Nashville woman mourns twin sister killed in 9/11 attacks
By Nicole Young • THE TENNESSEAN • September 12, 2009
September 11, 2001, began like any other day for Margaret Mauro.
It started with a phone call, a conversation with her twin sister, Dorothy, in New York.
"She couldn't cook, and she was trying to make dinner for our dad," Margaret said. "I was giving her hints on how to prepare a fish dish."
Margaret, an Antioch resident, moved to Nashville from New York 20 years ago. Although Dorothy remained in the Big Apple, their relationship was a close one. The sisters spoke on the phone every morning before work.
That day, in addition to cooking tips, they talked about their recent trips. Margaret had just been to Seattle, Dorothy to New Orleans. They had celebrated their 55th birthday on Aug. 30.
Margaret was at work at Educational Networks of America in the Gulch. Dorothy was at work at Marsh & McLennan, an insurance company with offices in the World Trade Center.
"I hadn't been at work very long," Margaret remembered. "And a co-worker came to my desk and told me I needed to call my sister.
"He said a plane had just hit the north tower. And it didn't hit me right away. I remember asking what north tower. I didn't know what he was talking about."
Margaret tried to call Dorothy. The line was busy.
The co-worker returned and told her to come watch — a live feed had been set up in another room.
"As soon as I walked in, I saw the second building get hit," Margaret said. "And I said, 'I'm out of here.' "
On the way home, Margaret stopped in the parking lot of a strip mall. On the radio, she heard that the south tower had collapsed.
Dorothy was on the 97th floor of the north tower. Within half an hour, it collapsed.
"And I just knew," Margaret said. "If she had gotten out, she would have called me.
"I knew in my heart if I didn't hear from her, she didn't make it."
Since that day eight years ago, Margaret has struggled to live with the loss of her sister. Each year on the anniversary of the attacks, she releases balloons in Dorothy's memory, one for each year that has passed.
"I attach notes to her on them and let them go," Margaret said.
A time to remember
It wasn't until three years ago that Margaret felt that she could be around other survivors of those lost on Sept. 11.
Friday evening, she planned to attend a memorial service at The Temple with her nephew, Matthew Kirsener, 40, a soldier stationed at Fort Campbell who recently returned after serving in Iraq and Kuwait.
Kirsener's mother, Margaret's older sister, died when he was 3 years old. Since Dorothy's death, the two have become close.
In New York, one of her friends — also a survivor of Sept. 11 — will place yellow roses at ground zero for Dorothy.
"I just don't want people to forget what this country has been through," Margaret said. "It's not just because of my loss, but it's because we were so unified after September 11.