2006 Messages Posted by Kelly December 2006:
You know that you are in our thoughts and prayers always, and I know how difficult the holidays must be for you. You've come to matter a great deal to the children and I, and I want you to hold fast to the thought that a little family in Texas is hugging you close to their hearts.
Your friendship this year has been our special blessing and I want you to know how much you mean to us. I understand the ache you feel always, and so poignantly, and pray that you find some joy in the moments of the holidays. I believe that Ann watches and listens to you - well, I simply believe.
With all the love in our hearts we can send to you -
Kelly & kids
Places I blog....
Posted by Mary November 2006:
I was a CEO for 20 years at The World Trade Center, Tower 1, on the 55th floor, 1981-2001.
As a Carleton graduate of 1975, I already know what Ann was made of, a heart for the world and the eyes to see it - although I did not know her.
How much the world needs more like Ann to make us see each other.
Having launched and developed food projects from the World Trade Center into Saudi Arabia www.almarai.com and now directing medical investments into this vestigial remains of the oldest part of western civilization, the bread basket of Mesapotamia, I can only pray that we carry out our lives as Ann clearly and brightly as she did.
What light in her eyes in her photo in the Carleton Voice! She could be my sister; no, no: she IS my sister.
Give Thanks. Take Care.
Mary A. M. Puff
Posted by Dawn November 2006:
It's been five of the longest years of my life. Until the age of we both held out hope that our Birthday wishes of a sister would come true. We had to wait for a while, but on May 29, 1993, our wishes came true when I married your big brother Scott. The way I figure the wait was so long, I ended up with the best one possible! Sweet kind, considerate and the funniest person to be around.
Today our little Brittany turned 17 and oh Annie I wish you could be hear to see her. She reminds me so much of you in word thought and deed.You worried once that you felt our children loved you more than their parents because you could sweep in, give them all kinds of attention. spoil them rotten and then leave. The truth was that yes, you were loved just as much if not more for the simple reason of who you were and what you stood for.......just a whole lot of unconditional love...plain and simple. I felt it an honor that our children were also your children, unconditionally and with absolutely no strings attached. Thank you for being the greatest sister one could ever ask for and for being the best "Other Mother" ever created for those 5 spectacular children. You are in our hearts and in our minds continually.....So Ann....until we meet again , All our Love until Eternity
Posted by Lulu October 2006:
I'm from Australia and have just read Ann's List in a magazine a work mate bought back from a US holiday. Thankyou so much for this reminder to live, love and enjoy while we are lucky enough to be still able to. I just hope all Ann's family and friends are now able to remember her with a smile as well as a tear.
Posted by Shanna October 2006:
I read the article on Ann in cosmo. I am too from North Dakota and no longer live there. I was born in Williston which isn't to far from Stanley. I am inspired by her story. Being from ND I know what a change it must have been from ND to the big city of New York. One of my goals is also to buy a house in North Dakota some day as well. I hope knowing that Ann's story has been inspiration to many people it gives her family comfort, and also knowing her memory will live on in those she inspired.
Posted by Drew October 2006:
Hi! This is Drew. I can see from one of Ann's pictures that she played music. Maybe she plays with me from Heaven as I play on Earth.
Posted by Anne October 2006:
Thank you for writing the article "Ann's List" and sharing your love and heartache with the readers. Your daughter was so bright and unique.
I hope that you will be able to have the courage to write your own list of TOP100 things that you need to do.
Posted by Anonymous October 2006:
I've spent some time thinking about Ann and her family. Ann's story is one of thousands, and yet, it's not. I know of Ann only through the stories. Through the words of her mother. I have been touched and inspired by Ann.Somehow, I hope that you'll pass this on to her mother, so that her mother may know how touching her words, her life, her moments that she's shared with the world, have been to me.
I recently wrote about Ann in my blog.
Posted by Teresa September 2006:
I read the heartwarming story, Ann’s List. I got into the website mentioned in Family Room. I just want to commend you on the website, as a beautiful tribute to a young lady who must have been amazing! I can only imagine your grief! My prayers are with your family!
God bless you,
Posted by Nita September 2006:
My Red White and Blue Heart Tells Me
I don't know if you would want to put this on your Site about your daughter, but I wrote this in July, 2002. I remember where I was on 9/11/01; I had just started a new job and we didn't have TV in our office, but we all had radios.
I began to cry for all those poor people and couldn't stop. My supervisor offered to let me go home, but I knew it would be worse there, all alone. I still don't know how myself and all my co-workers got through that day.
Back in 1959-1960 I lived in Teheran, Iran for 18 months. The Iranians didn't like the US (government) even back then. They didn't like England either, BUT they respected England---when they saw Americans or our flag, all they saw was BIG $$$$ signs1
But most of the people liked US citizens and I had many friends. Now, I often wonder what happened to my friends and their families.
I loved your poems and your tribute to your daughter. Your family was very, very lucky to have such a wonderful daughter. And, you still have her, in a way.
I have one daughter and five sons. My daughter is 42 now and hasn't spoken to me or seen me in 5 years AND I DON'T KNOW WHY!! Your family had a wonderful relationship with your daughter---sorry, but I envy you! Your daughter's love and wonderful memories live in your heart. It's as if I never had a daughter!
God bless you, your family and all who knew and loved your wonderful Annie,
Nita --- A Stranger
My Red White And Blue Heart
I wrote this on July 4th, 2002.
Since I wrote it, I have noticed that all the "proud" terrorists that march, kill, send horrible, ugly messages or pictures are ALL covering their faces. If they are so proud of what they are doing, why not show their faces?
What do you think---Are terrorists cowardly or not? Why hide their faces? If there is honor in committing their "brave" acts against people that are tied up and fearing for their lives while the terrorists hide their faces?
