Jeannette Remak and Rachel Falcone

Recorded January 29, 2008 Archived January 29, 2008 38:49 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: LMN000075


Jeanette Remak talks about her sister Mary Remak, who was a victim of the 1993 World Trade Center Attack.

Subject Log / Time Code

Jeanette describes what happened to Mary on the day of the 1993 World Trade Center Attack, how there was a 10ft crater where Mary’s desk was, and how Mary survived the attack.
Mary talks about how the government didn’t help her sister, how Mary ended up without financial help.
Jeanette talks about how Mary met her husband Mike: Mike was walking up the stairs behind Mary and said: “I gotta meet those legs.”
Jeanette on how Mary used to go to the bars with her son Pete and his friends, the great relationship she had with her sons.


  • Jeannette Remak
  • Rachel Falcone

Recording Location

Lower Manhattan Booth


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00:04 My name is Rachel Falcone. I'm 23 years old today is the 29th of January 2008. We're here in Foley Square. Would you like to introduce yourself? Yes. Hi. My name is Jeanette Remax on 56 today is the 29th of January. We're up in Foley square and I'd like to talk about my sister Mary rimac koretsky.

00:27 Thank you so much for coming tonight. And so I wanted to just sort of asked. Could you tell me so tell me who your system? Okay, and Mary was Mother with two beautiful voice her husband Michael. She was a employee of the Port Authority Citywide Security at the World Trade Center for 12 years from 81 through 93. She absolutely adored her job and her maroon jacket and grey slack pant uniform.

01:03 And that's really what we want to talk about how much Mary left her job and what she did and what happened to unfortunately.

01:13 Like I said, she was an employee of Citywide Security. They took care of security for both Towers. She started her day down in the basement and work the way up to the 88th floor. Did her rounds do the staircases check the all the doors and all the bells and whistles and she was a supervisor. So she'll also maintained her crew.

01:34 And on the on the day of February 26th, 1993 and I remember it very well. I had sent one of my messengers over to see her with some soup that I had made for her favorite love we didn't know that day. What was going to happen My Messenger got there just about quarter to 12 drop the soup off and saw Mary down in her basement cubicle and for Citywide and he came on back to me and that's when all hell broke loose. I called her at 12:15 to Sushi Garden soup and all I got was ppppppp.

02:12 What's a weird sound on the phone? I called the operator. The operator told me well could just be busy. Don't worry about it. Okay? Well, we're in the back of my photo lab and the radio was on and I heard that there was a Transformer explosion at the Trade Center. So naturally I said that's what happened. You know, that's why the phone is not down. So I went back and I try to get it 1/2 and then we heard that it was something else.

02:41 I tried to get down there. I left my job at 17th Street and 5th Avenue and I tried to get down. There was no way.

02:49 I came back to my office. I was frantic. My brother-in-law was also Port Authority police Lieutenant worked at the George Washington Bridge. I try to get him couldn't get him and then it happened. I got a phone call from the school where the two boys were the brothers had taken them out of classes and said, what do we do?

03:07 So we sorted that situation out and panic was setting in hard. I had Mike my father at home 76 years old and and dad didn't really know what was happening yet. I went home. The newest was rampant all over the TV and I sat for the next 10-15 hours wondering where my sister was because we couldn't find her.

03:31 Her husband came down Michael tried to go down there. They couldn't find if you would need it as a police officer. They wouldn't let him in the site.

03:40 So to cut to the chase, I will give you what happened to Mary.

03:47 Perry was in the explosion. She was literally right underneath it.

03:53 Where her desk was was a 10-foot crater?

03:57 He had to crawl out from there through the smoke.

04:01 The debris everything over dead coworker.

04:05 I managed to get herself up the stairs and out.

04:10 The only thing that she told me that she could remember was that it was snowing that day and that the snow fell so good on her face.

04:19 She was sitting on the street in shock when policeman came over helped her up and one of our Port Authority officials another inspector. There was an inspector for the police department for Port Authority police department Daniel minevich came over and he knew married very well and try to help her along.

