A Sibling's Strength

Another fine profile from associate editor Kerry Weber:

During September 2001, Michael Armstrong was busy. Then 34 years old, he was preparing to get married in October. He planned to be out of the office at the end of the week of September 11 for his bachelor party. On Monday the 10th, he attended a funeral Mass for a friend’s mother. But on Tuesday he was at work at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of One World Trade Center.

Advertisement

Sometimes his sister Laura, nine years his junior, thinks about Michael’s schedule that week. What if the funeral had been held on Tuesday? What if the terrorist attacks had taken place at the end of the week? Any number of events could have spared Michael’s life, and spared his family the pain of losing him. “There are always those what-if moments and the whys,” she says now. “Whys were directed toward God. A certain degree of anger is only natural, but I think what I felt was more hurt and sorrow than anger, and I don’t feel like my faith was altered.”

You can browse our other features for 9/11 here.

Tim Reidy

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Gabriel McAuliffe
6 years 4 months ago
This article is one of the most moving that I have read, particularly in this magazine. 

God bless the Armstrong family.  God rest the soul of Michael Armstrong.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

A boy presents a hat to Pope Francis upon his arrival at the international airport in Trujillo, Peru, Jan. 20. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“Just as the apostles faced the storm on the sea, you had to face the brunt of ‘El Niño costero.’”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 20, 2018
Pope Francis greets the crowd before celebrating Mass at the Maquehue Airport near Temuco, Chile, Jan. 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“Pope Francis’ statements...were a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse,” Cardinal O’Malley said in a statement released Jan. 20.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 20, 2018
 Pope Francis and Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski stand outside the presidential palace in Lima, Peru, Jan.19.(CNS photo//Mariana Bazo, Reuters)
“The degradation of the environment...cannot be separated from the moral degradation of our communities.”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 20, 2018
The U.S. bishops had an unusually busy year issuing positive and negative statements about the new president, but some hoped for more decisive action against his policies.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 19, 2018