Posted by John Trana September 2003:
I woke up this morning to the realization that it is 9/11. The past two years have come and gone very quickly. I wanted to share with you what today means to me. I will not pretend that I was a close friend of Ann's, but after listening to some of the stories about her I wish I would have gotten to know her better. However, since her death I can honestly say I think about her a lot.
I coach football in my spare time, so I get to listen to the National Anthem every week. Every time I hear it I picture Ann with her dog in front of the flag and I THANK HER. I thank her for helping me realize that I am very lucky. She reminds me every week of what is really important in my life. She reinforces my decision to take time to coach, something I have always dreamed about doing.
It was a hard decision to take a big pay cut for five months out of the year to do something for the pure enjoyment of it. Ann is especially there for me when I think the pressure from work is getting too much. She is there, in front of the Flag, and in my mind she is telling me it's OK to follow your dream and reminds me that we need to take advantage of the opportunities we are given to the best of our abilities. She reminds me to take the time to tell my friends and family that I love them. Even though we were not close before, she has done a lot for me since 9/11 and I want to thank her. I sincerely believe that she can hear me, but I wanted all of you to know what she has done for me on this special day.
I am going to tell my team at practice today about Ann. But I'm not sure what I am going to say or how it's going to come out. I think she is a very inspirational story and if we keep her in our thoughts then she will never truly be gone.
I hope every one is Happy and Healthy.
Posted by Kelly September 2003:
Thoughts of Ann
Tonight I will share a beer with Ann on my back deck and tell her about all that has gone on in the past year, although I'm sure she knows. We used to do this every Christmas, but now September 11th has become my day for a heart-to-heart, up all night, forget about everything else in the world talks. I still think of Ann a lot. It is sometimes the profile of someone I pass on the street, a song on the radio, a moment I would relish sharing with her, or a flag hanging in front of a house. Today as I drove down 25th Street in Fargo. I had decided I would try to get through this day without tears. About a block later, in front of a large church, was an entire boulevard covered with flags. Maybe next year will be that year.
Well, I better go because I'm late for my visit with Ann - but wait, that should make me right on time.
Gary and Jenette, as always, you are in my thoughts and my prayers. Always know that there is someone else thinking about Ann somewhere each day and there always will be.
Posted by Pam Dickey September 2003:
Thinking of Ann, I am not sure why it has taken me two years to post this message - to reach out to Ann's family and friends with my story of how she touched me. I want you to know that there is another person out here who understands the exceptional nature of Ann. I certainly have thought of her and your loss a hundred times over. I think it may have taken me so long to write because I just can't grasp that something so horrible actually happened to someone so wonderful.
I went to St. Olaf College, across the river from Carleton. There I became fast friends with one Suzy Boggs - she was quite the troublemaker, but that's another story. We both were majoring in Political Science and spent many hours together muddling our waythrough policies and papers. Ann often made the trek from Carleton to St.Olaf to visit her high school friend Suzy - and that is how I met Ann. I can remember the three of us sitting on the lawn outside our library talking about an issue from one of our classes. Suzy and I were going back and forth trying to sort out our thoughts, after a while Ann chimed in with such a clear perspective it amazed us. Though I did not spend that much time with Ann, when I was around her I was always amazed by her mind.
I was visiting Minnesota in the fall of 2001, and took a friend through my college campus to show him where I had spent all those years. It sparked my memory of Ann and I asked my friends "Isn't it strange how some people can come into your life briefly, but leave such a lasting impression?" I continued on with a story about my senior year when I was required to take a statistics class for my major. I am no whiz with numbers and was easily disheartened and distracted. For some reason Ann was in that class, I think she had been off-campus for a semester when it was offered at Carleton and it was only offered at St. Olaf when she needed to take it. At any rate, I was failing miserably and I believe she was coasting through (she never let on, but I could tell). She insisted on coming over every Saturday afternoon that semester to "study" with me. In all honesty, she was tutoring me. And I was a bad student - I hated statistics. I stared out the window. I brought up other stories. She kept coming back. And coming back. And I passed the class. Avoiding all sorts of hassles and a major dig to my self-esteem. Mostly, it meant so much to me that someone who barely knew me would make such an effort and take such care to make sure I was a success. It really made a lasting impression on me. I wrapped up my story to my friend by telling him what a free, happy spirit Ann had - like sunshine. I wondered where she was, what she was up to.
I was shocked and saddened when I arrived home from that trip to find a letter from Suzy telling me that Ann worked at Cantor FitzGerald and was lost on 9/11. A part of me still cannot believe it. I am terribly sorry for your loss. Ann has an amazing spirit and I carry an appreciation for her kindness, generosity and smile with me in my heart.
Posted by Cristy Siede September 2003:
Making it Real
Gary, Jenette, friends and family of Ann:
Each time I think of 9/11, my first and strongest thought is of Ann and how she gave all of us, with her most precious gift, the devastating realism of what has touched thousands and thousands of family members and friends. She made it real and she made it personal. Please know that you are not alone and that Ann is in our minds and hearts always - we are forever changed because of that fateful day.
I worked with Ann at Dain (we took our Series 7 class together) and Gary was one of my clients when I worked with Craig Mueller. I still see her smile when I think of her and remember that she is easily the nicest soul in heaven. I proudly wear my red, white and blue today in her memory and your honor.
Thank you for your postings to her website. It has been so helpful for closure and keeping her memory alive.
The story about your visit to Ground Zero is so heart warming and wrenching all at the same time. May God comfort you with his peace each day.
Posted by Aron & Mary September 2003:
Jenette and Gary,
We think of you this day and are thankful for our friendship.
Ann is always remembered.
Aron & Mary
State Bank of Lakota
Posted by K Driscoll September 2003:
I didn't know Ann well, but our fathers worked together at the bank for many years and I had met Ann several times. It's been two years since the attacks and I think of that day and Ann often. Now that I am a mother myself, I cannot imagine the terrible pain that her parents must feel. I want them to know that she is remembered, even by people who didn't know her well. I will light a candle in her honor tomorrow - 9/11/03.
K. Driscoll ____________________________________________________
Posted by Mel Grosz June 2003:
3031 Flags in Utah
Posted by Karen E April 2003:
Reaching Across the Miles
Dear Gary and Jenette,
I read the beautiful story about your daughter, Ann, in the Connections magazine from MSU. I graduated from Minot in 1971.
I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I was teaching at our High School on that horrific day when the Trade Center was hit. We collected many of our students in a large room and watched it happen on TV. Many of my colleagues had family and friends who worked there. One of my students, who was standing in front of me, went down on his knees when the first tower collapsed. He said, "My Grandpa works there, Mrs. Erwin." I held him in my arms and we both cried. He and I left school immediately so I could take him home.
As I read about your daughter, I felt your sadness and your loss. May it bring you comfort to know that many caring thoughts are with you. My home is North Dakota, too. I also left to "experience what the rest of the world had to offer." One day soon, I plan to return.
Saratoga Springs, New York
Posted by Eric K February 2003:
Songs for Annie
Hi...I'm Eric Kalenze. I was a classmate of Ann's at Carleton. I was looking around at the memorial site and, especially after seeing that picture of her playing the guitar (it's mine, along with the yellow one with the Packer logo in the background), I thought I should pass this on - I still work in music, mostly as a songwriter now no longer in bands (the picture of Ann was taken after a thing a former band member and I did for a party up at her place like six years ago), and I wrote a song after Ann's memorial at Carleton. Thanks - Eric