HOUSTON – As the country gets closer to the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the family of one of the heroes lost on United Airlines Flight 93 continues to share her story and honor her legacy.
The father of Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas tells KPRC 2 they will continue to keep her memory alive.
They also share efforts to educate the next generations of Americans so the world will never forget what happened that fateful day.
It is a day America will never forget.
And like thousands of other families who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001, the Catuzzis will never forget their daughter Lauren.
“She was a sky diver, she was a scuba diver, she skied, she was very very active, we couldn’t keep up with her half the time. You would have loved her. She had a great personality,” says Lauren’s father, Larry Catuzzi.
Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, 38, was headed back to California from her grandmother’s funeral in New Jersey. She was three months pregnant and eager to get home to her husband.
She boarded United Airlines Flight 93 bound for San Francisco.
That flight, later hijacked by terrorists and diverted towards Washington, D.C., eventually crashed into a field in Pennsylvania instead of its intended target killing everyone on board.
But by all accounts, it did not go down without a heroic fight.
“This group of 40 passengers and crew crashed the cockpit and took over from the terrorists. It was no question a very heroic act on their part because they knew already what had happened at the world trade center and at the pentagon,” says Larry Catuzzi.
Larry and his family also knew in their hearts that their daughter helped on that plane somehow,
They knew that she was part of those efforts that saved thousands of lives that day.
“I’m sure on the plane she was of course one of those very very encouraging activists on the plane. She was very calm and she gave her phone to another passenger who was sitting in the aisle with her so she could call her parents,” says Larry Catuzzi.
Larry says 20 years since the attacks has gone by so fast.
Their family has continued to tell their daughter’s story and honor her memory by giving out more than 100 college scholarships in her name, donating to Texas Children’s Hospital, building neo-natal care units at hospitals across the country including here in Houston.
Also, they built Lauren’s Garden at Historic Market Square at 301 Milam Street in downtown Houston.
It is a beautiful waterfall with stone features and it was built to honor the almost 3000 victims lost on September 11.
“It’s a lovely park and it’s been used by so many Houstonians and people who visit Houston so we’re very very proud of that. Twenty years to answer your question very succinctly has just flown by but we’re so pleased we’ve been able to do thing s in Lauren’s name,” says Larry Catuzzi.
The families of Flight 93 have also started educational programs in high schools across the country including right here in Houston.
They were created to help those younger generations who were not alive during the 9/11 attacks to learn about it and understand the historic impact and heroic efforts by all those we lost that day.
To learn more about Lauren’s foundation, go to https://lcgfoundation.org/.
For more information on Lauren’s book, “You Can Do It” click here.