2007 Messages

Posted by Jenette October 2007:


Dear friends,

I am writing to let you know how much your letters and emails have meant to me and the other members of Ann's family. I check her website everyday I can get my computer to work. ( I just got it fixed two days ago) .

Our new home at the lake is nearly finished and I have spent the summer up here working on it. Most of Ann's things have been in storage until this summer when her uncle Gordie hauled them up here for me to unpack. It's been a time of remembering the past for me as I sort through her clothes, books, artwork and other things. I am trying to write about the experience. Right now I have a load of her T-shirts in the washing machine. Most of them have the name of a place where she visited on the front - Wisconsin Apple Festival, Vail, etc. Ann has her own room at the lake where I am putting all her things. It is used as a guest room. Her computer has quit. I hope to get it fixed, if possible. Thank goodness and her uncle John we got it backed up shortly before it quit.

I should write to so many people but I only seem to have enough energy to unpack about one box of Ann's things each day and write about 2-3 pages a week. Please accept this note as a poor substitute until I can do better.

I have a new email at the lake:
nelson7@midstatetel.com. Please keep writing as it means so much to us.



Posted by Jamie September 2007:


Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you and picture your face… your smile. God bless you, Ann.


Posted by Anthony September 2007:


To Anne's friends and family,

I've been meaning to send the attached to you for a while, but have been wanting to write an explanation of the symbolism in it to go along with the pic. I still haven't gotten around to the explanation part but thought that I better send you the picture and maybe that will spur me onto writing the explanation.

Anyway, the attached is a painting I did about a year ago. I wasn't sure where I was going with it initially, but then things started to take shape and everything seemed to fall into place.

I went to Wayland with Ann - Class of '89 as well. I was a 'townie' - i.e. lived in Beaver Dam and not in the dorms. We were in a lot of the same classes and we were actually both part of the group of the four juniors that got to carry the flags during the graduation ceremony in 1988. We both took physics our junior year and then she was smart and dropped it her senior year - unfortunately I did not and so it was just Heather Tietz and me my senior year.

Nowadays, I'm an attorney down in Texas (corp. & securities) with a family of my own - three sons (9, 9 and 5) and a new born daughter (born September 9). I just wanted to let you know that Ann and I were friends at Wayland and I always felt that we clicked well, not in a boyfriend-girlfriend sort of way, but more in a brother-sister sort of way. I didn't find out that she died in the attacks until a few months after but it really hit me hard when I did learn about it. I felt it was interesting to also learn that she ended up in bond trading and I ended up doing corp. securities work doing public (and private) bond deals. I thought to myself that it was easy to picture her and I in New York at the printers hammering out the final prospectus/offering memo on a deal - and then heading out for a nice greasy burger or slice of pizza - because I felt that although she and I both like what we do, we do not necessarily always enjoy some of the other things that go with our jobs - i.e. fancy dinners in fancy restaurants. Annie always seemed down to earth (as am I) and could generally be counted on to choose the burger over the filet mignon on most days.

I hope that at least some of this makes sense and hopefully I can send ya'll (fyi - that's 'Texan') a better explanation of the painting in the near future - but at least you can see it now. Please also know that I think of Ann often, especially with the current political climate. She was good and they were bad - seems pretty simple to me. The longer I live the more I see/realize that things happen for a reason - unfortunately we don't always find out what that reason is right away - however I firmly believe that Ann's death/murder occurred for a reason, even though that reason is not yet clear.

I love the memorial/tribute web page - please keep up the good work. Please also feel free to contact me with any questions/thoughts - thanks.

Best wishes,
Anthony Pflum - Wayland Academy - Class of '89


Posted by Kelly September 2007:


Dear Gary and Jenette,

I thought of Ann several times yesterday and spoke of her in my four literature classes. I truly miss her so very much. Last night they
re-aired a broadcast from 2002 on Channel 11 and it was a wonderful piece. Just know that I think of Ann often and that she is not

Take care, Kelly


Posted by Angie September 2007:

Thinking of Ann

Just remembering. Thinking of how cool she is to keep bringing people to learn new things, like the Top 100 Life List we talked about last year on Ellen.

I am always working on mine!

I love you,



Posted by Eric September 2007:

6 Years


I woke up this morning a little easier than in years past. Perhaps this is due to not being in NYC today or for that matter not being out at your old stomping grounds with your father until sunrise.

Your Dad is on is own this year in NYC but don’t worry, he’s proven to do just fine on his own. I’ll be back once they have a memorial built or on the 10 year anniversary.

Today will always be a day dedicated to your remembrance. You presented us with so many memories, stories, and values in your short time. They will not be forgotten.

I miss Newman, but he is now with you which only seems right. He was a great dog and is missed by many. Thank you for sharing him with me.

You will always live on with me Ann.

I miss you…




Posted by Anonymous August 2007:

Still Remembering

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I wrote last year about this time, following the publicity from the Guideposts story and the Ellen show. I have looked at the website many times throughout the past year. The new layout is really nice. Please let Ann's parents know that many still remember their loss, and are in prayerful memory of the impact that Ann made on so many people. What an awesome tribute you have made to her.



Posted by Lisa  August 2007:

With Many Thanks

Hello Jenette,

Like you I teach in the Midwest. I have little time to pleasure read during the school year so I catch up with it in the summer. Tonight I
read your story from my Guideposts magazine. The picture of Ann is absolutely beautiful. Looking at it one can see the passion she had
in her life. Her glowing smile says it all. My heart went out to you as I read your story. I will pray for you and your family. I thank
you for sharing your story.

