Good morning.

It was a bright, sun-splashed morning when our world was rocked by events that changed everything.

Most of us were watching in disbelief as the events unfolded on TV. Our nation was being attacked right before our eyes, and we could do nothing about it.

In the 22 years since September 11, 2001, those of us who remember that singular day have recalled where we were when we heard the first plane had hit. We remember our shock when we saw on TV that a second plane had collided with the World Trade Center. We remember our anger when a third hijacked plane hit The Pentagon in Washington.

And we remember the utter terror when we heard a fourth hijacked plane had gone down, in a field near Shanksville.

It was an emotionally wrenching day. In a matter of hours, our world had turned dark, and we feared the future.

It was a tragic day that most Americans experienced in their homes or workplaces, physically removed from the horror.

But for three members of the IUP alumni family, it was a much different experience.

At 8:46 a.m., when hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the North Tower at an angle that impacted the 93rd to the 99th floors, 50-year-old William David Moskal [Moss-kull], a 1979 IUP graduate and a risk consultant for an insurance broker, was giving a presentation—on the 99th floor.[1]

Four floors above him, 30-year-old William Christopher Sugra [Soo-gruh], a 1993 IUP graduate, was going about his Tuesday morning as a network administrator for Cantor Fitzgerald.[2]  

And two floors above him, another Cantor Fitzgerald employee, 43-year-old Donald William Jones, a 1980 IUP graduate, was hard at work as a bond broker.[3]

As our world watched things unfold, these three IUP alumni were among the thousands experiencing a terror so much worse than what we were seeing on our TVs.

An hour and 42 minutes after it was hit, the 110-story North Tower collapsed –– with William Moskal, Bill Sugra, and Donald Jones inside.

Twenty-two years later, when we reflect on the day’s events and we remember the nearly 3,000[4] innocent people who lost their lives, it’s easy to view them collectively rather than individually.

They were mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers. Some were new to the workforce while others were closing in on retirement. Yet they were all victims on 9/11.

They all had a life story, and it is incumbent upon us to share those stories to keep their memory alive.

When William Moskal was home in the Cleveland suburbs, he always had music playing, anything from opera to jazz. He loved his family, coaching sports, and landscaping his yard. He left behind his wife, Lorraine; his daughter, Jessie; his son, Andy; and two dogs he adored. Last month, he would have turned 72.[5]

Bill Sugra grew up in Allentown, but in 1999 he moved to New York, and he fell in love with the city. He spent every free moment he had exploring the Big Apple, taking in shows and museums, and finding out-of-the-way restaurants to enjoy. He often joked to friends that he lived like a tourist. He died just a few days after his 30th birthday, leaving behind his parents, Bill and Elma, and a sister, Tracy. Today, he would be 52.[6]

Donald Jones was born and raised in eastern Pennsylvania, but he had a lifelong love of the Dallas Cowboys. They were his team, and he followed every game, every year. He also enjoyed going to NASCAR  races: The evening before he died, he was at his parents’ house making plans to go to a race the following weekend in Delaware. He loved to play softball and to coach his daughters’ youth basketball teams. He left behind his wife, Susan, their two daughters, Meg and Jessica, and a dog, Toby. Fifteen days ago, he would have turned 65.[7]

Some of the details of these three men’s lives may seem inconsequential to us now. But to their families, friends, and co-workers, they mean everything. It’s a song on the radio, a Broadway musical, or a football game. It’s through things we see and hear every day that William, Bill, and Donald live on.

Just as we continue to mourn what we lost that day, we also continue to remember and honor the lives that will forever be part of ours. That’s what we are called to do when we reflect on the events of 9/11.

That’s why we have events like this. It’s why we always will.

Thank you.


[1] Johnstown native Moskal was among World Trade Center victims on 9/11, Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, September 10, 2011.

[2] Theta Chi Remembers: Bill Sugra,

[3] Obituary: Donald W. Jones, The Charleston Post and Courier, September 21, 2001

[4] Casualties of the September 11 Attacks,

[5] We Remember and Honor: William Moskal,

[6] Theta Chi Remembers: Bill Sugra,

[7] Obituary: Donald W. Jones, The Charleston Post and Courier, September 21, 2001