Kathleen Anne “Kit” Faragher, Missing Since 9/11, Commemorated With a White Rose
MONTROSE — Remnants, sights, sounds and remains from the worst attack in American history were on public display this week as the new 9/11 museum held its somber opening in New York. Family members of the victims were allowed access to the site last week, ahead of the public, and one local family had relatives there to soak it all in.
Montrose physician Bill Faragher lost his 33-year-old sister Kathleen, known as Kit, on September 11, 2001. Kit was attending a computer programming class for the Janus Funds on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower as American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the building.
Faragher’s niece, Taylor Halagan, represented the family at the museum’s opening and found the displays and voice recordings of those trapped inside the WTC during the attacks “very overwhelming.”
“It’s like walking into the day it happened,” Halagan said.
Halagan placed a white rose by the name of Kathleen Anne Faragher, which is inscribed on the marble walls of the north tower’s reflecting pool.
The museum officially opened May 21. Halagan described mangled fire and police trucks inside the building along with knocked-out windows from the aircraft and many interactive displays.
It was Halagan’s third visit to the site. Her first was a year after the attacks, in 2002. Her second visit was in 2011, for the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, where she represented the Faragher in a recitation of names of the dead.
Halagan, who is 25, vividly remembers her aunt as a great person who was always happy and loved others.
“We were pretty close,” she said.
A poster identifying Kit as missing is part of a display in the museum, and still bears the tape that was used to hang it from a telephone pole, Halagan said. She described the way the roaring water from the reflection pools drowned out the sounds of the city.
“It’s a peaceful place,” she said.
The death toll from the attacks stands at 2,753. Of that number, 1,115 victims have not yet been identified through DNA matches from items provided by their families.
Kit was never found and is still listed as missing.
The museum’s opening has drawn criticism from families, as the remains from those still unidentified are to be housed in the subterranean museum. Two weeks ago, 7,930 vacuum-sealed plastic pouches filled with bits of bone were moved from the NYC’s medical examiner’s office to the new WTC site in a solemn procession.
They will be kept in a bedrock repository 70 feet underground in the new museum, accessible only to family members and scientists still working on identification. Last year, four new identifications were made. Some family members have said the remains should not be housed underground, but laid to rest somewhere else.
Other family members support the move, saying the repository is a fitting site for the remains. Halagan is one of them; she said she was able to see the room where the remains where kept, and that family members were allowed to linger there as long as possible.
Kit’s brother, Bill, agrees housing the remains at the WTC site is fitting, since it is now is a memorial museum.
“I’m at peace not knowing,” he said of the scientific testing still going on. “I know 100 percent she was there. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. From a science background, I really don’t need that confirmation – I don’t know if it will make me feel any better or sleep any better at night. It would have been better to know earlier after the attacks, but the years keep passing by. But I can see where family members would need that.”
“I think that’s great” for the scientists to keep attempting to identify victims,” Halagan said. “Kit always wanted to be cremated, so we feel she is at peace, but if they did find her we could give her a proper funeral.”
Faragher said the mission of the museum is to serve the greater good and forever educate people about the tragedy.
“It’s about education – to get more people to appreciate each other more. Hopefully it will foster a better future for us,” he said.
In the meantime, Kit’s family will keep her mantra of “Live, Love, Laugh” alive by helping Colorado high school graduates better themselves by means of higher education through the Kathleen “Kit” Faragher foundation.
Bill said through the generous support of the City of Montrose, the foundation will expand its scholarship program from two to three awards this year.
The foundation is in its 11th year; its annual fundraiser will be held this September. For more information, visit kitfaragherfoundation.org.