Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Tribute to Robert E. Russell

I've signed up for the 2996 project and have been assigned to pay tribute to Robert E. Russell. Below are a variety of excerpts on his life and family. May God bless him and all those that he has touched.

From what I've read, he was a great man to both his family and colleagues. Always dedicated to work and leisure, he seemed to have a bright future ahead of him. His spirit will live on in his family and he'll be missed.

The United States lost over 3,000 citizens that day and it is a shame that we lost a wonderful man like Robert E. Russell.

From the Washington Post:

"He loved to cook. People used to come over all the time to eat what he made. Nobody comes over to eat anymore. My own children didn't even come over to eat what I had cooked on Thanksgiving. It hurt my feelings a little, but he was the cook. He had lots of specialties."
- Teresa Russell, wife

Source: The Washington Post

Robert E. Russell

Robert E. Russell, 52, met his wife at her 16th birthday party. When he proposed to her four years later, he promised to buy her a large house with a white picket fence, take her to Paris and, in their eighties, sit together on their porch with their great-grandchildren.

"Every dream's come true, but not that last one," said Teresa Russell, 50, a human resources specialist at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Her husband, a civilian budgetary supervisor for the Army, worked at the Pentagon and hasn't been seen since the attack. He was born in Columbia, S.C., and raised in Capitol Heights and had received degrees from the University of Maryland and Boston University. He and his wife had three children: Cydne, 30, Robert, 28, and Valerie, 14.

On Friday evening, Teresa Russell sat in her multilevel home on Lindsay Road in Oxon Hill holding two of her six young grandchildren, and she thought of the days ahead. "How can I go back to work and concentrate when there's no closure?" she asked. "My husband's not even buried -- if he is, in fact, dead."

Russell got up from her living room sofa, looked at one of the dozens of pictures of her husband on the walls and smiled. His face, it seemed, brought her some peace.
-- Steven Gray


Robert E. Russell

At first, those who knew Robert E. Russell clung to the hope that--somehow--the veteran Army soldier would have found a way to survive after American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into his Pentagon office.

The 52-year-old civilian supervisory budget analyst and retired Army sergeant major worked in the outer ring of the building's first floor. One friend called him a survivor. His wife, Teresa, whom he met in high school, said her husband was open-hearted, vivacious, a prankster.

"He was that type of person, always keeping something going," she said.

After the crash, Russell's wife, children, grandchildren and friends gathered in the 18th Century home Russell had worked so hard to renovate in Oxon Hill, Md.

"You have to go with your first instinct of hope," said Wilmore Ritchie Jr., a longtime friend and fellow Army retiree who has camped out in the home with Russell's family. "Being that he's a soldier, you would think that he would have found some way."

The pastor notified the family two weeks after the attack.

Russell's body was identified by his fingerprints and his remains were flown to an Air Force casualty center for autopsy. Like the families of many other military victims of last week's terrorist acts, Russell's family plans to have him interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

All that remained now was to receive the body, said Ritchie, still waiting in Russell's house for his friend to come home.

"You couldn't even see this house from the road when he first got it," Ritchie said. "He was always in the process of doing something with it."

Other links:

The Arlington National Cemtery
University of Southern Alabama - Memorial Scholarship
September 11th Victims List


Gayle said...

Great job, Mr. Tastic. This project really brings it up all fresh and new, doesn't it? It's not only numbers but individual people and each one I read hurts, but makes me proud of each blogger who is posting.

Thank you for a well-written and heartfelt tribute to this man, whose hobby seems to be one of my husband's favorite hobbies; we rennovated this old house too. I have to wonder how his wife deals with it. I honestly don't know that I could.


ABFreedom said...

Most excellent Mr. Tastic ... This sounds like one fun loving hard working dude. It's been great putting meaning to some of these numbers.

Jennifer Sizemore said...

Thank you for your tribute to a wonderful man. (Robert Russell was a member of the association for whom I work.) As you said, may God bless him and all whom he touched with his life.

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Wonderful tribute!! I think it would've been hard not to keep hoping that somehow he would've made it out until you knew for sure.

Skye said...

Beautiful and touching tribute to this shining life cut short on 9/11.

Jenn of the Jungle said...

Wonderful rememberance. I got a little misty when the wife said that hting about not all of the dreams coming true.

What a waste of life.

Enlightenment said...

