Monday, September 11, 2006

2,996 - in memoriy of 9/11/2001 - Martin Coughland

2996 Martin John CoughlanOn September 11th, 2001 Martin Coughlan, 54, of County Tipperary, Ireland, a carpenter, died. He was just one of the 2,996 victims of the coordinated terrorist attacks against the United States. Below are some of the articles written about this father of four daughters, Orla, Ailish, Sinead and Denise, and beloved husband of Catherine Coughlan.

"I'm trying to get out"
....Irish carpenter Martin Coughlan, from County Tipperary, is also missing. He last spoke to his wife Catherine on the phone from the lift on the 96th floor of the south tower just after the second hijacked plane plunged into the skyscraper complex.

Martin and Catherine Coughlan lived in the Queen's district of New York after moving with their four daughters to the US 14 years ago. Martin's sister-in-law, Josie Coughlan said the family is devastated. She said: "Catherine is devastated. They tried the hospitals yesterday looking for Martin but it looks bleak." from BBC news, 2001

Carpenters union hit hard
On the morning of September 11, 2001, 21-year-old Brian Monaghan and Martin Coughlan, 53, were on top the world - literally.

Monaghan, who had lived in the old Manhattan Irish stronghold of Inwood, and Coughlan, a Tipperary native, were two of 150 carpenters working on the highest floors of both Twin Towers. Then the world collapsed around them.

While the numbers of missing and dead for the city's rescue workers are staggering, heavily-Irish unions such as Carpenter's Local 608, also lost many brothers in the lower Manhattan carnage.

Like Monaghan, many had spent their lives in New York's Irish enclaves. Others such as Coughlan had come to America to raise children - Coughlan had four - and make a better life. Terror was never in the plans. But as of last Tuesday, some 16 union carpenters alone are missing or dead as a result of the terrorist attack. Irish Voice 2001-09-26 00:00:00+01

Carpenter With Goals
Martin Coughlan was raised in Cappawhite, a small village in County Tipperary, Ireland, but his family said he had no trouble fitting into life in the big city. He moved here in 1987 with his wife, Catherine, and their four daughters, Orla, Ailish, Sinead and Denise.

A carpenter in Ireland, he immediately set about finding work in the trade. Mrs. Coughlan said the family left because there were better job opportunities here than in Ireland. But Mr. Coughlan also had a love for Elvis Presley, Graceland and western movies, which may have been a small part of the inspiration to immigrate.

Shortly after they came to New York, Mrs. Coughlan told her husband that she did not want the family to live in an apartment. Mr. Coughlan zealously pursued jobs, often working seven days a week, and the family moved to a house in Bayside, Queens."He just wanted a comfortable home and a car that worked and to see that we were educated," said his eldest daughter, Orla Bowie.

His job with the Sweeney and Heekin Carpentry and Dry Wall Corporation of Long Island City took him to buildings all around Manhattan. On Sept. 10 and 11, 2001, Mr. Coughlan, then 53, was working on the 92nd floor of 2 World Trade Center.

The Coughlans' daughters now range in age from 28 to 20. Two have completed college. "I was finally getting him to relax on Sundays," Mrs. Coughlan said. "We were just getting our life back." Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on June 30, 2002.

The Carpenter From Cappawhite
He was born in the shade of the Galtees,
From the village of Cappawhite he did hail,
But after September the eleventh,
No more would he return to his Golden vale.
He died on top of the world,
With his hammer in his hand,
And he broke the hearts of so many
Back home in his native land.
So goodbye Martin John Coughlan,
With that smile all loving and true,
Sleep now with the angles in heaven,
Goodbye my friend, and god bless you.
Mossie -- anonymous (Friend {}) 09 Oct 2002 Age: 53 Occupation: Carpenter Worked for: Originally from: Cappawhite, Co Tipperary Resided in: Queens, NY Martin brother Finbar,

CNN Memorial Site
On September 11, 2001, four U.S. planes hijacked by terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania killing nearly 3,000 people in a matter of hours. Behind the staggering number of deaths are the individuals, each of whom left behind family, friends and co-workers who feel the national tragedy on a personal level. has established a site as an evolving record of those who died and a place for readers to build a living memorial for them.

How can I make this person I never knew real to you? Maybe this will do it. From the Irish tribute pages:

Martin John Coughlan was my father.

But, he wasn't just my father because I just so happened to be born. He was my father because

he... cared about me.

raised me.

Loved me.

Picked me up from dance class never being a second late.

encouraged me.

Gave me someone to look up to.

Made me laugh.

Gave me everything I ever needed, even when I didn't deserve it.

taught me.

He was the best father anyone could ever have.

There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about you Dad. We all miss you!

-- Denise Coughlan (Daughter {}) 20 Oct 2002

Victims. Two thousand nine hundred and ninty nine is the official count of the deaths caused by the first serious terrorist attacks in our own country in many years.