04:41 Trying to get into a hospital to an ambulance to something but she was intercepted by that time. The FBI had come on the site the FBI knew that she was in the basement. Now, you have to understand the woman was in shock. Her face was completely black. She didn't know where or who she was but yet the FBI dragged her back into that building into that basement because they knew that Mary knew that basement like the back of her hand. They didn't do it. Once they didn't do it twice. They did it three times according to the FBI records that I found and they weren't particularly nice about it.

05:21 Right on that on that day or that day when it happened when it happened. So you have to figure you have somebody that's already in shock and not only just physical shock from that. But you have to remember she was in the middle of the explosion according to the FBI document that I finally got out which they would not give me. I had to go to the attorney general to get it it said in her own world words. I saw the walls flying out around me.

05:54 From that point

05:56 Well, she was still out there someplace Citywide Security then told her that she could not go to a hospital or do anything that she needed to get back in the building to get people down the stairs. You have to remember there were thousands of people coming down with people coming down those stairs.

06:13 Her and a co-worker went back in the building went back up the stairs and started to bring people out. It wasn't until 2 that morning that I finally got a phone call telling me I'm here. I don't feel well. I don't know what to do.

06:34 Michael finally got them my brother-in-law and took her home. They got it to a hospital. She had ended up with bronchitis really bad case of bronchitis almost two months ago. It was all from the smoke inhalation.

06:47 And that's when it started. That's when it really started. At first. We thought it was just an initial shock, but then I would get the phone calls at 3 in the morning. I can't sleep because I can't stand the noise and she lived out in the middle of Pennsylvania Washington Crossing does nothing there but dear it's not like she lived next to a roadway or something like that. You couldn't stand the noise cuz she would hear it in her ears.

07:14 She couldn't stand it. She would Shake she would cry she couldn't control it. She found that she was no longer able to get into elevators. She could not be confined. She had to give up her dentist because he was on the 12th floor of a building. She couldn't go there anymore.

07:31 And we watched her from that point on slowly unwind just unwind unwind things would happen. She she would all of a sudden just there was a situation that has happened at home. It was Easter when my dad's house my friend myself, my father's wife or mother had passed away a long time ago. My father remarried was sitting there my father and I decided we were going to go out and get pastry for everybody and it's this stupid thing. But the door on my father's house had a little problem with the lock.

08:12 Gloria and Mary Ann was sitting at my friend Mariah was sitting there are no talking and Mary felt she had to get out and get fresh air just had to end these are the things that we saw were happening. She went to the door couldn't get it open. She freaked out completely started running around the house trying to open the kitchen window so she could jump out. She couldn't open the door that goes down to the bed. She couldn't do ducks just panic and she was just going crazy screaming and hollering and I have to get out and have to get out when we came back and she was hysterical crying.

08:45 My friend was there when she was like what's going on here, you know and my father's wife was like if you weren't I don't think you know, what happened. What happened come in My Father's Day. Mary was realized I couldn't get out I couldn't get out. I couldn't get out what you mean. He walked over here.

09:03 Get out at that point. She just I have to leave I have to leave and this is what we started to see.

09:12 Living at home for the boys with a nightmare.

09:16 When she was supposed to be getting checks for disability workman's compensation. She got a check they cut it off. They took it back.

09:27 She managed to get some disability for what that was worth know. They held her liable for that too. So pretty soon. She was getting no funding at all. She could not go back to work. She went to the psychiatrist. They tried to help her she could not be helped. She was like a wild animal. There was no way to describe this. We saw what was wrong with her. And I know I talked to Michael and and my father tried to tell everyone said they couldn't help her there was nothing we could do.

10:01 It got to the point.

10:06 It's a family spot.

10:10 We could no longer talk.

10:13 Get her to respond.

10:15 Try to communicate in any way.

10:20 Long story short

10:23 She went through this horror for 5 years 5 years. The last time that she showed up in my office on 17th Street. It was 94 degrees and she came in. It's soup.

10:39 You're talking about a woman who had close to the nth degree and she was a striking woman shoots life with 10 beautiful face good figure all of it. Then would stop when she walk down the street.

10:59 Just turn into a I hate to say this she turned into a bag lady. She did she was miserable. She used to walk around the streets of New York and only place she could go is to a church because

11:16 To all of this

11:19 The Port Authority state of New York

11:23 Did nothing he did nothing.

