#2431 | Thursday, September 12th 2002
Thoughts about Barbara Keating, who was on American Airlines Flight 11
His thoughts turn to friend lost year ago

By HARRY F. THEMAL
The News Journal, Wilmington, Delaware
09/09/2002

At 8:46 Wednesday morning, I will join many other Americans observing a long moment of silence to mark the anniversary of the deaths of nearly 3,000 innocent victims of foreign terrorism.

My primary thoughts will be of Barbara Keating, a friend to my wife Betty Ann and me, who was one of the first to die that day. She was a passenger on the first jet to crash into the World Trade Tower in New York City. It is impossible for us to imagine what it must have been like on American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston to Los Angeles, as the murderers took over that plane.

We got to know Barbara more than 50 years ago when she worked alongside Betty Ann as a medical technologist in the Memorial Hospital, a facility long since gone from Lovering Avenue and Van Buren Street in Wilmington. She was then Barbara Kinsey, a south Jersey gal and a histologist in the hospital lab. We attended her wedding to Bill Keating, visited them and their eventual five children at their home in Framingham, Mass., and kept in touch through the years.

We shared another common interest besides our children. We loved Cape Cod, where we used to summer and where Barbara settled after the death of her husband in 1983.

She eventually began to feel isolated there, particularly in the winter. She fell in love with Palm Springs, Calif., after a 1996 visit. So she bought a condo there in Canyon Springs as her new home and sold her place on the Cape. She continued to summer in a rental at the Cape but decided that 2001 would be the last time. Barbara was on her way home to California on Sept. 11 when she took Flight 11 out of Logan Airport.

Her last summer

A friend who took her to the airport said she brought a photo album chronicling her summer to share during planned visits to her four sons, her daughter and 13 grandchildren around the country.

Barbara Keating was family-minded and civic-minded, as one of her sons summed up in one of the many Internet postings and newspaper articles that were filled with love and sorrow following her death. Another son described her as "smart, tough, professional and funny, someone you would not talk back to."

For 10 years she was executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Middlesex, outside Boston. Upon her 1991 retirement, the Massachusetts Senate honored her. She had served as the regional representative for all of New England at national meetings, including one in Philadelphia. That was where we last saw her. An official of the organization said after her death, "She was very passionate about our role of trying to provide a missing link in kids' lives."

After she moved to California, she attended Mass daily at St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Palm Springs, where she served as receptionist and did other volunteer work. A two-time survivor of breast cancer, she drove women to cancer treatments in her red Sebring convertible.

On Wednesday morning, a tree will be planted in her memory at the development where she lived. Her church will have a service in her memory and that of the other victims. Palm Springs also will have a community-wide observance.

Perhaps the ultimate tragedy of this wonderful woman's death was described in a letter we received from her daughter, Pat. "Ironically, her next planned adventure, a trip to the Holy Land, was cancelled earlier [in July] for fear of terrorism."

Harry F. Themal has been writing for The News Journal since 1959.


harry themal | 72 | Delaware

#1539 | Tuesday, August 13th 2002
Where was I on 9/11? I was in school. Things started to get A little wierd when the teachers were not talking much and seemed upset at something. We didn't think much of it at the time , but at about 11:45 we were told that we were leaving early because of a national emergency but no one would say why. I still do not understand why they didn't tell us anything ; just because we are 13 dose not mean we don't need to what is going on. We eventually found out found ouy from a girl who talked to her mom on the phone. When we got on the bus to go home no one talked and we all just listened to the radio. I think speechless is the only word I can use to describe just how I felt at that time. When I got home my dad had told me some rather upseting news that my aunt , uncle , and cousin were on a flight that same day and had not heard from them. ( It turned out that they were fine and in Florida) We had the T.V on for like 5 days straight after that. We just did not know what to expect because we were right between New York and D.C (Delaware). Things were eerie for a while but slowly have gotten back to normal just like the rest of America.
Lindsay Ludden | 13 | Delaware