The number is too limited. While only that many died, many more had their lives destroyed that day. For my man, Martin, there were five in his immediate family that had their hearts broken. "They tried the hospitals yesterday looking for Martin but it looks bleak". The hope that they would find their father and the prayers that Catherine must have prayed as they searched for him, wilting as they realized he was not among the wounded, dying as they faced the fact that their man would never be home again.

How I hurt then as a caring bystander. Having lost the mate, I hurt as a fellow mother and wife. Earlier I lost my father and now I can understand the pain and saddness of the daughters. My children and I know how the sudden and unexpected death of the man of the family can not only hurt your heart but change your everyday life in ways you can't foresee. Every one of the victims of 9/11 devastated a family and friends. I can not imagine the tsunami of ripples in the life of the city and nation this attack cause.

Martin was the same generation as my mate and I. A peer. If we had met we might have been friends. The tributes for him and the one photo I have found show a smiling man with kind eyes. He loved and was loved by his family and friends. He was a comic and and singer at parties he attended. He was Irish and I imagine him with a thick brogue rolling through "Danny Boy" with friends, toasting his wife over a glass of champagne, laying his arm over the shoulder of a daughter and smiling at her. I ache for them.

The total number of people who were personally affected by the murders committed on 9/11 is unknowable. The trickle effect has spread the pain of the loss of these people to many of us that never knew them. We must make sure the people responsible are punished.

This article about the Interim Memorial Center was published on Wednesday. Each family has contributed items for display remembering their loved one.

We do not forget.

links to 9/11 Memorial sites on the web

Say what you feel


At Comments7/9/06 18:39, Blogger Carl said...

Val, thank you.

At Comments8/9/06 00:45, Blogger Suzi said...

I'm crying again. I usually don't bawl till 9/11 when I watch their faces flash by. But reading through the tributes is hurting and helping my heart at the same time.

Thank you for this wonderful tribute.

"Terror was never in the plans." I wish it were never in anyone's plans.

At Comments8/9/06 09:57, Blogger Auntie Lyn said...

I was so moved reading your tribute to Martin. Yes, there is something that we, who have lost the love of our life, bring to the table that others might not understand. The world is a little smaller with Martin Coughland gone, but the heavens are so bright. My thoughts and prayers are with Catherine and the girls, and all those who loved this gentle man. Thank you for this tribute.
Auntie Lyn

At Comments8/9/06 10:26, Blogger Valerie - Riding Solo said...

You are welcome Carl.

My heart broke for the ones left here to try and patch their lives back together when this happened, Suzi, then I lost my mate this January and truely knew their pain.

The heaven is bright, Auntie, but I still miss the warmth here sometimes.

All we can do is never forget until the ones responsible pay their debt.

At Comments8/9/06 10:57, Blogger dan said...

I wish I could read all 3000+ tributes.

I'm sure going to try.

At Comments8/9/06 17:36, Blogger Tish said...

Thank you for sharing Martin's story. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Thanks also for visiting my tribute to Judson Cavalier.

At Comments8/9/06 22:27, Anonymous Marti said...

That is a lovely tribute. Thank you for participating. My heart goes out to all of the families.

At Comments9/9/06 17:03, Anonymous Jaci said...

Wonderful tribute! I didn't think tears were still left, but every tribute I read, they keep coming. Godspeed!

At Comments9/9/06 21:50, Blogger Valerie - Riding Solo said...

I am going to try to read them all but it's going to take awhile and a lot of kleenx...

Thank you all for the kind words.

Please don't just cry. Keep after our representitives to bring some closure to this.

At Comments10/9/06 07:34, Blogger brian said...

Thank you for giving Martin back to the world. Thank you for holding his picture up and showing that he is still here. Thank you for sharing his family's words.

Please stop by my tribute to Gibert and leave a link and comment so that others can come here to read.

At Comments10/9/06 16:17, Blogger Katherine said...

That was a beautifully written tribute. I feel like I really know a lot about this amazing man now. I also had no idea so many union men were lost that day. Thanks for stopping by my tribute to Marjorie C. Salamone.

At Comments10/9/06 17:06, Blogger Zephra said...

I can tell this meant a lot to you. You posted a beautiful tribute.

Mine is up.

At Comments12/9/06 01:24, Anonymous flaggazer said...

Thank you for this beautiful tribute. We lost so many beautiful souls that day.

At Comments12/9/06 08:38, Anonymous Ma said...

Awesome tribute to this man. All these tributes are so touching. Thank you for sharing. and yhank you for stopping by.

At Comments12/9/06 12:13, Blogger Valerie - Riding Solo said...

Thank you all for stopping in and caring.

At Comments12/9/06 14:37, Blogger Babaloo said...

A very nice tribute to Martin. He was a very handsome man and from what you gathered and shared, a great father who is sorely missed. Great job.

At Comments14/9/06 09:04, Blogger Digital Fortress said...

Thank you, your tribute was beautiful.

Five years have come, and five years have gone, and still we stand together as oneā€¦

I did not know any victims, but I learned a lot about my asigned person. His tribute is on my blog.

9/11 is what compelled me to re-join the military and do my part.


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