U.S. stands for US---We, the American People, and no matter how many buildings, landmarks or symbols of our country, regardless of how much they mean to US, are brought down, we will always stand tall and proud.
We love Peace and Freedom! We want Peace and Freedom! For over two centuries our people have fought and died, here on our own soil and all over the world, for Peace and Freedom!
Peace, Justice and the Free Will to say and do what is right for each individual, as long as we harm no other living soul---these are the things we love, cherish, fight and, when necessary, die for. Our way of life---our Peace and Freedom---are what some of the people in the world envy and want to destroy. And, it's just our way of life that makes it possible for them to take advantage of US. It's what makes it so easy for them to commit their cowardly acts on our country and our people.
The government of the U.S. even makes it possible for the cowards and illegal aliens in this country to have "rights". We give them the Freedom and Free Will to move about and say things about our country and government that they would be killed for if the criticized their own governments. Even citizens of the U.S. do and say things about their own country that should and would be considered "treason" if it were not for the Constitution of the United States. They abuse their rights as citizens!
"Love It or Leave It" should be enforced in this country. If you don't like it and won't try to make it better the legal way, then leave. But, those people that criticize our way of life won't ever leave because they are not stupid---they know they will never have it as good anywhere else and could never get away with what they get away with here if they lived in a foreign country. Going to jail, or being shot or hung is not what they want!
It's not just for ourselves and our citizens that we want Freedom and Free Will---it's for people everywhere---whether they know the meaning of Freedom or not. Whether they have ever experienced Freedom or have just read about it; whether it's a right that has been taken away from them and they just remember in dreams---Under God, whatever God they may worship, it is each of our Right as Human Beings and members of the world-wide Society of Humanity.
Our youngest, brightest, bravest and most dedicated people, hero's all have fought and died for these rights for all people all over the world, whether they appreciate it or not.
Sometimes these hero's have been ridiculed, spat at, tortured and killed for what they have fought for---and not always just by our enemies. Sometimes some of US, the ones they fight to protect, have inflicted some of the worst pain, not just by their actions and words, but just because they ARE US!!
Now, with September 11, 2001, in the past and a sad, honored memory, a Touchstone for our Freedom, Liberty and Way of Life and a re-awakening of our national pride, we have discovered that heroes are not just members of our Armed Forces that have protected, fought and died for all of us over the last 227 years. Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, colors, nationalities, sex, way of life and way of dressing! We have discovered that, in certain circumstances, we all are heroes!
Some are "closet heroes"---doing wonderful, kind, brave things and expecting and wanting no manner of recognition, praise or reward. "Doing a job" is reward enough! Being in the right place at the right time and doing "the right thing" is what people do and would expect others to do if the situation were reversed.
Being "brave" is not being without fear. Being brave is having the good sense to have fear and doing what needs to be done in spite of it.
We are US, Citizens of the United States of America and we are not stupid enough to be without fear of the lower forms of life called "terrorists". However, the terrorists are the cowards--they are the ones that chose the coward's way out by killing themselves. And they are the biggest cowards because they are afraid to go alone---they must take innocent people with them!
I've been told they think they will go to Nirvana (their version of heaven) because they have killed their enemies. More fools they! All that awaits them is a Hell of their own making---no good comes to anyone that harms another. Their own souls, and yes, Virginia, they do have souls although you wouldn't think it by the awful things they do. Their own souls enforce the justice each of us knows deep within us; the justice we cannot escape no matter what; that justice is what awaits them. No wonderful places with unlimited pleasure, no matter what they regard as "pleasure"---just justice for taking another human life. And it will be bitter, painful and completely justified!
It takes courage, and bravery to live and try to right the things each of us may think is wrong. And to do it without doing anyone harm.
The fact that we may all "fear" the unknown; what or who will be the next target? Will a loved one or I be there and lose more of our peace of mind, our freedom, our lives? No one knows. All we can do is pray, put our faith in our leaders---such as they are, our police, our firemen, and whatever God we pray to---and "KEEP LIVING OUR LIVES AS THE BRAVE, COMMITTED PEOPLE OF THE U.S.---US!!! We are Americans and everytime we fly, shop, go to a movie, restaurant, concert, take a train, bus or plane, go to church or visit another part of our own great country or another country---EVERYTIME we do any or all of these things, we tell the cowardly terrorists that they are not worth the dirt we walk on, the dirt that makes up the land we live, love, laugh and pray on! They are "dust" and they will be dust under the feet of thousands of our children and grandchildren who will STILL be US and living in Freedom, Peace and still singing "God Bless America"!!!
Posted by Vasu September 2006:
Ann Nicole List
I had a surprising connection with Ann Nicole today September 19th 2006.
I was planting blueberry plants in my garden. I kept on thinking about Ann Nicole. I never watch news. With 3 small boys I watch only Nicklodeon at home. I was wondering why I am thinking about Ann Nicole. I have clairvoyance and usually I pay attention to new messages. So I went and looked on internet for news for Ann Nicole (Smith) assuming this is the girl who is the celebrity who had a tragedy in her family recently.
I was touched to come across Ann Nicole Nelson and her list.
I decided to honor her memories by planting one blue berry plant for each of her wish so I have made so far 35 plants with her wishes on a sticky note. I will upgrade with to weather proof paper.
I will send some pictures of these plants later.
Best wishes and pass this message to her family members.