11:26 They wouldn't consider helping her. She obviously she she had to give her job because she could no longer work that happened like the first 6 months. It was over at that point.

11:39 So this is what we were left with.

11:44 My last conversation with her when she called me one night and she said can she come and live with me? I know your back is very bad. I've I've had spinal surgery and that's all of it to you. But why don't you come down and I'll take care of you. She couldn't take care of herself. The boys were living in horror that they were young men at this point. They were already like 18 19 years old, but from the point that this happened up to here.

12:16 It was it was a nightmare the fights with Michael for no reason then my brother-in-law became very sick with liver cancer and he passed away.

12:26 It just destroyed her. She you had to see her. There was no way to describe her. She couldn't even go to the funeral and she just couldn't react.

12:36 It was

12:38 It was a nightmare. It was just a nightmare.

12:42 So November 18th.

12:48 My nephew John who's a police officer in Pennsylvania went to work 5 in the morning?

12:55 And he heard her yelling at the dog who was outside in his doghouse to shut up because he was barking and we left the house. You can forget everything is okay.

13:06 Came home that night 6.

13:10 No lights. Hasn't been fed. Nothing anyone in the house.

13:21 Who is it?

13:25 But as I told the Port Authority representative it or mediation and I waited 14 years to say it.

13:36 She died. She died, February 26th 1993.

13:42 That is good as smart as her that day.

13:46 And I guess the basis of all of this in the reason that we want this is because I want to know that I'm 11 victims do not go through the same thing that we went through but they know that they have to fight and when their Trials come up and they will come up in that Courthouse across the street because that's where we were

14:09 They have to hold on and they have to fight because it seems like

14:16 For some reason and I don't know why because I love this country.

14:21 When it comes down to money and responsibility.

14:28 Nobody wants to nobody nobody wants to to help and I know that I look at now and I see these 911 Rescuers that are out there. I mean if Mary would have lived who knows. She probably would have come down with the same thing that these guys are coming down with now.

14:48 And they're fighting to stay alive and nobody's helping them either and that's one of the reasons that we want these stories to come out. We want her story to come out because we feel as much as we did get some justification for her suffering. It's not money the money means nothing to us because that's all that they can give us. There's nothing else to give

15:11 We want to know that someone is taking responsibility since somebody is helping.

15:18 Cuz that's what it was. I was so helpless.

15:22 Helpless and it was nothing to do.

15:26 No matter what that was asking to do and what kills me is I can still remember her.

15:34 In our uniform when she was very proud of I still have or WTC bars that were on her collar. She had a maroon jacket grey pants and white blouse and I remember seeing her coming down The Concourse cuz we were going to lunch and that was one of the last time that I saw her that uniform and that is the picture that steals in mind because she looks so happy. She was so proud that she loved her job.

16:03 And it all came to this my father made a very good statement would 9/11 happened. He says, you know, there's a reason Mary passed away because it she would have seen what happened to her powers. It would have killed her anyway.

16:19 That's why I wanted to do this. That's why the boys wanted to do this because we want people to know.

16:27 Don't give up keep fighting keep fighting. You have to keep fighting to support these people that have been involved in 9/11 and even some others from 93 that is still suffering and he's still you know in court trying to get some kind of compensation. If you would have gotten hurt you no one woman I know out there is through paralyzed. She's blind she's a really bad conditions and she still fighting to get some cuffs station and there's no reason for that.

16:59 These people from 9/11 should not have to go through 14 years of litigation to

17:06 Come to closure.

17:09 And that's why we wanted this to go into the 911 museum because we're going to have a memorialize there for the 93 people and we want that story in there to be told.

17:25 Brave to come in. I mean to really honor her here.

17:30 I want to I want to hear more about son of who she was like what they can't take what they can't take from you. They can take is Mariette 19 years old. I'm going to become a nun what Catholic she wouldn't have become a nun Carmelite Order, which is a nursing order as much as it's a close to order stuff very difficult difficult way of doing things and I remember 10 years old the first time we had gone up to the Bronx where she was living at that point and I saw her in her postulants don't you know the whole week I was like, oh man, you know because she was so striking, you know, it's like I said five foot eleven and it's not a runt like me. She was calling my father OK with the dark hair We R Hungarian. My father has gypsyon on my mother was light-skinned like me with red hair and small and no more of the upper class.

