Two people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were identified this week by authorities, providing some closure for the victims’ families who had waited nearly two decades for answers.
Dorothy Morgan, of Hempstead, New York, and a man whose name was withheld at the request of his family are the 1,646th and 1,647th people whose remains have been identified through “ongoing DNA analysis,” according to a statement Tuesday from the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
As the world reflects on the somber 20th anniversary Saturday of the terrorist attacks, which killed 2,753 people in New York City, officials say personnel in the medical examiner’s office never stopped working to identify victims since the morning two hijacked airplanes flew into the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
“Twenty years ago, we made a promise to the families of World Trade Center victims to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to identify their loved ones, and with these two new identifications, we continue to fulfill that sacred obligation,” Dr. Barbara A. Sampson, the chief medical examiner, said in the statement.
“No matter how much time passes since September 11, 2001, we will never forget, and we pledge to use all the tools at our disposal to make sure all those who were lost can be reunited with their families,” the statement said.
Authorities have said 2,977 people died in total during the terrorist attacks that day, including those who died on the commercial airplane that crashed into the Pentagon and those killed aboard United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, when passengers fought back against the hijackers.
The identifications of Morgan and the man whose name was not made public are the first new identifications of World Trade Center victims since October 2019, officials said. About 40 percent of victims, or 1,106 people, remain unidentified, authorities said.
Morgan’s remains were recovered in 2001, while the unidentified man’s remains were recovered in 2001, 2002 and 2006, officials said.
NBC New York reported that Morgan was 47. Her daughter, Nykiah Morgan, told the station that Sept. 11 is always a sad and difficult day. She said she chooses to tune the world out as each anniversary passes.
"I close doors, turn off phones, turn off TV, everything,” she said.
Morgan told NBC New York that she accepted that her mother was killed in the terrorist attacks but that part of her wondered.
“Maybe she had amnesia,” she said. “Maybe she’s out living a whole different life and she's happy.”
Finding out her mother was identified was painful.
“It’s like you’re living it all over again,” she said.