Blogger honored to tell 9/11 victims' stories
Five years after the 9/11 attacks, UW's Kelly West joined a volunteer blogging effort to pay tribute to the victims.
How 6 local lives changed after 9/11
Read more readers' stories below
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, caused profound shock, horror, fear, anger and sorrow for Americans — and for some, lasting change. Six Puget Sound-area residents tell us how the events of that day played out in their lives.
Don't make me seem like some kind of hero, Kelly West tells a reporter. The heroes, she says, are the people she writes about in her blog.
The hours and days after the 9/11 attacks are a fog of grief and disbelief for West, 41, who lives in Everett and is an administrative assistant in a University of Washington information-technology office. When she heard that more than 300 firefighters were missing, West, the daughter of a retired Seattle firefighter, couldn't accept it.
"There is NO damn way that is right," she thought. "They will show up."
As the dimensions of the horror settled in, West felt the kinship, anger and profound sadness shared by many Americans. "It broke my heart."
Five years after the attacks, West joined a volunteer blogging effort to honor the victims. Project 2996 (project2996.wordpress.com) was started by a North Carolina writer, Dale Roe, as a way bloggers across the country could post online pages for each of the 9/11 victims.
West's first assignment was to write about Matthew J. Grzymaklski, 34, who worked for the financial-services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, based 100 floors up in One World Trade Center.
From easy-to-find online sources, West learned some basic facts. Grzymaklski had three brothers, a sister, five nephews and two nieces. He also had a girlfriend, Kaleen Pezzuti, another Cantor Fitzgerald employee who died in the attack.
West began her post with the words "I have the honor of paying tribute to ... " — a phrase she has since used to begin more than 100 other tributes.
She's written about Tara Creamer, a Boston mother of two who was on American Airlines Flight 11, which struck the north tower. And about Jennifer and Kenneth Lewis, flight attendants on American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon.
She posts the individual victims' stories on her blog, kjw-today.blogspot.com, and links are later put on the main Project 2996 site, one of a number of Internet sites set up in memory of the 9/11 victims.
In the past couple of years, West said, some bloggers that started with Project 2996 have left their blogs untended. But as the 10th anniversary of the attacks approached, West has spent extra time at her laptop to complete a few more postings.
"I'm an American," she said. "I had to do something."
— Jack Broom, Seattle Times staff reporter
Trending on seattletimes.com
Most viewed photo galleries
The Morning Memo
The Morning Memo jump starts your day with weather, traffic and news
Search local job listings on NWjobs.com
Career Center Blog
Your Opinion Matters
Take our survey and enter to win $100. Enter Now!