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David Tengelin
World Trade Center, New York City, NY
Employer: Marsh and Mclennan Cos. Inc.

Goteborg, Sweden 
Age: 25

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And for that piece of shnnuise I would do about anything! Praying all the time baby girl you can do this!Julie

Patric Tengelin

In loving memory of David Tengelin
(March 18, 1976 - Sept. 11, 2001)

I first had a hunch that something was wrong when stocks across Europe sold off sharply some forty minutes before the opening bell on Wall Street. Reports started pouring in about a plane having collided with the World Trade Center, and my thoughts turned immediately to David, who worked on the 100th floor in one of the towers. As I went to switch on the TV, I kept thinking that it was probably a small propeller plane, and that it, like a sparrow that flies into a window, got squashed and fell helplessly to the ground. I knew that there would be casualties, but I hoped for no more than the unfortunate passengers who were seated in the airplane.

When I saw the first pictures from New York I was absolutely horrified. Black smoke was billowing out of the top twenty floors in what seemed to be with increasing intensity. I just stood there in disbelief, unable to do anything. It was quickly brought home to me that it must have been a much larger aircraft than what I had initially pictured it to be. And then, out of nowhere, comes another commercial airliner and slams into the other tower. I froze and my jaw dropped. I could not believe what I had just witnessed. It was now beyond all doubt that this was an act of terror and I damned the terrorists.

After having watched the clip a couple more times I began pacing back and forth, trying to remember in which of the towers my brother had his office. I clung to the hope that he worked in the second building that was hit. That would have given him fifteen minutes in which to react to the first airplane that hit the other building, run down the stairs and put himself in safety. It was agonizing watching both buildings on fire and not knowing whether David was trapped in the inferno.

I am David’s big brother and as such it is my duty to protect him. I would have done anything to save him, and not think twice about coming to his rescue. Now I could only watch the disaster unfold before my eyes on live television. As the first tower tumbled to the ground, I called my brother’s cell phone. The line was busy! That meant that he may be alive and that gave me a glimmer of hope. I called again. Still busy! He was probably on the phone to let everyone know that he was all right. My heart was racing and I was now more hopeful than disillusioned. I went back to watch the TV just in time to see the second tower fold and crumble. It was surreal. The next time I called, I got his voice mail. Maybe he had been asked to switch off his cell phone if he were in the hospital …

David had wanted to go to America for as long as I can remember. His persistence and ambition took him to New York. Despite the daunting odds, he never gave up. A couple of weeks before tragedy struck, David and his boss flew to Sweden on business. David stayed until September 9, and we were grateful for the precious time we spent together.

Nicknamed "Swede", David came to the U.S. in 1995 to study business at Northern Arizona University. After graduation, he hopped on a Greyhound to New York, with nothing more than dreams of success in the big city. He told me he had never been more scared in his entire life. Below is an excerpt from his journal:

January 4, 1999

"When the bus left Newark on its last leg of the journey, which had taken me across a whole continent in three days, I was beginning to feel nervous. I had not slept many hours during the trip and the last meal I had was in Effingham, Illinois, a whole day earlier. As soon as I set foot in Port Authority I was approached by a homeless person, whom I shoved aside and pretended to be perfectly comfortable in my new surroundings. I called the hostel and after a heated exchange with the person on the other end I had an address to give to the cab driver. I have not taken a cab since, but on that night it was probably a very wise decision. We passed through the theatre district just as the plays and musicals were letting their audiences onto the sidewalks, and where I didn't see people I saw flashing signs and billboards."

"The cab slowed down outside a one-story yellow brick building with a blue door. This was 427 West 12th Street to be sure, but the windows were blacked out as if though they were expecting an air raid and there were no signs of life. As a man who takes precaution I wanted to ask the cab to wait while I checked it out, but I let him go and rung the doorbell. Moments later, I had signed in and was given the tour. As always, I was pleasantly surprised by the hostel and that was a good thing, because I ended up spending five months there. There were three small rooms with three bunk beds in each room and a larger room with many more beds for people who stayed shorter periods of time. The communal areas were in the basement and that is where weary travellers would gather in the evenings in the dark winter months. The place provided a cozy shelter and I enjoyed the company of many of the travellers."

My life has changed in a profound way since September 11. I am no longer dedicating my life to financial markets, but to the people I love, especially my mother and my sister. I am currently studying economics at Greenwich University in London, England. Whenever I need motivating, I recall the last words my brother spoke to me, “Good luck in London, I know you’ll make it.” My brother and I always supported each other in every way possible. Much the same way my sister and I do now, and that I know David and Petra have always done. My mother has always been there for us and done a fantastic job in bringing us up. However, it is only now I realize how much her children mean to her as I see the pain and anguish in her face as she mourns the death of her son.

My brother has been my hero and the greatest source of inspiration ever since he left for America six years ago. He lived a rich life in a minimalist manner. He never complained although he had many worries. Like all of his colleagues, he had big dreams. Like David, most of them lost their lives to terrorism. Some people say that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. However, freedom will never be achieved through means of terror. My brother no longer harbors any worries but his dream still lives on. His dream was to live in a peaceful world without intolerance and wars. My dream is that of my brother’s, but my worries are that we may see a repeat of the atrocities committed on September 11, 2001.

My passion and love for people from other cultures and different religions have not dissipated since September 11. There is fundamentally nothing evil with mankind. However, when political systems fight each other for superiority, innocent people are caught in the line of fire. In a sense, the hijackers of the jetliners were victims of their beliefs, targeted by a manipulative leader, and held hostage by their religious convictions. It is only when we bridge the gap that separates people who have been brought up in different parts of the world, with different values, that understanding and compassion can ultimately pave the way toward peace.

Terrorism must be rooted out. In order to defeat the adversary, our enemy has to be identified. Despite our differences, all people must have an equal say in world affairs. Democracy will only prevail after its opponents have engaged in dialogue. When everyone is incorporated into the global community, we will share common goals and joint responsibilities. That is how human dignity will be upheld and open society safeguarded. We all must be pro-active in preventing the next terrorist attack. I will not let up in the struggle to promote an open, democratic society.

David, I will never forget but always honor you. I will look after mom and Petra like you have always done in the past. If I ever have a son, I will name him David Jr after you.

All my love,
Your brother,
Patric Tengelin