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His name was Ted, and he died on 9/11

I was at work that morning. I had just signed up for those MSNBC news alerts the week before..Every time something significant happened in the world of news, this little red pulsating dot would start blinking. When you clicked on the dot, you got a pop-up box with a link to the news event. Most of the 'events' up until that day were trivial. When I clicked on the link that day, I read that a plane crashed into one of the World Trade Towers and I thought ...what a horrible accident..how could a pilot or control tower go so wrong. A television materialized in a nearby office, and everyone somehow knew to congregate. Suddenly, a second plane hit the other tower. Instantly we knew...

Dial back to 6:00 AM EST...An ordinary man named Ted Moy got on the subway to go to work on an ordinary day. He got to work early, as usual, and at 8:00 AM he called his wife to remind her about an orthodontia appointment for one of his kids. The Moys (Ted and Madeline) had two kids: Jessica (19) and Daniel (14).

Ted and family lived in Silver Spring, Maryland. Ted's job was as a civilian procurement officer for the army. His office was in the Pentagon,Room 1E472,(1 was like first floor, E is the E-ring, and the room was 472).

Dial back 22 years...What we call ordinary often blossoms into extraordinary wonder when you microscope in to see an world emblazoned with love, coincidence, and zest for living.

Ted was born in the USA, but his parents were from a village in the Chinese village of Toi San in the Canton province. He was on a flight to Taiwan...across the aisle was a pretty young woman on a student trip. Ted, no fool, started a conversation with the woman across the aisle..Turns out their parents were from EXACTLY THE SAME VILLAGE in the province of Canton. She was living in San Francisco..he was on the other coast.

Turns out they were both ending up in Hong Kong so they went together and shopped. After arriving home, the onslaught of letters began...3 and 4 a week. There were visits, and three years later, he moved away from his hometown all the way across the country to be near her. Two years later in on June 12th,1980, they married. June 12th was picked by Madeline's mom because it was a lucky day on the Chinese calendar. After marriage, he moved the family back to his home in Silver Spring.

Dial back to the teenage years...Ted wanted to be in the military all of his life. He loved his country and was grateful that his parents had longed for the freedom of America. Ted wanted to repay his country for what it had meant to his parents and himself. Sad to say, Ted was flat-footed, and was not accepted into the military. A few years later, he did the next best thing, and got a job in the Navy Yard as a manager. A few years after that, he moved to the Pentagon as a Department of Defense Employee beginning in 1999.

Ted enjoyed exploring his roots, especially since one of those journeys led him to Madeline, but his true passion, besides his family, was his country. Ted loved to dress in red, white, and blue on the 4th of July...On July 4th, 2001, Ted added a floppy Uncle Sam hat to the ensemble, and told his kids that Uncle Sam wanted THEM.

So, the truth is, Ted was not ordinary at all. He seemed destined to meet the love of his life. He had two wonderful kids, and a job with the government that meant so much to him, and he got to live his passion.

Roll forward to September 11..After calling home to remind his wife about the orthodontia appointment and laughing about the family outing the night before to celebrate Madeline's birthday, he hung up and went back to work in the accounting department where his procurement job was evolving into an elite management position.

At 9:37, an evil bastard who had taken control of American Airlines Flight 77 flew the plane into the E-Ring of the Pentagon destroying an entire section and killing 125 people.

Madeline was at her job at Charles Drew Elementary School when she got a call from her daughter soon after, wondering if she had heard anything. Madeline knew about the plane crashing into the Trade Towers but she didn't know about the Pentagon.

And it got--I started thinking the worst of it, and I started to cry, and I couldn't concentrate at school. And I just devastated from this. And I said, "I sure hope not. Let it not be him. Let it not be daddy. Let it not be Ted." You know, I just hope he's in the right side of the building where they didn't hit, you know? Because the fact that he took this training, he's been moved around just, you know, different parts of Pentagon, and I just couldn't keep up.

And when I came home, after I pick up my son, 'cause he got off early and I got off early, I look at the news, and found out that they got hit from the airplane. But I didn't know what--what area he really worked in, so I said, "Okay, let me call him." … He usually call[s] us at least 3 times a day, call[s] us when we come home from school, call[s] us when he's getting ready to come home, and sometime call[s] us if he's somewhere shopping around for a while.

But I didn't hear from him that morning. It was just--I mean that afternoon when I came home. I just kept praying when I came home, kept looking at the news, and saying that, "It's not like daddy not to call us, Daniel [Mrs. Moy's son, age 14]." And Daniel said, "I think he's all right, mom."

But later on, my believe is that I waited so long, and then plus the fact that he takes the subway, I said, "Okay, I'll give him a few more hours," you know, and then I start to cry. I said, "Hope not, come on, come on home."

Other than her children, Madeline's most precious possession is a gold crucifix they purchased together on that shopping trip in Hong Kong. When she holds it, she feels connected to Ted, and knows that he is in another home, and that she will get to see him again...

Ted's favorite song was 'Stars and Stripes Forever'. His daughter Jessica was part of a string quartet that played that song at Ted's funeral.

It was an ordinary day, and an ordinary man named Ted went to work...and none of us have been the same since.

This blog post is part of the 2,996 tribute to the victims of 9/11. Read about the other victims HERE

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About me

  • I'm John H
  • From Salemtown, Tennessee, United States
  • Cruising past 50, my wife and I have reared three kids and several dogs. I work for state government and daily conspire to deflate bureacracy.
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