18:30 And no very took after him but she's beautiful. She's striking. She had a look almost like Elizabeth Taylor, but just very unique black hair always done perfectly the long leg switch stuck. My brother-in-law is dead in his tracks and that's how he married her. She was actually coming up the stairs. She used to work at the Port Authority for Greyhound and she was coming up the stairs when Michael was in the police station around the corner cuz he was working in Port Authority for the police and she was coming up the stairs and he was just coming up behind her and he went I got to meet those legs.

19:11 Ran around since to the Greyhound under the operation and he asked her out and yeah, if that's exactly how he met her she was stunning stunning and to see

19:26 In 56 she was young woman. She was a young woman.

19:31 To see how this will just degenerated into the horror. It's difficult. But like I said, she she wanted to become a nun if it didn't work out and it was very hard for her when it when it didn't work out sheet. It wasn't her fault. It was just I think personally maybe she just might have been too young she came out. It was a big struggle for her to come back and come into regular living again, you know, like she was always the party girl. She always had the best dresses in the end. You know, Mom, I need a new pair of shoes this way it didn't you know, that wasn't my mother lived for her wardrobe and

20:14 This is how Mary was makeup was perfect to hear the perfume when she went to work. She went to work and she's ready for Gary. She's my funny. She could be very fun. And she was just a fun-loving. She wasn't depressive. She she was strong. She she loves having a good time. She really loved having a good time. And that's really what I remember. I remember even her friends when I was deciding cuz he was 9 years between us that she was really my big sister. I remember we were kids.

20:51 You know when she will go out to parties with my cousins and stuff like that and none of us could understand why she wanted to become a nun, you know, like this isn't you know, you know, you're up there telling me to go out and buy you the best records out there because you want to tell us, you know, you're going into a Convent but no, it's what she wanted to do. It was a very difficult choice and it really hurt when she when it didn't work out for her, but she overcame it and she she got out there and she went to work and she started Living again and you know doing something listen and

21:27 Just so you know, she loved old people that's when she went into the coma but that's actually what she was doing. She was working in a nursing home and she was taking care of elderly and she was amazing with that. She had such patience for that. It was it was really something to see me. She beat me against the wall, right, but with old people shoes Amazing shoes really miss. I mean her kids don't even know how well she could react with these people and how she could take care of them even at the Port Authority even at the tent in the tower, you know, what some of the homeless that with her and she never like come on the hell out of here. You know that kind of thing.

22:20 She was awesome that way to remember why I just never talked about why she why she let me know you talked about her love of the tax. Why did she work there a regular? How did she start her?

22:34 Well, seriously started a greyhound, which is the best one and at that point Greyhound for some reason. I don't remember exactly why now, but it was it was changing. It was either going into some kind of emerging with somebody else. I'm not sure what it was but it's a point the towers are just gone up and there were tremendous openings there and one of her bosses was actually going to work over there. He was going to go into security. So at that point he said merry is going to be good at the she was a secretary. She was a damn good so it's all right, but she was even a little later. I don't know if I'm going to do this, you know, but she said no I'm going to go over and try it and when she got into it, she loved it. She found herself. I always felt like she should have been a police woman. That's how I always felt but that wasn't her thing. But this when she got into it or she really loved it. She really loved it and then she just went off ignition.

23:34 Just being a worker you know, she and she ended up being a you know supervisor. She likes I think 12 or 14 people behind or something like that. But and she was just amazing as a supervisor to do, you know, and that was one of the sad things she had just sent this one fell out there every day. Every Tuesday. I think it was something like that that they always had Chinese food like a group like you guys do the same thing. I'm sure and she sent this one fell out to go get Chinese food and unfortunately, he didn't make it. That's when the bomb hit.

24:08 And no, I don't think she ever forgave herself that.

24:12 So she had that on her mind to that that this one fell out that she had sent out to get Chinese food got killed and I don't I don't think she ever got all I think that was part of it.

24:24 What was it like to set of I mean, I can't imagine. It's sensitive like not only watch her change, but sort of like what was it like to try to talk or what? Do you remember any of those that was that was a thing sheet. Mary was always the big sister.

