Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Jean D Roger Lived Until September 11, 2001


"May you have love, happiness, and peace of mind because really, in the end, everything else just comes and goes."
Jean D Rogér
June 28, 1977 - September 11, 2001
We all know what happened on that profoundly tragic day already 6 years ago. Even for those of us who didn't know a single person who died that day or didn't even know someone who did lose someone, the sense of loss was, and as I write this still is, just overwhelming beyond belief.

Thanks to D. Challener Roe’s Project 2,996, and especially the efforts of those involved last year, tributes have been made to many of those 2,996 individual people who lost their lives due to the events of that grim day on September 11, 2001. It's important to remember that each of the huge 2,996 number represents people, real people, with families and friends, and hobbies and things like favorite foods or movies and everything else that makes us individuals.

Somehow in last year's project, Jean D. Rogér, beloved daughter of Tom & Eileen Rogér, little sister to Jimmy Rogér, sweetheart of Kevin Dowd, and good friend to many upon more many, Jean didn't receive tribute. This year I'm giving tribute because Jean's beautiful smile compelled me to find out more about who she was and share her life with others, even if I didn't know her. About that smile, the CBS article that really helped me to get started in finding out more information has this to say:
"Even as a baby, she's always had her smile," says Jean’s mother Eileen. "When she walked in a room, she smiled, and just lit it up."
Others noticed Jean's smile, too, whether or not they knew her. Jean's page at Legacy.com covers 7 pages (!), and here are just a couple of comments about that special smile that also drew me in:
I am a Flight Attendant for Continental Airlines....from the moment I saw Jean's picture posted on the AFA website's memorial board, something in her smile drew me to learn more about her. She seems like she was a wonderful person, full of everything that is good. My mother and father are both deceased, and I say a prayer quite often to both of them to look out after Jean until she can be reunited with her loved ones one day. Pam (FL)
Never met her, never knew her, but looking at her smile, I feel I have. God Bless. Andrew Mackey (Weymouth, MA)
It's not nearly as important just how Jean died as it is so very important just how Jean lived, and from everything I can gather, right up until September 11, 2001, Jean Destrehan Rogér did live - and then some, packing plenty into her short life, though she couldn't have known it would end at 24 years young.

Jean graduated from Longmeadow High School in Longmeadow, MA in the Class of 1995, and she was involved in both golfing and swimming. Today the high school's pool bears Jean's name in memory, and such tribute sounds more than appropriate considering this comment below by someone whose life was touched by knowing Jean as a fellow swimmer:
Jean and I swam together for a few years at Longmeadow High School. I remember so well how she supported me, the lonely freshman on the freestyle relay. She was so kind and an extraordinary leader. Her smile will live in my heart forever. Though I was not extremely close to her, I do know that she was a genuinely warm hearted person with a wonderful, supportive family. Jean, you will always be remembered. Leah Halsey
Of course, it does sound from a friend of a best friend of Jean's that Jean knew how to have some fun, too, not just beam that smile or run around being all good, all the time:
I had heard so much about [Jean] through Anne, hilarious stories of them growing up, sneaking cars out, and other silly adolescent stories etc ;), that when I finally met her I feel as though I knew her! Ashley Miller (Alexandria, VA)
Jean seems to have had just as much fun and made just as much of an impact on those fortunate enough to have been around her during her 4 and a half years at Penn State. Jean was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, was known to some by the nickname Beano (or Jeanbean to others), and provided good pep talks and plenty of fun, according to another visitor who signed one of Jean's memorial guest books:
Two years later and the memories are so vivid from this day in September. However, the 4 years I was able to spend time with Jean and live alongside her in Cooper Hall at Penn State will be cherished forever. I just remember the wild and crazy days we all had together and the times that Jean would give me a pep talk or just convince me to go out with her if I was having a bad day. Beano, I'm sorry that I didn't have a chance to spend time with you after our days at school, and to her family-you did a wonderful time in raising Jean, and I feel blessed that I God allowed our paths to cross. Jennifer Shipe
Other college friends have similar thoughts about Jean, too:
Dear Roger Family,
My thoughts and prayers are with you today as they have been on countless days over the last five years. Jean and I were great friends in college. She was truly one of those special friends who I felt bonded to my soul. I try to remember to live with the same kind of fun-loving, laid-back joy that she had every day. Her sincerity and kindness made everyone feel like the most special person in the room. Miss your smile and the good times Jeannie. Devon Lee Tanweer (Mount Laurel, NJ)

