Saturday will mark the ninth anniversary of 9/11. OOIDA Member Luis Espinoza will be at planned ceremonies at Ground Zero to remember his wife, Fanny, who died when the World Trade Center collapsed.
He told Land Line on Friday, Sept. 10, that he and his son, Christian, now 20, and daughter, Stephanie, 19, arrived late yesterday from their home in Windermere, FL. The Espinozas moved there from New Jersey because the memories were “too hard” and they needed to make a new start.
Espinoza said Fanny’s loss has affected each family member differently.
“I am trying to go ahead with my life for the kids and everything, but it’s hard. We have all been up and down,” he said. “Every year it’s hard. The one thing I know is that you can’t forget 9/11.”
He said Christian didn’t start struggling with his mother’s loss until his teen years.
“That was a tough time, but now something’s changed in him and he’s put his head together,” Espinoza said. “Now, he says he don’t want to mess up because his mother’s not going to appreciate that.”
For daughter Stephanie, he said there was almost an immediate change in her after hearing about her mother’s loss. He said she’s currently in a special education program near their home in Florida.
“She went from being fine when her mother was here, but when that happened her mind just went blank because she couldn’t take the pain,” he said.
At the time of the WTC collapse, Luis and Fanny Espinoza had just bought a truck and were planning to get their own authority. On that Tuesday morning she had taken the paperwork sent to her by OOIDA to work with her at Cantor Fitzgerald, located on the 104th floor of Tower One. The company, which had offices in both buildings, lost many employees that day.
Land Line spoke with Espinoza not long after the tragedy. He said Fanny had called him saying, “Luis, something just hit our building and the room is filled with smoke, but don’t worry, honey, I’m leaving. I’m coming home right now.”
He went to the bus stop where Fanny usually got off and waited, but she never came home. He told Land Line he went to pier 94 every day until there was no hope.
Recently, he has started his trucking company again and has restarted his business, New Jersey Freight Systems Inc.,” which he and Fanny started up nine years ago.
“Christian helps me with business now,” he said. “The kids are excited the business is alive again because that was something ‘you and mom’ created.”
About three years ago, Luis remarried and has a son, Louie, who is 3.
“This has been hard for us, but I try to keep going ahead and survive.”
– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer
Sandi Soendker and Land Line staff contributed to this report