____________________________________________________Posted by Gary September 2006:
I just finished reading Annie's story, written by her mom, in Guideposts. That article, which had me in tears, lead me to her website, where I spent time reading almost everything there: poems, speeches, musings. I loved Eric's story of the turkey and could just envision being there. Thank you to all who knew her, for your loss, for your love of her, for keeping her memory alive. She truly was an amazing and accomplished woman. Of course I didn't know her, but this website put a face and a life to one of those thousands of people who parished that horrible day. I was one of the fortunate ones who didn't lose someone that I personanlly knew. But I will never forget and now I feel I at least know someone that I cam remember and memorialize each year.
Thank you all, God Bless
Link to the Guideposts article (external site)
Posted bySarah September 2006:
I am in the Tenth grade and recently my teacher found Ann's list online after seeing it on the Ellen show. My teacher found this amazing and wanted to share it with my writing class, when I read this list I was awestruck that someone could have so many life goals. My class had to write our own lists and I would just like to say thank you for sharing this and inspiring me, and many other people I'm sure, to write lists of our own. Without this I wouldn't be inspired at all. Thank you so much and I know how saying "I'm sorry" doesn't help but I am, I really am sorry, she must have been an amazing person.SARAH
Posted by Ken September 2006:
On this fifth year reflection of that awful day, I thought it was time to add an entry. Although a first cousin of your father, it was a couple of years after the fact that I learned you were among the victims in the WTC. Looks like we need to do more than send out Christmas letters.
Read the NYTimes story and was back on the web site when I saw your folks were going to be on Ellen. Glad I recorded to watch later. The show needed a great deal more of your family's story and a great deal less of Jessica Simpson! To read the entries on this message board is moving and the impact that you are continuing to have is remarkable. How great is it that someone searched out your flag at a memorial?
We must never forget that day. Your life was over too soon.
Healing Fields Kim & Joyce September 2006
Posted by Anonymous September 2006:
I just read Ann's list and am inspired. Thank you for sharing, she was a truly magnificient person.
Posted by Andrew September 2006:
Mr. and Mrs. Nelson,
My name is Andrew Lillos and I am writing you from Canada. I saw the story on Annie today on the Ellen show and would first like to say how truly sorry I am for your loss. I found great strength in listening to you talk about your daughter and her list today. I went online and read through her list and found it to be truly amazing. the two below really hit home,
11. never be ashamed of who I am
12. be a person to be proud of
The list shows what an amazing person your daughter was. I wish everyone could see the list and realize how strong these words are. I have two young daughters and I plan to read them the list. I want them to hear all the amazing things your daughter thought of and how strong of a woman she was.
I am sure people will read this list and feel inspiration. I wish you and your family all the best and thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this wonderful list with all of us.
Regards, Andrew Lillos
Posted by Kelly September 2006:
I am watching Ellen right now in Atlanta, Georgia and I have always written stuff down and crossed them off and it feels so good. Nine years ago when we bought our home, I wrote a list of things that I wanted to change and/or add to our home and finally the list is almost all crossed off. It's funny how I forgot that I showed my cousin the list and the other week when she was over, she laughed and said, "Man, you have done everything to your home that was on that list you wrote when you first moved in more than nine years ago."
I had forgotten that I showed her because I was kinda ashamed to show people. Our home was built from the ground up, so why in the world would someone want to change or add to a brand new house? I was kinda living in a dream world and I wanted a mini mansion and I finally have exactly what I always dreamed of at a fraction of the price.
Ann's life list has truly inspired me to create a list like hers just for ME!!"
Thanks for having such a great person in your life for as long as GOD allowed her to be here.
Posted by Aditi September 2006:
You don't know me but from what I know about you I'd say you are a person who loved meeting new people, so add another name to that list - me, a new person and a possible friend.
Annie, I hope you know what you have meant to people who love you and think about you often, but also how much you have the admiration of people you never met. We all like to think that we shall be remembered and not merely recalled after leaving this world. But we forget that in order for that to happen we need to leave behind something worth remembering, worth celebrating. And you did that.
Your life list has travelled the world and inspired others to live the life they were meant to live, that they dreamed of living. I know you have done that for me. And I will carry you and your lesson in my heart not just today, but everyday. You will live on because everywhere people who worked out a life list after reading yours will take you with them as they go about fulfilling theirs.
Your journey has not ended because you are no longer here in person, it begins everytime someone reads your story and sits down to write their own.
All my love now and always
P.S.: My thoughts and prayers will be with you, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson, today and for all the days to follow.
Posted by Kyla September 2006:
A Heartfelt Thank You
Hello my name is Kyla and I am from a small town in Illinois.
I just watched the Ellen Show and heard your daughter's story. I instantly ran into the other room and found the Cosmopolitan Magazine to read the story there. I just wanted to tell you that the story is absolutley beautiful!
What a beautiful woman Ann was - on the inside and the out! Her life list is an inspiration to me. I have been going through some rough times in my life lately - the loss of my beloved grandfather, a break up, and falling out with some dear friends have really made me qestion if I am doing the right things in life. I am just starting college and I have a birthday coming up and I feel that this time in my life is good for me to make some changes.
The list that Ann made has many goals that I too would like to reach in my life. I wrote my list today and I can't wait to begin.
Please know that you are changing lives! and please continue to share Ann's beautiful story!
THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing your story!
GOD BLESS you forever and always...and may he be with you and give you peace!
Thanks so much again!
Posted by Anonymous September 2006: Still Thinking About Ann
Ever since I read the Guideposts article a few weeks ago and posted messages, I have browsed the memorial website pretty thoroughly. I have often wondered who are these people that can travel the world, work in NYC, and follow their dreams so FEARLESSLY?
They are truly a unique breed, for many of us would never venture out of our secure corner of the world or the calm habits of every day life as we know it. It has been amazing to read of Ann's many accomplishments and strengths. I join with you all in remembering her on this five-year anniversary. May God continue to strengthen and bring comfort to you all. You were blessed to have been a part of this angel's world.
