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9/11 Tribute to a Friend, Classmate and Brother: Doug Cherry

Doug Cherry was a friend, classmate and fraternity brother; I became friends with Doug while attending Ohio Wesleyan University during the 1980’s. We lived in the same fraternity house for three years, were both Presidents of Phi Kappa Psi, and had many great times together. One time I’ll always remember was a road trip we took in February of 1984, it was me, Doug, Fred Wynne and Marcy Simon, we all drove in Fred’s SUV, and I think it was a Ford Bronco.

Anyway, we drove from Delaware, Ohio, which is 20 miles north of the state capital of Columbus, the trip lasted about 10 hours, all the way out to Ithaca, New York. Here we visited with friends at both Ithaca College and Cornell University, and that Saturday night, February 4, 1984, we drove over to the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University to see The Police in concert, it was one of their last concerts of their Synchronicity Tour, it would be the last concert tour for the Police, aside from their reunion tour from a couple years ago.

At The Police Concert, I forget who got the tickets, but our seats could not have been higher or further away from the stage, yep, they were “Bob Uecker” seats, literally, last row, top of dome, didn’t matter, we couldn’t have had a better time!

Doug grew up in Cincinnati, OH, was a huge Cincinnati Bengal’s fan, he had a quick wit, the best sense of humor, an infectious laugh, he was an extremely sharp guy, he couldn’t have been a better friend, simply awesome. Doug’s senior year at OWU, he was elected President of our fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, I was proud to be his Vice President. During the spring of Doug’s senior year, his term came to an end; I was then elected as Doug’s successor, and proudly served as President the remainder of my junior year into the following year, my senior year.

Doug became a successful businessman, married a beautiful woman, Sarah Patterson, they met at Ohio Wesleyan. Doug and Sarah Cherry would bring into this world three adorable children, two girls and a boy, Emma, Isabel and Jack.

On September 11, 2001, Doug was killed when terrorists launched their
suicide attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Doug was in the South Tower on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center, it was the second tower that was hit, and the first tower to collapse. Doug was only 38 when he died, he spoke to his wife Sarah after the first tower was hit to let her know that he was alright, and that he loved her and their children, he said he was leaving his office and the building, but then United Flight 175 hit his building just after 9:00 am, trapping Doug, as well as hundreds of other innocent people.

I found out about Doug’s death a day after that tragic day, but never knew that there was an emergency dispatcher’s telephone recording from Doug’s company, Aon, until a few years later. The call was made from the cell phone from one of Doug’s co-workers by the name of Kevin Cosgrove. This recording was played during the trial of terrorist Zacarias Moussaui. On the recording, as the emergency dispatcher asks who he is with, Kevin Cosgrove replies “Cherry. Doug Cherry. Doug Cherry’s next to me.” Doug was with Kevin Cosgove in the office of John Ostaru, who also worked with Doug, on the northwest corner of the 105th floor of Tower 2.

I listened to the recording and I have to tell you that it was one of the most horrific things that I have ever listened to, I was literally sick to my stomach listening to this phone call; I can hear Doug’s voice in the background during the call. The recording is about 5 minutes long and it cuts off as the tower collapses at 10:05 am, the last words that you hear are Kevin Cosgrove saying “Oh, God!! Oh…” as you hear the building collapse. Doug Cherry was one of over 3000 people who were killed that day on Tuesday morning, September 11tth, 2001.

All of these innocent victims were taken from their families and friends way before their time by an act of cowardly terrorism on defenseless civilians. Those killed were innocent men, women and children of all faiths, races and backgrounds, including the handicapped. The 19 terrorists were all cowards, and know that they along with the others who contributed and assisted in this senseless act, including Bin Laden, will pay for their actions, it will be justice of the highest order, and not of which this world could ever know or even comprehend.

“Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord.” Romans 12:19

Please continue to pray for the souls of Doug Cherry, Kevin Cosgrove, Ted Luckett, their families, as well as all of the other victims and their families.

“Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

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