In wake of bin Laden's death, Matt Jarret remembers Sept. 11

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Wed., May. 4, 2011
Matt Jarret with his daughters Ava, 4, and Camille, 3, at Owen Bell Park on May 2. Photo by D. Coffey.
Matt Jarret with his daughters Ava, 4, and Camille, 3, at Owen Bell Park on May 2. Photo by D. Coffey.

Matt Jarret was at the Owen Bell Park playground in Killingly on May 2. He watched, while his two daughters played on the swings. With the news of Osama bin Laden's death echoing across every radio station and television broadcast, Jarret remembered when he first heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. His sister Amy was a flight attendant on United 175, and she perished along with all the passengers and crew in the tragedy. Jarret was playing hockey in Oslo, Norway, that day.

“It was the first few days of practice, and I didn't know a lot of the guys,” Jarret said. “We had a TV room in the locker room. I walked by and a guy said, 'Hey, it looks like a plane hit the World Trade Center,' and I poked my head in. I thought it was just a small plane at first.”

Jarret had e-mailed his sister Amy the night before. She told him that she was flying to L.A. and then to Chicago the next day. When he saw news reports of the plane crashes, he had an inkling that something was wrong.

When he called his father's law office in Smithfield, R.I., the secretary answered. She didn't know where his father was. That was when he started calling around.

“There was another American on the team, and he told me not to skate, which was probably a good idea,” Jarret said.

The two went looking for their friends, who were skating on different teams.

“The more I found out, it was more of an American experience,” Jarret said. “So I wanted to be close to those guys. On the way to see them, my brother-in-law called and told me what had happened.”

“I was devastated,” Jarret said.

The FBI gave the families of the victims a chance to learn what happened on the plane before it became public.

“Luckily, we found out that nothing bad really happened to her - on the plane,” he said. “It was interesting to find out what happened that day, but it was good. I wanted to know.”

“They never found anything from my sister,” he said. "So it's sad. She was never buried. There is a spot, but she's not there. You kind of talk to it, and there's nothing there.” Amy's memorial, with her picture on it, was given by a family friend. It stands in Smithfield, R.I.

“She had a good life,” Jarret said. “She was a flight attendant. She loved it. She went to Villanova University. She traveled the world. We always laughed at her because she was 110 pounds and we were like, 'If your plane goes in the ocean, who are you dragging?'”

Jarret's daughter Camille came over to the bench where he sat. She wanted a snack from the car and she wanted her father to get it for her.

“We're almost ready to go,” he said to her. She ran back to play with her older sister, Ava. "Sometimes they send balloons up to their auntie Amy," Jarret said, "but they are too young to understand what happened nearly 10 years ago."

“I'm glad I'm just here with them,” he said. “Because last night all those memories crept right back into my body. It took me a long time to feel normal again. And last night I was just sad and happy at the same time.”

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