Life is many things: challenging, difficult, joyous, scary, etc. I was quite moved by the goals list Ann had begun and I loved your interpretation of the lesson there. It is the everyday things we take for granted that matter most. Life does indeed need to be lived moving forward. Thank you for that reminder. At times it is easy to get stuck and to dwell on things of the past that cannot be changed. Worse is when that focus pulls one’s disposition down. You and Ann made a difference in my life today and have reminded me of what is really important. Ann truly is home with Our Father.

With gratitude and prayers,
Lisa S.


Posted by Arie July 2007:

Song for Ann and for Those Who Fight for Tomorrow

Sometimes I wonder how much we care
Sometimes I wonder how much we dare
But sometimes I just wait and cry a little
Because sometimes we just don’t know

Sometimes it’s dark, I feel afraid
Sometimes forget a promise I made
But sometimes I rejoice and laugh
Because sometimes is not enough

So I made a list with things to do
And so the world will remember you
Thanks for sharing it with us
No longer afraid, no longer lost.

Lejo, The Netherlands


Posted by Paul  May 2007:

Inspired by Ann's List

Dear Mr and Mrs Nelson,

Iam Virginia van der Wel from The Netherlands. Today Ellen Degenerestalk show "Ellen" was aired on the Dutch television. I heard Ann's storyand I just thought: “wow, what a person.”

When I was going to her life list, I realized how many similarities there are between Ann and me. I had to laugh at the things on her list, like “learn about wine”...how many times I sat in a restaurant ordering wine, but not having a clue what to order, seemed very familiar to me.

The first thing I thought about doing after hearing Ann's story is making a life list of my own, I realized after hearing Ann's story that I am still able to do the things I am writing on my list!

I can imagine that knowing Ann's story has touched so many lives to people over the world, gives her family comfort. They must be so proud of her!

Lots of love,

Virginia van der Wel

from Breda in The Netherlands


Posted by Paul May 2007:

Poem for Ann

Happy Birthday to my friend
All my love I do send.

May your days be filled with laughter
As you dwell in the Home of Our Master.

When you blow out the candles on your cake
Please remember you are missed, for Heaven’s sake.

In my mind People come and go.
You’ll be there forever so.

- Paul Murphy


Posted by Anne April 2007:

Ann's Cell


My name is Anne Leonhart from Fargo, North Dakota. I am a complete stranger to all of you and even to Ann. I was, however, quite moved by the Nelson family on that unforgettable day and every day since. You see, I was working at Sprint PCS here in Fargo on the day Gary Nelson called to find out if I had access to Ann's most recent phone log. I remember our conversations as if they were just yesterday.

Along with everyone else on Earth, my shocked and worried eyes were glued to the news channels to see the destruction someone had created on U.S. soil. The phone didn't really ring much on September 11, 2001, but when it did, it was very difficult to find an ounce of composure to answer it in that cheerful "customer service-y" way, "Thank you for calling Sprint PCS, this is Anne." On the other end of the line there was a short pause followed by an, "Ahem, what did you say your name was?' I replied, "This is Anne." He said, "My name is Gary Nelson from Stanley, North Dakota. My daughter's name is also Ann." Only for a short moment I thought, "COOL!" until he continued,

"She works at Canton Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center, New York City." My knees immediately became flaccid, which caused me to plop down hard into my chair. I knew at that point I needed to keep it together and do whatever it was Mr. Nelson needed, right now. Even though I had never talked with Mr. Nelson in my whole life, I could tell he didn't sound like him. He was so scared and worried, I could feel it through the hundreds of miles of phone lines between us. I informed him that I could access up to the minute call logs on her account. Through the waterfall of tears falling from my eyes and the Kleenex that blocked my perfect vision, I was able to find out that her last phone call was made that morning to her boyfriend in Chicago shortly after 8 a.m. NYC time. Apparently she was running just a couple minutes late for work, but was able to squeeze in one last call to him right as she got to her desk.

I told Mr. Nelson I would keep a very close eye on her account all day to look for any additional activity. After a few minutes of conversation as to how all this phone stuff works, Mr. Nelson and I shared our fears, with tears, of this situation. It had been hours since she made a call on her cell phone.

I felt really important to the Nelson family as I could possibly have news, hope, answers or anything that would make their worst fear go away. He gave me his home phone number so I could let him know when new calls showed up. I probably looked at that call log 700 times that day, including three minutes after hanging up with Mr. Nelson. I prayed that Ann had made a pile of calls each time I looked. Nothing. That was what I had to tell Mr. Nelson a few hours later when he called, just to see. He was so full of hope as was I.

He told me all about her, how much he had missed her when she moved, again, but farther from home. He beamed with pride for her successes in life. He was so proud of her for "going for it" and traveling and experiencing as much as she did. He admired her kind and selfless heart that was so full of love.

I gave him my schedule for the week, called him right as I got to work for the day everyday, if he didn't already beat me to it and before I left work each night. I wanted him to know, I was seriously on it. We stayed positive as each day passed.

We ended our short companionship on that following Friday, the 14th of September 2001, with the realization that she was gone. Not one call was made from her phone since the morning of September 11th, shortly before an airplane collided with her beautiful view of New York City. We shared tears again that day for his lost daughter with the same name as me.

I am writing this to let the Nelson's know that there hasn't been a day that has gone by that I haven't thought of them, and of course, Ann. I pray for them each and every day. I have seen all the TV spots and interviews, I've read all the articles pertaining to their tragic loss and have adopted Ann's list as one of my own. She was a brilliant girl with amazing parents that have made an incredible impact on my life. I, will never forget..........

In Christ,

Anne Leonhart

Our Past, Present and Future

A time when the blinders
Will fall helpless from our eyes
Once more we’ll see the spirits of our past
Once more their presence will be fully realized.cont.