9/11 Memorial Service in Lincoln

Posted by: Abigail Wood


Deborah Coyle took the podium at Sunday’s Lincoln 9/11 Memorial Service to talk about her niece, Jennifer Dorsey-Howley, who worked at the World Trade Center.

"It’s just something that will always be with you," she said.

Jennifer was at work in the south tower on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The mom-to-be was five months pregnant, and didn’t usually work on Tuesdays, but went in to train new employees.

After the attack, Deborah flew to New York to help Jennifer’s husband search for her. The two stood in endless lines, asking for information about the petite brunette from the 92nd floor.

"Just trying to find anybody who had seen her last," Deborah explained. "We were just trying to piece everything together."

After a week, they knew she was gone. Deborah says an officer let her go down to ground zero, hoping the family could find some closure. 

"We just wanted to be where she had died. It was just kind of surreal for us, very difficult, but we just felt we needed to be there."

Jennifer was honored Sunday morning in the Veteran’s Memorial–a local woman representing a nation-wide wound.

"This is the best location we could find in order to have one of these because it is a place of honor," Memorial Garden Director Ron Lechner said.

The Blue Star Military Mothers of Nebraska showed up to help with the event. Many of their children signed up to fight because of the terror attack.

"For the first responders," mother Lisa Compton said. "for the police, for the firemen. I think that out of that event came a sense for us to unite as a country."

Jennifer leaves behind a legacy. The Jennifer L Dorsey-Howley Performing Art Center at her alma mater, Lincoln Southeast High School, in addition to memorial scholarships at Southeast and Southwest.