Pentagon

"We used to play on the weekend, every other Monday when he had the time off and during the week when he could fit it in. We were going to move to Hilton Head and play golf every day after he retired. Well, I went ahead and did it. I do miss playing with him, very much. He never took it too seriously, and he just had a fabulous sense of humor--he could make the most serious golfer crack up. We were never without someone to play with. There are a lot of ladies down here, and believe it or not, a lot of widows. The ladies group is very welcoming. But he's a tough act to follow." --Gayle Selves, wife

Profile:

Michael L. Selves and his wife, Gayle, were counting the days until he could retire from his job at the Pentagon. Next stop: the greens and fairways of Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Avid golfers, the couple married six years ago at the Fairfax National Golf Club in Centreville and planned a move to South Carolina next year.

"We have some very good friends down there. We were looking at real estate and making all of our plans," Gayle said through tears.

Over the course of a 20-year Army career, Selves served in South Korea and Italy, advancing to the rank of lieutenant colonel. In 1996, as a civilian, he became director of the Army's information management support center at the Pentagon.

His office was on the first floor of E Ring -- the point where Flight 77, with terrorists at the controls, struck first. Near his desk were photos of the lakes and mountains close by his home town of Pendleton, Ore., colleagues said. A University of Oregon graduate, he was an ardent fan of the Ducks.

Friends and family said Selves was as skillful with jokes as he was with a putter, and he developed close friendships wherever he went. As word spread that he was missing in the Pentagon attack, friends he had known since grade school showered his wife with sympathy. Calls came in from around the world. His high school classmates sent flowers.

Feelings ran equally strong among those who had known him for only a few years. Selves generated such intense loyalty that most of those who worked for him and left his office were transferred unwillingly, colleagues said.

He knew how to liven up a boring meeting, they said. One co-worker recalled a stunt two years ago in which Selves, speaking at a seminar, slowly stripped down to his undershirt and a bathing suit.

Recalled his wife: "All of the people he worked with were just devastated because he was really loved. His sense of humor is probably what made him so special to everyone. He could make just about anyone laugh."

Sunday was Selves's birthday. He would have turned 54.

-- David Cho

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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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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