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Garden of Reflection
Empty Sky: NJ State 9/11 Memorial
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James Patrick Berger was 44 years old and from Yardley, Pennsylvania. (Born: Queens, New York). James worked for Aon Corporation on the 101st floor in the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, James was working in his office in the World Trade Center. He was on the phone with his wife, Suzanne, when the first plane crashed into the North Tower.
"He said, 'Listen, Suze, I just want you to know that something's going on. The lights are flickering. I hear a popping sound. I'll call you back later,' " Suzanne said.
James made the decision to evacuate his personnel. His unselfish sense of duty was emphasized when a crowd of evacuees tried to drag him into an elevator. He firmly stated, "No. I'm going back".
The last elevator carrying Aon employees reached the ground 20 seconds before hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 slammed into the South Tower.
After shepherding 156 of his employees to safety from the 101st floor of the South Tower, James lost his own life on that tragic day.