On the tenth anniversary, The 2996 Project sought to honor each of the people who had died during the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. I was honored to write about one of them.
Not long ago we went to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City. It is a somber, moving experience. I urge everyone to take the time to visit. There is much to learn. More than can be absorbed in a single visit.
I was able to find Vladimir’s picture and biography and to sit in quiet contemplation of the loss of so many talents and lives. Learning about his life to write the brief tribute had created a bond and I grieved for him as I would any friend. As promised, I have carried him forward.
Remembering Vladimir Tomasevic
Today I am remembering a young man I had never met. This exercise turns the focus from Vladimir to me and links his future with mine. From today I will carry him forward, as does his wife, his family, his friends and colleagues. Because his future has been stolen from him, it can only live with us.
Vladimir Tomasevic was 36 years old on September 11, 2001. He was a man at the pinnacle of his life. Born, raised and educated in Yugoslavia, he had immigrated to Canada with the wife he had met while on vacation in Montenegro.They hoped to create a better life than would be possible in their native land.
They achieved their goal. Eight years ago Tanja, was a business analyst for BMO Nesbitt Burns, and Vladimir was vice president for software development at Optus e-Business Solutions. He was an unusual electrical engineer: he had a gift for communicating. Not only was he capable of explaining to non-engineers the intricacies of the computer software he designed, he also had the necessary patience to do so.
It was this skill-set that brought him from his home in Toronto to New York City. He was attending a Risk Waters Group conference on information technology at Windows on the World. He was on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center.
We have no way to know what Vladimir’s last moments entailed. I choose to think of him that morning.
He was attractive, fit, athletic, beloved by his wife, admired by his co-workers. He was intelligent and capable. He was on his first trip to one of the most vibrant cities in the world. He was there to promote trading software he had helped design. He was a young man at the top of his life, on the top of the world. And then he was gone.
In September 2001, the Toronto Star reported Vladimir’s boss, Steven Webster saying, “Vladimir Tomasevic had been working so hard, he hadn’t had time to play tennis. And tennis was his love.” He had competed in singles tennis on Yugoslavia’s national league and coached tennis at the University of Belgrade while he worked on an electrical engineering degree.
This morning I played tennis in his honor. I will carry Vladimir forward. He will always be in my heart. As will they all. September 11 must forever be a Day of Remembrance. There can be no greater service to our country than to remember that beautiful morning, and how it was transformed.
As Abraham Lincoln said, it is “… for us, the living…to resolve these dead shall not have died in vain…”
We miss you Vladimir and all you could have been. The world is a lesser place.