24:40 To literally Jeanette you will do this Jeanette you will do that, you know, and it's like yeah, maybe you know, cuz I was not of that breed was something totally different and not there was a constant sister sister fights.

24:57 Even my dad, you know, my dad would want me to go. I will do it my way, you know, so she was very young.

25:04 Strong in that perspective. Nobody pushed her. You didn't push me around she push you out talking to her.

25:14 Yeah, we we had a few Rich. Yeah, we had some real good things that I don't.

25:22 Only because there was one night. That was really hysterical. My sister always had very high here at that time. And my father had just met his wife we weren't feel happy, but that's okay if still missing and no she passed away. So what happened was he said he wanted to talk about dinner now, I'm a lose Cannon, but she was Canon to and being that she was so tall. He wants his Polynesian restaurant and we were both looked at me weird knocking down the mud pies like not just forget it. You know, I mean she had four I was on five, you know, my father was looking at us like what you doing? What are you doing? And Glory was sitting there when she's trying to be so perfect. So Mary says, I have to go to the bathroom come with me because I think she was afraid she's going to hit the deck and she got upset.

26:22 Sam's on the route on the ceiling, you know on the right kind of ornamental. What are you doing?

26:41 It was a way there's a Chinese lady was sitting at the dock. I couldn't breathe. We were rolling because she's walking around in the circle and I could I couldn't stand up. I went down my father looks out from the Bulls and he sees me on the floor and she's walking around in a circle with the Chinese way to just falling out and he's looking for the switch to turn signal 150. My father. Just wanted to be at the top of I want to get out of here. I don't know those two, you know, and he was like why we were bad that night. We had fun like that to we had our fights yet, but we had fun. We have fun great big sister.

27:33 That's why I miss you.

27:35 Cuz I don't have anyone.

27:37 She was all I had.

27:40 Mom and dad are gone.

27:44 I feel very lonely. What do you miss the most about her?

27:48 Oh lots of things are yelling at me for one telling me what to do. Just calling, you know, just just doing usual bull sessions on the phone or what? What kind of what did you buy today? You know that kind of stuff, you know where I went to log Ariens upon on Lexington and I got this in that and or movie See No Evil stuff just usual stuff.

28:15 Cheetos of a writer and she was always after me for that. She she fortunately she saw my first book come out.

28:26 Shoes at the one thing I never found out about till she died was at the funeral people coming up to me.

28:35 And I couldn't believe that funeral people loved her so much. It was amazing. We had a bunch of people there that take people standing on line to come get it was like she has a rock stuck in a way. She was a rockstar and

28:54 You know people come up to me and say all she used to tell me so much about you and everything this like she never said that to me, you know, I couldn't say nothing cuz it's like I didn't know anything about the hunt. You know that she told me that she know I was very surprised with some of the things that I heard and I never knew that she really love me that much.

29:18 Yeah, it was a schmuck.

29:21 You don't pick such as Beach up Quizlet, and it said it was a real Revelation. Actually, I never knew I never knew.

29:35 It seems like you've learned a lot from her and just admired her so.

29:41 If I did and it kills me to see how this ended up this should not have ended up this way. It just showed enough and the oh, yeah, you know, yes, I blame the Clinton Administration. I blame everybody, you know, I blame song Bin Laden and Saddam and all of them and

30:05 Butter

30:08 You know, she she shouldn't have been going to 56. You should have been here to see her grandchild. My one nephews is they just got pregnant and she should have been here to see her grandchild. That's the one thing. She really wanted to see and she should be here when she's not to kill her. Oh my God, she had two boys and they both said she wasn't she was a great mother. She would go out. I mean even when they were young, okay, she was great the typical think of when they got older she used to hang out with their friends and lovers when Pete when Pete finally was of age and he could actually go into a bar. She go to Jersey you go with them and she and everybody loved it should be playing poker with the friends, you know, and if the guys left her you know, she she was a but you know, and that's what Pete really remembers most and

31:08 Actually, I think what would his statement would be would be that he remembers his mom is being his best friend.

