Winder firefighters honor victims of Sept. 11 attacks

WINDER - Sept. 11, 2001, was just another day for 32-year-old Lorraine Antigua, as she settled into her desk on the 104th floor of the North Twin Tower in New York City. Her life was like that of many other women. She worked daily to raise her two little girls from a previous marriage, looked forward to an upcoming wedding and earned a six-figure income as a stock trader, said her Aunt Della Helfen, of Auburn.

Antigua's future came to a stop at 8:48 a.m. when American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the North Tower five floors below Antigua's desk.

Winder firefighters and police officers honored the 2,974 people who died in the 9/11 attacks on Tuesday, including the New York City firefighters and police officers who were first on the scene following the crashes.

About 30 people attended the ceremony that recreated the timing of that morning's events which lasted 107 minutes. Winder firefighters sounded an engine siren or rang the station bell at the time each tower was hit or collapsed, also commemorating the crashes into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and into a Pennsylvania field.

Antigua, the daughter of a retired NYC policeman, survived the initial crash, Helfen said, but perished sometime later.

"She called her fiance right after the plane hit and left a message on his machine," Helfen said. "We think she went up to the roof."

Helfen looked upward at 10:30 a.m., when Winder firefighters and police officers, in full parade dress, lowered the flag in front of the fire station to half staff. Her family has had little closure since Antigua's passing six years ago.

"They never found any remains until months and months later they called and said they had found her leg bone," Helfen said. "It was matched through DNA. They turned it over to her ex-husband."

Fire Chief Raymond Mattison said his department will never let Winder forget the events of that day.

"Firefighters from New York City responded to terror," Mattison said. "Three hundred and forty-three of them and 62 police officers did not go home, and like the sign out front says, we will never forget. We will always have this ceremony to pay our respects."