#1184 | Monday, April 15th 2002
I was in drivers ed when another teacher came in and told us that the pentagon had been hit. We turned on the TV and sat in complete silence until we were let out about an hour later.
AC | 16 | Delaware

#786 | Saturday, February 23rd 2002
I was walking down the hall from my science class to my english class and the history teacher that was across the hall from my english class was in the hall telling all the teachers to turn their TV's on. When english class started we were watching the TV, and i was thinking "Someone was just flying around and accedentally hit the building," thinking that the plane was the size of a small 2 man plane, and i thought that they would just put out the fire and everything would be alright. Then when i saw the second plane hit i immedetely thought two things. Terrorist and Osama. We watched it for about 10 more minutes, but then my teacher turned the TV off because his son was in the navy and didn't want him to goto war. So we did some work but then the history teacher came bursting through the door and said "Are you watching?! The Pentagons been hit!" So then the teacher turned on the TV and we watched it for the rest of the period. During this time i was thinking about war and thoughts were just swirling through my head. Then at the end of the period, we had homeroom (homeroom is between periods 3 and 4, don't ask me why my schools just runs that way) and we have a private channel that runs throught the school and airs a program called "The Bee Line" and it has all the morning anouncements. So when i went into my homeroom I went up and turned the TV, and a girl was like "Ooooh turn on BET before the Bee Line starts!", but i put on CNN and I said to her "Did you hear the news?" She hadn't so I explained what had happened in New York and Washington. Well, absolutely noone in the school watched the Bee Line that day, and we all had the news on. Then the principle came on the intercom to tell us waht happened and noone listened to her. We were all glued to the TV. Then at the end of homeroom we all went to fourth period. I have that history teacher i mentioned earlier for 4th period. So we watched the news all period and in about the middle of the period the south tower collapsed, and then at the end of the period the north tower collapsed. Someone inbetween all the madness we heard about the plane crashing in PA and i started to wonder how many planes were going to be brought down, and if their goal was to crash every plane in the country. When the bell rang for the end of the period it was errie in the hallway because some people's parents and relatives work in the pentagon and WTC. 5th period i had gym and unfortuatly there was no TV in the gym so we had to get changed and go outside and play soccar. Halfway through the period a custodian comes outside and tells us to all go back inside and change- we were going home early. The school district ordered an early dismissal. I drove home with my sister and we immedeatly drove to my moms school to tell her we had gotten out early, and a teacher told us that her school was getting out too. So we went home and watched the TV and ate our lunch. I wanted to go get on the computer and talk to my friends, but my sister wouldn't let me because she thought if the power plant was destroyed our computer might get hit with a power surge and go poof. So for the rest of the day we sat around watching the TV. My dad even got out of work early. Finnally at about 7 at night i was finnally allowed to get online, and my friends and I had a bit debate on wheather we would have school tommorow, but at about 8 PM we heard that the superintenant said that our disctict will be having school tommorow. And taht was how September 11th played out for me.
Ted Prettyman | 14 | Delaware

#495 | Tuesday, December 18th 2001
I was at work when I found out about the WTC's. The director came back to my room and told me that a lot of the kids were going to be picked up soon because of terrorists running their planes into the World Trade Centers. I wasn't scared for myself really, more for the kids because I knew that I couldn't protect them from terrorists. I ended up leaving early because all the kids were gone, so I went to my boyfriend's house to watch the news. The reality hadn't really hit me until then. I sat there and watched the news, tears streaming down my face...I was just thinking about all those people that died, all the people that were trapped, families losing innocent loved ones, and crying because one of my good friends lives in NY. (about 2 miles from the WTC's) I called her the next day, and she was ok, but the reality of all those other people that died still upset me a great deal. God Bless everyone that lost a loved one, everyone who died, everyone who survived, and everyone who helped.
Allison | 19 | Delaware

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