31:15 Jonathan is a different kind of individual but Jonathan loves his mother and he he is quiet. Peace a little louder each other in the quiet, but you can see the devastation of walked into and but as far as is

31:35 They they were buds. That's the only word I could fly that they would but they shared everything is shared. Everything is it it was really it was a unique thing to watch.

31:48 Yes, she be sitting up there shooting pool with the boys, you know, and it was right. It's great to say so. Yeah, they did say mr. That way.

31:59 How do you think that you were changed by her in your life?

32:05 I'm a lot.

32:11 I used to worry a lot about this and that the other thing Mary never were and I think if I got anything out of this.

32:21 I don't worry so much anymore.

32:24 I think I got that from her that I don't I sort of don't worry like all this is going to have is going to have is like don't worry about it. Just just fly with it. Whatever happens you work it out, you know, and I think I got that that I'm not a worrier anymore. I kind of put all of that aside doesn't mean a damn thing. Just enjoy it. That was Mary enjoy it have what she did.

32:51 But it comes back to she was robbed literally and was like a cliche, but she was robbed.

32:59 She was robbed. We was robbed.

33:04 When do you feel like you did loser?

33:13 I felt like we really lost her.

33:17 The night that she called me up.

33:20 And this was like maybe for 5 months after it happened.

33:26 And she was just crying so pitifully I don't know how to describe it, but she couldn't stand the noise the noise never stop pictures when the stop in her head. And how do I get away from it? I can't get away from it. And she was just I think then that's when I realized something was desperately seriously wrong. I mean, we all expected that there was going to be some kind of a flashback, you know, you can't go through something like that and there isn't

33:59 But I think about six months into it. I knew this thing was going downhill and I and I really didn't know where to go to cut to get help. I mean I talk to my own Parish priest and you notice and I'll pray pray you okay fine. I'm so that but you know what, we need some intervention hear people, but she was difficult in that respect and and even my father was like what happened. Which ego, you know, when and we just felt at that point that she wasn't coming back. She just wasn't coming back. We figured his six-month Settlements a 20-year we figured you know,

34:39 But it just never turned around never.

34:51 What is a what is what is your happiest memory of her?

34:59 Happiest, I think a wedding.

35:02 What was that like this? I was gorgeous. You know Michael was a little older than that her and I wasn't too sure on Michael but you know, he ended up being my my best bud too, but I think her wedding because I just never saw Mary doing it, you know and it when we went through the whole thing and I do I saw her in her gown and everything is she looks so gorgeous.

35:28 That's the best the best.

35:33 When do you think of her now all the time?

35:41 That's the hardest part because it's like little things that we would do. You know, you just

35:48 Just Go With It

35:50 It's just a void.

35:52 I know people say oh, you know, she's there and yeah, yeah butts decibel isn't their physicals in there.

36:01 What would you do or say if she were I miss you kid.

36:13 I just miss you so much.

36:17 If there were a way to means I do it whatever it was to bring you back, but I know that that's not going to happen.

36:28 Believe me I could do a lot of things, but I just miss her so much.

36:35 Especially now since you know Peyton we are going to have that baby that they level baby means a lot to all of us more so

36:45 What should I know about their mom and their Grandma they should know their mom that grandma would have adored them to the spoil them like nothing you've ever seen and she would have been the proudest grandma on the world.

37:01 And she will love them to the ground and that I hope that

37:06 She has or he has dimples. That's what I hope they listen to I have them too, but she have had her smile.

37:25 Beautiful to hear about

37:27 Thank you. Is there anything else that you'd like to share?

37:32 Yeah, I just would like especially now and I know it's political but because of what happened. I want to make sure that it never happens in this country again.

37:44 I believe that everybody who was going to cast a vote should have that in their head that this country needs to remain protected and whatever it takes to protect.

37:55 911 should not have happened 93 should not have happened. And I don't know if you know what I do, but I'm a military Aviation story and I've written three books. I've worked 12 years with the CIA Declassified material for books and I have to tell you I've met a lot of people and a lot of people with the same conclusion something would happen. In 93, we would not have had 911 and I don't ever I don't want to live to ever see anything like this in this country again.

38:32 So I just hope that whatever the powers are and whoever they are.

38:38 That this country stands strong and does what it has to do.

38:43 Thank you for coming. Thank you.