Families of Canadian 9/11 Victims Remember Their Lost Loved Ones | The Canadian News

Brennan Basnicki was just 16 years old when she lost her father Ken in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center 20 years ago.

His uncle picked him up from school. His mother, a flight attendant at the time, was in Germany on a layover.

“My dad had called my grandmother and told her he was in the North Tower of the World Trade Center,” he recalled. “He said there was smoke.”

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Forty-eight-year-old Ken Basnicki had just received a promotion and New York City marked his first journey in his new role.

“I think I was a little lost. It was pretty blurry for the next few days, going from my grandmother’s house to our house, until my mom finally came back from Germany. “

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Air travel came to a complete halt on the day of the attacks, leaving her mother temporarily stranded.

Basnicki and his family have been passionate advocates of a National Day of Service, and 10 years ago then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper made it official.

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“My mom’s goal is to put it on the calendar, so the kids know. So each child has to do a community service, ”he added.

“What a great opportunity to do something and take a historically negative day and do something positive with it.”

Stephan Gerhardt lost his younger brother Ralph on the day of the attacks.

The 34-year-old worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, a company that lost 658 employees that day.

“He was starting to think about moving in with his girlfriend, so he wanted to talk to me,” Gerhardt recalls. “And I was getting ready to go to Dallas on a business trip, and I said, ‘Hey, let me call you on Tuesday the 11th. I’m coming home and then we can have a conversation.’

The North Tower was attacked at 8:46 am ET, when American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767, crashed between floors 93 and 99. Ralph was working on the 105th floor.

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“My brother had called my dad and told him that he was fine, that they were looking to get out and that he would be in touch,” Gerhardt said.

Getting to New York City was made more difficult by ground flights. When Stephan arrived in New York, his parents had come from Toronto.

The Ontario Chief Coroner was hired to help identify the Canadian victims. At this point, DNA technology was still relatively new.

“Unfortunately, he was one of many who were never identified. And when you think about how far 9/11 has come in DNA research, “he said. “They haven’t identified everyone’s remains yet, just because nothing was found, nothing to identify.

“To this day, I say ‘Hey, I want to send Ralph this quick email’ or ‘Hey, I want to tell you this funny joke’ and it takes me a second. ‘Yeah, I can’t do that anymore.’

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