Posted by September 2006:
Hi, just last night on the 10th of September, I sat down and read Ann's story in the September issue of Guideposts. I read this as my only child, a daughter now three, sat and played at my feet, even though I had asked her for a few quiet moments alone to read. As much as the story saddened me, the thought of Ann making the list uplifted me and I felt drawn to let you know how deeply the story affected me. I saw my daughter in a new light, as a precious gift I do not know how long I will have with me or what the future may hold. I know I need to savor each moment and work on making my own list. Thank you for sharing your story.
Julie Davia (Flossmoor, Ilinois)
Link to CBS News Story: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/09/09/eveningnews/main1990150.shtml
Posted by John September 2006:
With man, God said His Spirit
would not forever strive,
And I cannot say I blame Him.
Oh, if you only knew the God we have,
You'd, more than anything, want to claim Him!
He said those words after the fall,
When sin, of Man, became a part.
And, it's true that Man is sinful,
For various forms of evil lurk within Man's heart.
Yes, this world is a vile place;
The enemy has made it so.
And, it will be a blessing for each of us
When, home, we finally go.
You see, this world is not our home;
It never, never could be.
Posted by John September 2006:
Darkness is never gratifying;
We must be "sons of Light."
As we go about our lives,
We must never lose our sight
As to what will lift up others;
What will bring hope and goodwill.
We must tread that path that God has blessed
And promote nothing that brings ill.
And we must seek out avenues
That lead to where
We can be the most beneficial;
One of those is prayer.
We must become habitual
In our dialogue with our Lord.
To be negligent in this respect
Is something we cannot afford.
For, life is fragile, as you may know;
There can be many trials and much care.
And, so, I admonish you with these words:
"Handle with prayer."
--John E. Swedlund
We were destined for a grander place,
Where, our Creator, we will see.
And, when we're finally out of here,
With our Father, we can romp and roam.
And a still, small voice within us
Will murmur, "There's no place like home."
--John E. Swedlund
Posted by John September 2006:
On September 11, 2001,
Rocked, was America's pride.
For, on that day, 5 years ago,
It can be said, the eagle cried.
Why, you might ask, should America
Be a target to be attacked?
Could it be, at least in part,
On account of a well-known fact?
As supporters of the Jewish state,
Israel, by name,
We're hated by the Arabs,
Who hate Israel just the same.
Those Arabs, in their angst,
While leaving Israel abhorred,
Carry out their acts of terror,
And, thereby, mock the Lord.
But, the Lord said He would not be mocked,
And, Israel, He said He would bless,
And whoever would, in turn, bless her,
Would receive the Lord's largesse.
And, also, whoever would deplore
That nation as accursed,
He, God, would also hate,
And cause to be accursed.
It is not becoming, then,
To mistreat our Jewish friends,
For, through them, it was God's very plan
To achieve His lofty ends.
Salvation was to come through the Jews,
Abraham's cherished seed.
And, that salvation was intended
To be for all, indeed.
So, if any has hard feelings
For those ones which God elected,
They'll find themselves looking
In a mirror where curses are reflected.
And, the curses will fall back on them,
All because, Israel, they did not esteem.
For, you see, Israel, was that conduit
Through which God could retain His dream.
--John E. Swedlund
Minot, North Dakota
Posted by AP Article (in Fargo Forum) September 2006
Five years later, list of goals comforts parents of 9/11 victim
By JAMES MacPHERSON Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press - Saturday, September 09, 2006
Ann Nicole Nelson had a goal to "be a person to be proud of." She also wanted to knit a sweater someday.
The small town girl with big dreams never got the chance to do the latter, or many of the things she wrote as goals on her laptop computer shortly before her death on Sept. 11, 2001.
Five years later, Nelson's list of goals has been an inspiration to others and a comfort for family and friends, say her parents, Gary and Jenette Nelson.
Nelson, 30, a native of Stanley, a town of about 1,200 people in northwestern North Dakota, died in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. She was a bond broker for Cantor Fitzgerald, working on the 104th floor of the trade center's north tower when it was hit by a jet hijacked by terrorists.
Her mother, Jenette, has worked to keep her daughter's memory alive through a Web site, and writes poetry that she shares with others. She has spoken to small groups on conflict resolution and about her daughter's death.
"It keeps us close to Ann, to share her beautiful, loving, wholesome story that brings a bright light to a dark place," Jenette Nelson said. "The world needs more of that, in my opinion."
Friends in New York packed up some of Nelson's belongings after her death and sent them her parents.
Among the books, papers, clothes and other belongings, was a single strand of Ann's hair found on a jacket. Jenette Nelson said she wrapped it around her finger and placed it in a jewelry box.
Ann's laptop computer was put in a closet and nearly forgotten until Jenette Nelson's computer broke. She was teaching school and needed a computer to write lesson plans. As she clicked around on her daughter's laptop, she found files titled "My Pictures," "Games" and "Top 100."
"I opened up the pictures, and there she was with her big smile," Jenette Nelson recalled. She played games like solitaire on the computer, which she said was therapeutic.
For months, Jenette Nelson didn't bother opening the "Top 100" file, thinking it had something to do with music.
In March, she clicked on the folder "and it was like Ann was in the room talking to me again - it turned out to be her list of values."
The "Top 100" list was numbered to 37. Her goal to "spend more time with my family" was listed twice, her mother said.
"She didn't make it to 100," Jenette Nelson said of the number of goals in the file's title. "She only made it to 37."