I knew Jean in college. While I may not have known her as well as many of you who have written entries, she is very much remembered. She had a presence - she could make a room brighten up and her personality just shined. I enjoyed our friendship and enjoyed being with her. I always think of Jean and especially on this day. Julie Morse Kenney (Glenside, PA)
Here, too:
I consider myself blessed for every day I knew and spent with Jean in college. I even more so consider myself blessed for the lessons she taught me that I will carry with me forever. I am a better person as a result and will forever keep her in my daily thoughts and prayers. You are all right about her smile...and that was only the beginning sign of what a great person she was. We all love you and miss you Jean! Stephanie Mohr (Boyertown, PA)
Yet again, here, too:
I knew Jean years ago while at Penn State. She truely was as caring and as fun as everyone says she was. I was deeply saddened to learn that she was lost in these horrific acts. My thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family. [sic] Dan Meehan (Arlington, VA)
Jean had earned her degree in environmental science from Penn state, but she was a people person with an adventurous spirit, and being a flight attendant seemed perfect, and so even after completing that degree, Jean pursued this flight attendant dream of hers, too. I get the idea that Jean was just as determined as she was smart and caring, so it's really not terribly surprising that she went after her dreams and shined brightly while doing so. According to one of Jean's instructors (and Alejo says plenty more, but this is just a snippet):
Shiny is a word that it could describe her, she shined thru the training, she shined with her eagerness to fly, she shined with evry question she asked, she shined the day we pinned her wins in Dallas in 2000 and the will always shine in my heart and in many peoples hearts from heaven. [sic] Alejo Larocca (Buenos Aires-Argentina)
Aside from shining so bright as a student, once again, those who knew Jean during flight attendant training or work have also commented on just how much fun Jean added to their lives, a theme I keep finding no matter where I turn in finding out more about the person behind that smile:
Jean- I still think of you all the time. I will remember you always;and will never forget that beautiful smile and your love of life. God Bless you and your family. Amy D. (Decorah, IA)
The previous entry before mine is from a Dear Friend that was also in Jean's training class. I was a class behind them, but, Amy and I still keep in contact and Jean is always on our minds. I had the pleasure to meet Jean through training and when we were based together in Chicago. What a fun, vibrant person Jean was and such a joy to fly with. I don't think a day goes by that I am not thinking of her and the other friends and crewmembers we lost on that dreadful day! To the Roger Family, you have always been in my prayers even though I haven't had the opportunity to say so. Hilary W, Former AA Flight Attendant (Hopewell, VA)
And from another fellow flight attendant:
My heartfelt sympathies for you Jean's close friends and her family. I attended flight attendant training with Jean and her smile and laughter helped us through many days. I also had the opportunity to fly some trips with her when she got to move back to Boston to be home again. She was so wonderful. I always looked forward to working with her. I thank you for sharing her quote that she left her sweet boyfriend in his b-day card. I read it often and think of her, and how she is smiling down on all of us. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless you and God Bless Jean. My Thoughts and Prayers, Amy D.
The quote from the birthday card mentioned above is one of those things that has haunted me, in a good way, and has stayed in my mind as I found out more about the life of Jean Rogér and have let her smile and her spirit enter my own heart. Again from the CBS story, Jean's mom, Eileen, had this to share:
In the days leading up to Sept. 11, Jean was surrounded by her family. “We had a really nice family weekend. We played golf with her boyfriend. And actually, she and I beat the guys that day. She took great pride in that one. Our family has always been very close. And she was here. And we were delighted in every bit of it.”
Just knowing that Jean spent what would turn out to be her last days in the warm embrace of family would bring some sense of solace in the face of such sad tragedy, but somehow Jean managed to take her legacy even further, not even realizing the impact that her words would have on those who knew Jean, those who loved Jean, and even on those who had never even met Jean.

You see, September 10, 2001 was an important day in Jean's life because it was the 30th birthday of her sweetheart of 2 years, Kevin Dowd, and Jean took him out to celebrate and to enjoy spending time together in Boston where Kevin worked. From a New York Times article via Legacy.com, we know this about that night, September 10, 2001:
That night Ms. Rogér gave Mr. Dowd a card that, he said, summed up her general life philosophy. "She wished me to have love, happiness and peace of mind because really, everything else just comes and goes," Mr. Dowd said. Despite a late night, the following morning "she went to work with a smile on her face," Mr. Dowd said. "She was happy as could be."
Since Jean had only been flying about 18 months, her assignments were typically last minute while on the stand-by list, and it was early morning on September 11 that Jean arrived at Boston's Logan International to find out where the day might take her if asked to fill in on a flight. According to Jean's dad, Tom, this kind of crazy and different everyday schedule was something Jean enjoyed, and Jean was happy to be assigned to this flight, American Airlines Flight 11, headed to Los Angeles that she knew had such a great crew.

Sadly, this was the first plane to crash that cruel day, flying into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46AM, alerting the world that everything had changed. Forever.

And yet, Jean Rogér's smile will never leave my mind, and her words ring so very true in my heart that they are worth repeating again:

"May you have love, happiness, and peace of mind because really, in the end, everything else just comes and goes."

