JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Eighteen years ago, Lori Guadagno of Jacksonville Beach lost her brother in one of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, killed as the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville, Penn.
Almost 3,000 people died in that morning’s attacks as airliners crashed into New York City’s Twin Towers, the Pentagon and that Pennsylvania field.
As the remains of the 44 passengers, crew and hijackers were removed from the wreckage of the United Airlines plane in the Shanksville field, FBI agents salvage some tragic reminders for families. As told in a 10th-anniversary Florida Times-Union story, among the shattered metal and plastic pieces were 38-year-old Richard Guadagno’s ID badge, film and other important mementos, all returned to his sister.
It was a “reverent moment” full of respect for her and her brother when the agent who found the items gave them to her in early 2011, including a barometer he had just bought “in all of its pieces” as well as crushed film canisters, Guadagno said. Now a video interview with her produced by FBI Jacksonville intern Klara Fletcher and posted on Wednesday’s 18th anniversary details how important it was to get those memories of her brother.
“He knew that it was something that was very important and needed to be retrieved immediately, that it was a federal badge,” she says on the video, produced this summer. ”... They had these rolls of film. They processed approximately 40 prints that were on that, and they also found a barometer that he had purchased that weekend prior to 9-11. That was really important to him. When the FBI came with them, it was a very reverent moment. They brought so much sensitivity and so much respect.”
The FBI and thousands of other law enforcement partners responded to the terrorist attack sites 18 years ago, working for months to process what is now called the largest crime scene in FBI history. Some have become victims of the terrorist attacks themselves in recent years, becoming ill or dying as a result of their work at the attack sites, the FBI said.
Guadagno is believed to have been one of the Flight 93 passengers who forced their way into the cockpit as the airliner was being aimed at its intended target of the U.S. Capitol and managed to crash it in the field instead after overpowering the hijackers. He managed the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge in California.