For nine years, 31-year-old Laura Gilly traveled the world, all expenses paid; a perk from her life as a flight attendant. She saw Paris, she saw Rome, indulged in the exotic sights and sounds of Egypt, Jakarta and Kuwait.
But the thrill of being up in the air, away from family and friends, eventually subsided. Laura wanted out of her job with Tower Airlines. "She wanted a 9-to-5, so she could make plans without breaking them," said her mother, Phyllis. "So many times she wasn't home for Christmas or New Year's. She was really looking forward to stability."
And in early 2000, Laura found the stability she craved with a job working in technical support for Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center. Life was finally sweet and somewhat predictable, and Laura was enjoying every minute of it, her mother said, recalling a phone conversation she had with her daughter shortly before September 11th.
Susan and Sandra, Laura's childhood friends from 13th Street in Brooklyn, could write a novel about Laura, as could anyone else who was lucky enough to befriend her. The light she emitted was enough to light a star while the energy that radiated from within her soul was enough for all of her family and friends put together.
Laura lived in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, with her two cats. She often went out for meals and drinks with the young staff at Cantor Fitzgerald, usually on Thursday nights and often to Windows on the World, the restaurant on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower.
The joy Phyllis heard in her daughter's voice whenever she spoke about work has made it all the more difficult accepting the irony of her death. "We spent so much time worrying about her flying here and there, and to have her go like this: killed by a plane as she sat in an office building," she said. "All Laura wanted was a real job at a desk. And now she's gone."