Delaware mother remembers son’s 9/11 death

By Mike Lang

Claymont, Del., Sep 9, 2011 / 02:08 pm (CNA).- Ten years after Robert Fangman died in the terrorist attacks in New York City, his mother, Ruth, said accepting his loss “never gets easier.”

Ruth Fangman, a parishioner at Holy Rosary in Claymont, Del. plans to travel to her native Baltimore, where the  Maryland 9/11 memorial will be dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. Robert Fangman’s name will be etched in stone at the site in front of Baltimore’s World Trade Center.

Ruth Fangman recalled this week that horrific Tuesday when she learned of the death of the youngest of her seven children, called “Bobby” by family and childhood friends. He was 33.

“He had been in Texas visiting his brother. He had called me that Saturday and said, “I’m on my way home (to Boston) tomorrow, and I’ll stop in Delaware and see you,” she said.

Later that day, Bobby, a graduate of Holy Rosary School who was a flight attendant for United Airlines, said his plans had changed and he wouldn’t be visiting Claymont.

On Sept. 11, Ruth Fangman was taking a neighbor to the Philadelphia International Airport when they heard on the radio that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center buildings in New York. Soon she learned that a second plane, from United, her son’s airline, had flown into the other tower. She knew Bobby was going to Los Angeles, which was Flight 175’s destination, and tried to reach him on his cell phone. She then called his roommates in Boston and was certain he was on the plane.

Around 2 p.m., representatives from United arrived at her home to confirm her worst fears.

Fangman, a widow, credits her friends and fellow parishioners at Holy Rosary Church for helping her after the attacks. “Without the support of my friends and my parish family, I don¹t think I could have made it.”

Holy Rosary will hold its annual memorial service the afternoon of Sept. 11, and Bobby’s picture and other memorabilia will be on the altar.

“To lose a child, you never forget, and to lose one in this horrific way, it brings it back every year,” Fangman said. “The hole in my heart will never be filled. I miss him every day.”

Printed with permission from The Dialog, newspaper for the Diocese of Wilmington, Del.