Her other goals included: "Keep in touch with people I love and that love me ... be a good friend ... make a quilt ... learn to cook ... learn about art ... Kilimanjaro ... remember birthdays ... appreciate money but don't worship it ... be a good listener ... helicopter ski with my father ... learn a foreign language ... drink water ... never be ashamed of who I am ... read everyday ... be informed ... volunteer for charity .... get a graduate degree ... by a home in North Dakota ... kayak."
The Nelsons said their daughter would have checked off every goal on the list.
"She would have done that and more," Jenette Nelson said.
The Nelsons have shared the list with their daughter's friends, and it has prompted much media attention. They were in California on Thursday, filming a segment for a television talk show to be aired on Monday, the fifth anniversary of their daughter's death.
Gary Nelson, a banker, has made an annual sojourn to New York each Sept. 11. This year, the trip will be more meaningful with the discovery of his daughter's list.
"I think that it probably magnifies and illustrates Ann's behavior and beliefs more than I or anyone else, could," he said.
"There are some very special friendships that Ann developed in New York," Gary Nelson said. "I always make it a point to visit these people - and look forward to seeing them."
Jenette, who retired from teaching this year, said she will spend Sept. 11 quietly with family.
In past years on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, she has spoken at North Dakota's state Capitol, and at Minot State University, which formally dedicated its auditorium as Ann Nicole Nelson Hall.
Jenette Nelson last visited New York about two months after her daughter's death."I've not felt it would be a good thing going back," she said. "I don't need to go to New York to have Ann's presence around me. I like being in North Dakota."
Posted by Mike September 2006:
I just saw the CBS news article on Ann. Her Mom read Ann's 'top 100' goals. Made me cry. Made me remember what is important in life, that there are things so important to do before our life slips away: connecting with the people who love us, people who we love. Caring for ourselves, caring for the ones we love. Living our dreams. Striving to be a better person. THANKS ANN FOR A KICK IN MY PANTS!Mike in Tucson
Posted by Lana September 2006:
Your Beautiful Daughter
I saw the evening news tonight about your only daughter Ann. I was so touched by your story and your strength. My only child, Alicia, was tragically killed in a senseless hiking accident on July 22, this summer. She was 26 and her birthday was the following week. I share the grief of your loss. Our daughters were so similar. Alicia was just short of finishing her Ph.D. in mathematics at University of Colorado at Boulder. She was an exceptional golfer and musician, but most of all she was an exceptional friend and daughter.
My grief is overwhelming. I have no one else in the world now. I hope to find courage in YOUR strength. I have not yet looked at her computer, but some day I will. Please visit my daughter's website: www.aliciagolembeski.com. We have both suffered a terrible loss. Maybe you can help me find some purpose for the rest of my life. Thank you for just listening to me.
Posted by Eric September 2006:
Some of you know my story of 9/11, others don’t. Ann Nelson, my girlfriend at the time, was working for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of WTC1. Ann along with 658 other Cantor employees were trapped and did not make it out that day. I happened to be visiting Ann at the time some 20 blocks north of the WTC. I’ll never forget that day.
In March Ann’s mom turned on Ann’s laptop computer that had been sitting idle for four and a half years. On the computer Jenette found a list of goals and betterments Ann was striving to complete. This list was picked up by the NY Times and the story below ran on May 17, 2006, Ann’s birthday. Since the NY Times publication several other publications have picked up the story. Attached is this months Cosmopolitan’s article. Recently the Ellen TV show interviewed Gary and Jenette and will be airing this show on 9/11 at 3:00 CT. The CBS national news also interviewed Ann’s parents and they will be showing the segment during the Saturday evening broadcast of the national news, I believe 5:00 CT.
This list reminds me of how short life can be. You might not get a tomorrow to do what you can today. Too often we get “too busy” and miss the important parts of life.
On this five year anniversary I will be in New York with Ann’s father as I have been the last four years. I have been selected to read names at the services, which I feel honored to do.
We created a website for the memory of Ann. It actually started as our communication tool on 9/11 with all the phone lines being tied up. It’s evolved into the site below:
Thank you for sharing your time and remembering one individual out of the 3000 lives that were lost on 9/11.Eric
Posted by Meg September 2006:
I didn't know Ann but, I read the article about her in Cosmo's September 6th issue. The funny thing is I rarely buy this magazine. I bought it this night because I was bored and I wanted something useless to read. The funny this is I'm glad I did because it brought me to Ann's story. After reading the article I was intrigued by her and her goals; it also made me go online to your website in memory of her.
I didn't know anyone personally attacked in the towers, but as the stories and poems expressed on this website is that you don't have to know anyone personally for it to hurt. I can't express my feelings because words can't describe them. All I do know though is that your daughter's memory along with all the other lives lost will forever be in my heart and make me never regret anything I do or any goal I set for myself.
Life is too short. Take the days of good and bad and enjoy them for what their worth.
As my mom and I always say: Love you more than all the sand particles in the world!
God Bless America
Posted by Mel September 2006:
Thinking About Ann
Ann understood the importance of balancing work and play in a way few people ever do. She excelled both professionally and personally on the grandest scale. But she never became pretentious, or condescending or cynical. She brought out the best in people by just smiling and being herself. She helped you realize how pettiness should just be ignored. How jealousy and nastiness weren’t worth dignifying with a response. How much they were simply a waste of precious time.
I don’t believe Ann ever wasted any of her time. Whether it was at work, drinking a beer with friends (or soon to be friends), or taking Newman out for a walk, Ann gave it her all. She knew how to not just live in the moment, but to savor the moment. And so I think that in her 30 years on this planet, she lived far more than most of us in twice that time.
