34-year-old Kristine Swearson would constantly tell her sister, Kerri, that she wanted to move to New York City and work at the World Trade Center. "See those towers?" she once said while on a sightseeing trip to New York. "I'm going to work there someday."
By the beginning of 2001, the bright and enthusiastic San Jose woman was living out her lifelong dream as a website designer at Cantor Fitzgerald's corporate headquarters on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower. The Twin Towers were her sister's destiny, Kerri recalled. It's ironic, she said, that they were also "her final destination."
The crazy thing, Kerri said, is that her sister had no computer experience before she got the job at Cantor Fitzgerald, though she had graduated from Rutgers University in Brunswick, New Jersey, and worked for Merrill Lynch before the job came open. But Kristine peppered her more experienced sister for information about designing websites and wasted no time getting to work figuring out how to do it. "She just wanted to be in one of those buildings," Kerri said of her determined sister, "I don't know why, she just did."
Kristine was an incredible friend, colleague and mentor. She had an ability to find truth and happiness in the smallest things and was somebody that you could always rely on for a straight answer. Friends and family alike admired Kristine for her grace, honesty, humility and humour. "Kristine was a role model," recalled her friend, Sabreena Kaviat. "She taught me how to treat people with even more kindness and respect, laugh a little bit louder and harder, try my best to be a little more adventurous, and simply live every moment of my life to the fullest."
On the morning of September 11th, Kerri awoke to the sound of the news blaring from the radio. The North Tower, where Kristine worked, had already been hit. She turned on the television and watched as another plane flew into the second tower and the two buildings collapsed, taking her beautiful sister's life in the blink of an eye. "Kristine wasn't just my sister, she was my best friend," Kerri said. "I miss her so much, but she will forever live on in my heart."