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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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Odessa V. Morris

Age: 54

Hometown: Upper Marlboro, Md., USA

Occupation: Budget analyst, U.S. Army

Location: Ground, Pentagon

Profile:

Tuesday was Odessa V. Morris's 25th wedding anniversary. Her husband still can't believe she's gone.

"It's like a movie, like I'm dreaming," said Horace Anthony Morris, an English professor at Howard University.

The couple shared a stately brick house -- their dream home -- on 21 acres deep in the woods of Upper Marlboro. They had three children, ages 24, 22 and 17.

Odessa Morris was a budget analyst for the Army who spent her free time raising pet goats and dispensing advice to family and friends about how to get out, and stay out, of debt.

"I guess that was the budget analyst in her," her husband said.

"She loved to counsel people about money."

A native of Norfolk and one of eight children in her family, she was known for her cooking, a skill she honed while watching her mother at the stove. Her own specialties were jerk chicken and seafood dishes, her husband said, and could she ever work a grill.

On the morning of the attack, Morris had dropped his wife off at a downtown Metro station, as he did every weekday. From there she rode the train to the Pentagon. The two were excited because they planned to leave work early that day and go to a fancy seafood restaurant to celebrate their anniversary.

Around 9:30 a.m., Morris said, he called his wife to see if she had heard about the devastation at the World Trade Center, but her phone "kept cutting off," he said. Around 10, a colleague pulled him out of class and told him about the crash at the Pentagon.

The university quickly shut down, and Morris went in search of his wife -- an odyssey that took him from a Metro station to a hospital to the Pentagon itself.

No one knew anything. The next day, Army officials called with the news that she was officially listed as missing.

"I don't think it's hit home," Morris said. "But when it does hit home, I'm hoping I'm not alone."

-- Tracey A. Reeves

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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