One thing that struck me as odd in the days after 9/11 was Bush saying "We will not tolerate conspiracy theories [regarding 9/11]". Sure enough there have been some wacky conspiracy theories surrounding the events of that day. The most far-fetched and patently ridiculous one that I've ever heard goes like this: Nineteen hijackers who claimed to be devout Muslims but yet were so un-Muslim as to be getting drunk all the time, doing cocaine and frequenting strip clubs decided to hijack four airliners and fly them into buildings in the northeastern U.S., the area of the country that is the most thick with fighter bases. After leaving a Koran on a barstool at a strip bar after getting shitfaced drunk on the night before, then writing a suicide note/inspirational letter that sounded like it was written by someone with next to no knowledge of Islam, they went to bed and got up the next morning hung over and carried out their devious plan. Nevermind the fact that of the four "pilots" among them there was not a one that could handle a Cessna or a Piper Cub let alone fly a jumbo jet, and the one assigned the most difficult task of all, Hani Hanjour, was so laughably incompetent that he was the worst fake "pilot" of the bunch. Nevermind the fact that they received very rudimentary flight training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, making them more likely to have been C.I.A. assets than Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. So on to the airports. These "hijackers" somehow managed to board all four airliners with their tickets, yet not even ONE got his name on any of the flight manifests. So they hijack all four airliners and at this time passengers on United 93 start making a bunch of cell phone calls from 35,000 feet in the air to tell people what was going on. Nevermind the fact that cell phones wouldn't work very well above 4,000 feet, and wouldn't work at ALL above 8,000 feet. But the conspiracy theorists won't let that fact get in the way of a good fantasy. That is one of the little things you "aren't supposed to think about". Nevermind that one of the callers called his mom and said his first and last name, more like he was reading from a list than calling his own mom. Anyway, when these airliners each deviated from their flight plan and didn't respond to ground control, NORAD would any other time have followed standard operating procedure (and did NOT have to be told by F.A.A. that there were hijackings because they were watching the same events unfold on their own radar) which means fighter jets would be scrambled from the nearest base where they were available on standby within a few minutes, just like every other time when airliners stray off course. But of course on 9/11 this didn't happen, not even close. Somehow these "hijackers" must have used magical powers to cause NORAD to stand down, as ridiculous as this sounds because total inaction from the most high-tech and professional Air Force in the world would be necessary to carry out their tasks. So on the most important day in its history the Air Force was totally worthless. Then they had to make one of the airliners look like a smaller plane, because unknown to them the Naudet brothers had a videocamera to capture the only known footage of the North Tower crash, and this footage shows something that is not at all like a jumbo jet, but didn't have to bother with the South Tower jet disguising itself because that was the one we were "supposed to see". Anyway, as for the Pentagon they had to have Hani Hanjour fly his airliner like it was a fighter plane, making a high G-force corkscrew turn that no real airliner can do, in making its descent to strike the Pentagon. But these "hijackers" wanted to make sure Rumsfeld survived so they went out of their way to hit the farthest point in the building from where Rumsfeld and the top brass are located. And this worked out rather well for the military personnel in the Pentagon, since the side that was hit was the part that was under renovation at the time with few military personnel present compared to construction workers. Still more fortuitous for the Pentagon, the side that was hit had just before 9/11 been structurally reinforced to prevent a large fire there from spreading elsewhere in the building. Awful nice of them to pick that part to hit, huh? Then the airliner vaporized itself into nothing but tiny unidentifiable pieces no bigger than a fist, unlike the crash of a real airliner when you will be able to see at least some identifiable parts, like crumpled wings, broken tail section etc. Why, Hani Hanjour the terrible pilot flew that airliner so good that even though he hit the Pentagon on the ground floor the engines didn't even drag the ground!! Imagine that!! Though the airliner vaporized itself on impact it only made a tiny 16 foot hole in the building. Amazing. Meanwhile, though the planes hitting the Twin Towers caused fires small enough for the firefighters to be heard on their radios saying "We just need 2 hoses and we can knock this fire down" attesting to the small size of it, somehow they must have used magical powers from beyond the grave to make this morph into a raging inferno capable of making the steel on all forty-seven main support columns (not to mention the over 100 smaller support columns) soften and buckle, then all fail at once. Hmmm. Then still more magic was used to make the building totally defy physics as well as common sense in having the uppermost floors pass through the remainder of the building as quickly, meaning as effortlessly, as falling through air, a feat that without magic could only be done with explosives. Then exactly 30 minutes later the North Tower collapses in precisely the same freefall physics-defying manner. Incredible. Not to mention the fact that both collapsed at a uniform rate too, not slowing down, which also defies physics because as the uppermost floors crash into and through each successive floor beneath them they would shed more and more energy each time, thus slowing itself down. Common sense tells you this is not possible without either the hijackers' magical powers or explosives. To emphasize their telekinetic prowess, later in the day they made a third building, WTC # 7, collapse also at freefall rate though no plane or any major debris hit it. Amazing guys these magical hijackers. But we know it had to be "Muslim hijackers" the conspiracy theorist will tell you because (now don't laugh) one of their passports was "found" a couple days later near Ground Zero, miraculously "surviving" the fire that we were told incinerated planes, passengers and black boxes, and also "survived" the collapse of the building it was in. When common sense tells you if that were true then they should start making buildings and airliners out of heavy paper and plastic so as to be "indestructable" like that magic passport. The hijackers even used their magical powers to bring at least seven of their number back to life, to appear at american embassies outraged at being blamed for 9/11!! BBC reported on that and it is still online. Nevertheless, they also used magical powers to make the american government look like it was covering something up in the aftermath of this, what with the hasty removal of the steel debris and having it driven to ports in trucks with GPS locators on them, to be shipped overseas to China and India to be melted down. When common sense again tells you that this is paradoxical in that if the steel was so unimportant that they didn't bother saving some for analysis but so important as to require GPS locators on the trucks with one driver losing his job because he stopped to get lunch. Hmmmm. Yes, this whole story smacks of the utmost idiocy and fantastical far-fetched lying, but it is amazingly enough what some people believe. Even now, five years later, the provably false fairy tale of the "nineteen hijackers" is heard repeated again and again, and is accepted without question by so many Americans. Which is itself a testament to the innate psychological cowardice of the American sheeple, i mean people, and their abject willingness to believe something, ANYTHING, no matter how ridiculous in order to avoid facing a scary uncomfortable truth. Time to wake up America.

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