'She would be proud': Family of Kewaskum 9/11 victim grateful her story continues to be shared

NOW: ’She would be proud’: Family of Kewaskum 9/11 victim grateful her story continues to be shared

KEWASKUM, Wis. (CBS 58) -- On a cloudy, overcast day in Kewaskum, Gordon Haberman couldn't help but smile as he approached the Wisconsin 9/11 Memorial and Education Center located just off of Hwy 45 in the heart of the small Washington County village.

"I still walk around here and I'm amazed," said Haberman, who admits he visits the memorial twice a week. "There were a hundred kids sitting here all the way from Coleman, Wisconsin, on a field trip to learn about 9/11 here. That is exactly why this was built."

Haberman has a close connection to the memorial. The 2,200-pound steel beam fixed at the center of the memorial was pulled from the rubble of the North Tower at the World Trade Center, the same tower Haberman's 25-year-old daughter, Andrea, was inside for a business meeting on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

"There's not a day that isn't 9/11 to our family," Haberman said. "It's a bittersweet day for us."

Still, Haberman sat proudly beside his wife and daughter on Monday as the Wisconsin 9/11 Memorial and Education Center hosted its annual Remembrance Day ceremony, honoring the 2,977 lives lost 22 years ago, and the brave men and women who answered the call to help in the hours after the tragic attacks -- people like New Jersey's Martin Nystrom.

"I was on the pile for the first four days," explained Nystrom, who worked as a search and rescue coordinator at ground zero. "You don't live with it, you learn to live with it. Some of the images in my head will stay with me forever, but on the other side of that, the camaraderie and the life lessons and the friends that I've made because of that fateful day kind of carry me over the hurt and the heartache."

Nystrom travelled to Kewaskum to speak at Monday's ceremony, sharing his experiences from ground zero, and encouraging members of the community to answer their own call to help, whether that be through joining the service or volunteering. He also shared an important message.

"Those that were saved or those that made it out have a story to tell, and they should be heard," Nystrom said. "Those that lost a loved one also need to be heard, and the world needs to know that they're still hurting after 22 years and that will never stop. Time heals all wounds, but this one, this one's going to leave a mark. This one's going to leave something that a plastic surgeon can't fix."

With another year come and gone, Haberman continues to mourn the loss of his daughter. Still, he's grateful others will be able to learn about her legacy and the legacies of the thousands of others who lost their lives that day, thanks to the efforts of the Wisconsin 9/11 Memorial and Education Center.

"We miss our daughter tremendously. Her smile, her intelligence, her laugh," Haberman said. "I think, however, she would be proud of this as a memorial to all the victims of that day, and a place for young people to learn."

For more information on the Wisconsin 9/11 Memorial and Education Center, visit the website here.

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