Posted by Jarrette August 2006:
Howdy from Texas
Just did a Google on Ann after Aunt LeAnn emailed about the Cosmo article. I was trying to think if I had ever met Ann before as a kid. I do remember riding a horse at someone's house in North Dakota when I was super young. Not sure whose house that was. I really wish I was closer to some of you, but alas, living this south, it's really difficult.
I really regret not knowing my cousin, after reading through this site she seems like someone that I could have really related too. My wife Lauri (a Schule for only seven years now) is going to pick up the magazine tommorrow and I'm going to start recording Ellen (never thought I would hear myself say that). I really want to learn as much as I can about her, after all, she's blood to me. Life is so short for all of us, it's important that we are able to be close with family.
Love ya' all
Jarrette, Lauri, Cade, and Anderson Schule
Posted by Drew August 2006:
Hi! My nane is Drew Blanton. I'm a 34-year-old man who reads Guideposts. I read the article about Ann. I could tell she had a good personality just from reading, and I got inspired to write an acrostic poem about her. Here it is.
Posted by Anonymous August 2006:
Remembering the Loss
I was very touched by Ann's story in Guideposts, September 2006. Although we knew no one personally in the 9/11 attacks, our hearts grieve with the families who suffered so much. Hearing the families' stories reminds us to NEVER FORGET the precious lives lost that day. Our prayers will be with you in the coming days. Thanks for continuing to share your story.
(Later that day)
Wow - earlier this morning I sent a memorial message, but I have since had time to browse your website and tribute to your daughter, Ann. What a fabulous job you did raising such an incredible daughter. This month my five year old daughter started Kindergarten and I can only hope to do such a wonderful job with her as you have done. I want to treasure these beautiful moments with both my daughter and son (age three).....for we truly do not know when each day might be our last. I have e-mailed many of my friends to alert them to this website. Your daughter will be an inspiration to many. May we never forget.......
Posted by Trish August 2006:
Hello to the Nelson family
My mother has gifted me with Guideposts magazine for several years, and I have enjoyed it immensely. No other story has touched me as much as the one about your daughter. My husband lost a good friend on that horrible day and we honor Alex's memory. If I may be so bold as to offer a balm to your indescribable loss, I would like to tell you about my only daughter, Veronica.
She was born in California last year, to a woman who abused drugs during the pregnancy.
In a leap of faith, we adopted her and brought her home to Illinois. At 18 months, her spirit and tenacity towards life should carry her far. If there is any role model for her, it will be your Ann. Her smile on graduation day speaks volumes. Oh, the joy evident on her face! The undeniable goodness of Ann will have a ripple effect far beyond anything any one imagined. Thank you for sharing your daugher with the rest of the country and know that a little bit of her will carry on through others. As a parent, I cannot begin to comprehend your loss. My thoughts and prayers will be with you as we approach yet another anniversary of September 11.
Posted by Masataka August 2006:
Hello. My name is Masataka, a photo editor of Japanese news magazine, "Courrier Japan."
We are a bi-weekly Editorial Magazine (circulation is about 95,000) and featuring variety of news around the world. (A detailed description of our magazine is cited below. For your information.)
In our up-coming issue, we are focusing on five years after September 11. Once coming across the story on NY Times' "Annie's List," we became deeply concerning to publish the article. Through publishing the article in Japanese, we would love to share sympathy for Ann with the Japanese audience.
Along with the article, we would like to publish a picture. Could you please give us permission to publish a picture? Looking through the website, we have picked two pictures that I attach on this message. We really appreciate if you can send us scans of the images. (Hi-Resolution scans are really appreciated.)
If you have any question, please let me know.
Thanks in advance,
I am looking forward talking to you soon.
We, Kodansha LTD., has just launched a new news magazine "Courrier Japon" on November 17, 2005.
The magazine is made up of Japanese-translated articles and graphics selected from foreign press all over the world. And the categories we deal with are of great variety such as Science,
Money, Gourmet, Multi Media, Business, Voyage, Culture let alone global news.
The unique way of news reporting is just as same as Courrier International (France),
which originated and consolidated its own news-reporting style. Courrier International is well-known as high quality and reliable news magazine in France. We have already signed to establish an exclusive partnership with them.
Please note that we are not a Japanese-translated edition of Courrier International, but a news magazine of our own selection. The publication is made up of 90 pages and circulation is around 95.000.
The price is JPY480 (about USD4.5).
Posted by Marian August 2006:
A Message Jenette
Thank you for sharing your beloved, beautiful Annie with us all, in the September 2006 Guidepost, which came today. You and your husband will be in my prayers every day. Truly. I am glad to have the photo of you and your husband, as well as the Ann's sparkling photo on page 87, to give faces to my prayers. Warmly, Marian T. Scheirman -- Fort Collins, Colorado
Your poems, your thoughts, the pictures you shared - you are generous to give of yourself in this way, and I know you will help many people as you have helped me today. (After 50 years of happy marriage, my wonderful husband died suddenly and unexpectedly in February 2002. As a poet, I haven't been able to write about him yet - but your poems will lead me to do it.)
Posted by LaVerne August 2006:
The Guideposts 2006 Article
Hello Jenette & Gary,
I have just read your story about your beautiful daughter Ann. Having no children, and therefore never will I lose one, I can only extend to you my most sincere appreciation for you sharing your story. The loss of a child I am told is harder than anything in life. Your daughter sounds like she was a talented delightful person as a child, and then in her older years, she brought much more joy into your lives.
May God bless you in your memories, and I am very happy that you found the lap top computer to bring her back closer to you. I have recorded voice messages from my Mom and an Aunt, both deceased now, and I have to tell you what a comfort it is when their voice comes on line again every 100 days. They both seem right here, and I get great joy in that. Peace to you and your strengths. Continue to live with your Ann in her presence to you.LaVerne, Fargo
Posted by Sherry August 2006:
To the family and friends of Ann Nelson:
I read with interest the story of Ann's life in my Guideposts magazine today. I came to the website and although I felt a little intrusive looking at your photos and reading your words, I have felt uplifted to learn about her and her short, yet meaningful life. She was a bright light in the world. An angel on earth. May God comfort your hearts and may you feel her with you all your days on earth, until such time you are reunited in Heaven.
I recently came across a saying by Kahlil Gibran and found such comfort in it. (I lost my father in January)
It goes like this:
" When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."
Take care of yourselves and keep her memory strong,
Sherry L. Sarvis
Posted by Cerise August 2006:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Nelson,
Thank you so much for sharing your love of Ann with us. I just finished the article in Guideposts. She was such a loving person!! So many times, if a person is able to achieve a lot, they tend to get lost in 'stuff'. It is evident you gave her a good foundation, that she might fulfill her 'personhood' destiny. You have so much to be proud of - the good care and love you put into your child, which flowered into a beautiful woman.
I've gone through some loss myself - an abusive 17 year marriage, loss of my two children for six years because of leaving that situation, and still trying to build a new life eight years after leaving.
I appreciated how you told of just hanging on and pushing through the grief and loss. It seems, sometimes for very long periods of time, that is all we can do. I am so glad for you, that the time came for Ann's presence to be brought home to you.
God bless you both,
Posted by Norma August 2006:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Nelson,
I couldn't believe it when I read your story in this month's Guideposts. My sister-in-law and her husband, Larry and Maren Feiring, live in Stanley, North Dakota, and I have seen your daughter's beautiful tombstone many times while driving though Stanley to visit them. I am married to Tony Anderson, son of Gerald and Ruth Anderson of Tioga, and the story of your daughter being the only North Dakotan killed in that vicious attack really struck home for us.
When Ruth was sick and moved into the Stanley hospital, I made a point of driving by your daughter's gravesite, which is very visible from that street, and saying a silent prayer for her and for you. I have two nephews who are Navy SEALs. The older one, Cordy, has done two tours in Iraq. I worried every day that he was there. The first tour, he was the point man in guarding the Prime Minister Allawi. He also got commendations for three actions against "insurgents" (terrorists). He doesn't talk about it much, but I know that he killed some of them.
His little brother, Quinn, will be going to Iraq in April. I don't know how you feel about forgiveness, and being printed in Guideposts, you probably have a lot more forgiveness in your mind than I have. I also know that "vengeance will be mine" is in the Bible, but I just want you to know that when Quinn is in Iraq and has a chance to kill one of these guys, he will say, "This is for Ann." That is what I will ask him to do, and he will do it. I won't leave that decision up to you, because you might be against it. Maybe you don't want that, but it will be done. In my opinion, we are in a religious war against these people - they killed your daughter, and they will continue to try to kill my nephews. I will continue to pray for you and for her. And for my Navy SEALs.
As an aside, Tony and I are moving from Hayward, Wisconsin, back to Denver to start a new bank. And I still miss Ruth, who was the best mother-in-law in the world!
Posted by Janelle August 2006:
Hello, After reading this article, I thought I would visit the website to learn more about your daugther. I just wanted to say "sorry" to hear about her tragic death. I dont know what it is like to lose a daugther or a son but I can only imagine the pain. Well I just wanted to send my condolesence's to you and your family.
Posted by Thomas August 2006:
I read about your daughter in the Cosmopolitan magazine and my heart and prayers go out to you and your family. I am a nursing student and currently work as a nursing assistant in an assisted living facility. One day while I was at work I came across this poem in a resident's room, anytime I am feeling down I try to read this. I hope that it will offer you some comfort.
When the trials of this life make you weary and your troubles seem to much to bear, there's a wonderful solace and comfort in the silent communion of prayer. When you've searched for the sun with out ceasing and the showers continue to fall, there's a heavenly lift in the wonderful gift that God has extended to all. From the magic power of preyer there comes power that will minimize your care, and you'll gather new hope, when you are ablt to cope with the troubles that once brought despair. So lift up your heart to the heavens. There's a loving and kind father there who offers release and comfort and peace in the silent communion of prayer.
Posted by Pat May 2006:
I don't know if you remember me, I was Commander of the Tioga American Legion when we had our memorial of 9/11 in 2002. I met Gary once in Stanley, and he and Jennette gave me one of the crosses made, along with the booklet on Ann.
I thought of them last week, knowing Ann's birth date, and Gary and I share the same day as well. I didn't write then, though I wanted to, but I couldn't find the words on such a mixed blessing of a week. I often think of the family - they just seem to pop in my head now and again, so I say a prayer to myself for them, and hold tightly to my St. Anthony medal I wear around my neck.
I can't imagine, and God I hope I never have to, the pain and the anguish they endure on a daily basis. The more I read of Ann, and the list of her goals, I can see she was far too special for this world ! She was beyond remarkable - she was beyond the perfect daughter - she was beyond anyone I've ever seen. So, I guess God taking her home was her destiny - to compare ourselves to her - was like comparing ourselves to the Ten Commandments, something I thought God gave us to show us how weak we truly are, well compared to Anne, we are so beneath her ! When I was confirmed I chose St. Ann as my Catholic name, now I can see why.
So, on this week of what should have been one of celebration for them, I want to say I am thinking of you, and wishing with all of my heart that things had been different for them. I wish too, that the media would let that day not be so prevalent with pictures, and re living it, it breaks my heart when I see it, and it brings up all the hurt and wonder once again and the songs that are played about it, they hurt as well.
But please let them know - we are here for them, and we do care, and we do hurt with them. May God Bless them each and every second of each and every day and what a testament Ann was to the wonderful parenting skills Gary and Jennette have !
Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share .....
NY Times Article (Annie's List) -Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Hope, Saved on a Laptop
By DAN BARRY
Published: May 17, 2006
In a small North Dakota town, a mother recently opened the laptop computer of her daughter, who died on 9/11. It had been returned to her family in North Dakota, along with the other belongings she left behind in that great city 1,750 miles to the east. She was 30, lively, working near the very top of the World Trade Center, and you already know.
In the small town of Stanley, halfway between Minot and Williston, a fog thick enough to blur time's passing enveloped the Nelson home. Amid the many tributes to Ann, amid the grieving and the absence, it became hard to remember just when and how the laptop wound up in the basement of the one-story bank that the family owned.
There the laptop sat, for years, tucked away from sight in a black case. It was a Dell Inspiron 8000, bought shortly before Ann called home that day in early 2001 to say she had gotten a job as a bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York! Soon she was living near the corner of Thompson and Spring, and working in an office 104 stories in the air.
Ann's parents, Jenette and Gary Nelson, say the laptop remained unopened because they are not computer savvy. But it was more than that, Mrs. Nelson admits. "To tell you the truth, it was just too painful."
Three summers ago, during an art class Mrs. Nelson was teaching in that basement, a couple of students showed her how to use the computer. After the class, she says, "I just left it there."
Who knows why never becomes someday, and someday becomes today. One day last fall "when I got to feeling stronger," she says Mrs. Nelson finally opened her daughter's computer. She pushed its power button and started by looking at the photographs stored in its memory.
Soon Mrs. Nelson was learning how to play the computer's games, including solitaire and hearts. These distractions both relaxed her and reminded her of the games she used to play with Ann. Somehow, this little black machine made Ann seem present, there beside her.
Getting lost in the computer became part of Mrs. Nelson's after-work ritual, though she never bothered to open a file that said "Top 100"; probably some music, she figured. Then, two months ago and who knows why, click.
What she found was a catalog of goals, humanly incomplete: a list that reflected a young woman's commitment to the serious, to the frivolous, to all of life. That night, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson sat down with the list, and were with their daughter again.
1. Be healthy/ healthful.
2. Be a good friend.
3. Keep secrets.
4. Keep in touch with people I love and that love me.
5. Make a quilt.
Mrs. Nelson used to sew all the time, until it simply became too hard to guide a needle properly with a joyous little girl frolicking in her lap. Then, when Ann grew older, mother and daughter decided to sew a tablecloth.
"I don't think we ever finished," Mrs. Nelson says, laughing. "She had to be doing 100 things at a time, and consequently some of them didn't get finished."
As for this goal of making a quilt, she adds, "I'm sure that I would probably have been deeply involved in this process."
7. Buy a home in North Dakota.
8. Get a graduate degree.
9. Learn a foreign language.
11. Never be ashamed of who I am.
"Ann was in many environments where being a girl from North Dakota may not have been the most sophisticated label to wear," Mrs. Nelson says, recalling that her daughter had traveled to China and to Peru, and had worked in the high-powered environments of Chicago and New York.
Even so, Ann always conveyed pride in who she was, who her parents were and where they came from though never in a boastful way. "It's an important point about her personality," her mother says.
12. Be a person to be proud of.
13. Always keep improving.
14. Read every day.
15. Be informed.
16. Knit a sweater.
17. Scuba-dive in the Barrier Reef.
18. Volunteer for a charity.
19. Learn to cook.
By her late 20's, Ann had actually become a fairly decent cook. Still, her mother laughs in recalling late-night calls, like the one that began: "Mom, what's drawn butter?"
20. Learn about art.
21. Get my C.F.A.
22. Grand Canyon.
23. Helicopter-ski with my dad.
Then Ann Nelson's list repeats a number.
23. Spend more time with my family.
24. Remember birthdays!!!!
Birthdays loomed large in Ann's life. She would celebrate her birthday not for a day, but for a week in part because her father's birthday came the very next day, in part because she was proud to have been born on Norwegian Independence Day which is May 17, today.
"Ann would have been 35," says Mr. Nelson, who turns 65 tomorrow.
25. Appreciate money, but don't worship it.
26. Learn how to use a computer.
27. Visit the New York Public Library.
29. Learn to write.
30. Walk exercise but also see the world firsthand.
31. Learn about other cultures.
32. Be a good listener.
33. Take time for friends.
35. Drink water.
36. Learn about wine.
Ann was supposed to attend a wine class the evening of Sept. 11, in keeping with Nos. 13, 19, 31, 36 the whole list, really.
After 36, there is a 37, but it is blank.
Mr. Nelson reads the list as an inventory of his daughter's values. "You don't see any Corvettes in the garage or any of those material things you might expect from someone that age," he says. "She recognized that you appreciate a few things and kind of live your life wisely."
Mrs. Nelson interprets the list as another way in which Ann seems to communicate with her when she is most in need. So, just about every day in a small North Dakota town, halfway between Minot and Williston, the screen of a laptop computer goes from darkness to light.
Posted by Melissa May 2006:
Thinking of you today and always.
Posted by Kelly May 2006:
Happy Birthday Ann-
It doesn't seem as though we should be 35 yet. Remember when that was so old!!! Anyways, you are in my thoughts frequently and I miss your friendship, but I have the luxury of talking to you any time I want, and it is amazing how much more you agree with my choices now!!
Posted by Carlene May 2006:
Coming up on Your Birthday
Its Birthday “month” and I am thinking about you.
Every time I hear a laugh that sounds like you or see a ponytail go bouncing by, my heart skips a beat.Happy birthday baby girl.
I love you and miss you so much.