My goal has been to share what I've been able to learn about Jean Rogér from whatever sources I could find, and I do hope that I've not only told a part of Jean's story that will touch others as it has touched me to write it, but I also do sincerely hope that I've not stepped on any toes or feelings along the way and that everything I've written is accurate and a fair representation of this beautiful person named Jean. If I have erred, please do contact me (link to my website will take you to my email address, or you may simply leave a comment since I do read them) so that I can make right anything that isn't exactly as it should be.

I've tried to reference well within the post itself, but here is a list of links I found useful while learning about Jean:
Jean Roger - September 11 Memories
Guest Book - Jean D. Roger
Jean D. Roger Legacy.com
The Untold Story of Flight 11 Part One and Part Two
September 11, 2001 Victims Jean Roger, 24, Longmeadow, MA
Jean Roger - September 11 Memories
The Longmeadow Information Network for Kids - .pdf meeting minutes
In Memorium
Jean D. Roger
American Airlines Flight 11

23 comments:

  1. A beautiful life to go with that smile.

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  2. thanks for visiting my blog

    yes thanks Dale Roe

    it is so sad
    it effected and still effects so many lives

    The lady I am remembering wasnt paid a tribute last year either
    but we will never forget

    Jean looks so young

    my thoughts and prayers go out to all those who knew and loved this lady especially Kevin

    well done Maggie you did well in your research :)

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  3. What a wonderful tribute. She sounds like she was quite a lady!

    I will never forget....

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  4. Wonderful tribute. So many personal memories to remember her by. I'm glad you included the quote too.
    Thanks for remembering Jean!

    Faina's Tribute

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  5. You did a lovely job with this tribute, for a lovely person.

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  6. You did a FABULOUS job! This one was really hard for me to post all the details because our oldest dd is now 24 and a flight attendant. When I selected Jean's name I didn't know this about her. It hit a bit too close to home. I am so happy to see you were able to include so many details. Again, FABULOUS!

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  7. You did a fantastic job! I am so glad that someone did her tribute this year, since she somehow got missed last year.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Lt. Crisci was indeed a true hero. More people need to be aware of what makes a true hero (actions, not stardom).

    God bless.

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  8. Too many lives cut short. I remember James Edward Potorti.

    Never forget!

    Your tribute brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing woman.

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  9. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful young woman!

    It breaks my heart to think of all the smiles that Jean should have shared these past six years.

    Her family and friends are in my prayers. I wish them "love, happiness, and peace of mind."

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  10. What a wonderful tribute to a remarkable woman. Thank you for the glimpse into Jean's life.

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  11. That was beautiful, and she was a very well loved and beautiful lady herself. I believe that you have done a tremendous job at capturing her spirit through her smile. Thank you!!!

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  12. I had it relatively easy, in posting a tribute to someone I knew. You did a wonderful job researching and telling the personal story of Jean's life and her smile. Thank you for this.

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  13. My 9/11 tribute is for the daughter of old friends - Heather Lee Smith - she was a passenger on Flight 11. Who knows, maybe Jean Roger gave comfort to Heather - and vice versa - in their final moments.

    Maggie, beautiful tribute.

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  14. Wonderful tribute, Maggie! She was such a lovely young woman. Thanks for doing this.

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  15. I like your tribute. I read this to my Husband and he was touched as well. She did look so happy.

    I did a salute to Richard Caproni for the second year. Like Jean, Richard could just as easily have been home that day.

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  16. This is a beautiful tribute, and you are right, she did have a beautiful smile, she seems so approachable and friendly. What a terrible waste.

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  17. Your tribute is beautiful!
    My tribute is for Michael Benjamin Packer.
    God bless.
    Raggedy

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  18. Thanks, Through genealogy I discovered she was a distant cousin, though we never would have likely met. By all accounts a loving and loved person and the world is diminished by her loss and all whp perished that day.

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  19. Maggie,

    Thank you so much for posting this beautiful tribute. You could not have been more spot on. Jean was a beautiful young woman full of life and she is missed every day. She will always be remembered, and never forgotten, and you have helped many to realize that. Thanks again, Her cousin, Russell

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  20. Maggie-
    You did a beautiful job paying tribute to Jean. It is wonderful the effort you put forth to share Jean's story so people know of her and remember her and 9/11. Thank you for your great work. Jean is smiling down on you.

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  21. I met Jeannie when I was fourteen years-old. I dated her cousin and spent time with Jean, Jimmy and Graham at their Grandparent's house at "The Bay." I was a townie, as they called me, and Jean was considered the baby of the pack that first summer. We didn't spend too much time together that first year that we met, but we began to write to each other and talk on the phone almost every night.


    The following summer, and the one after that, Jean and I spent many a night wreaking havoc at the lake and in town. She had a wild spirit, as do I, and her love of life (and of course that smile) was infectious. She lit up any room that she entered, she laughed all of the time and made us laugh too. There are some memorable evenings spent with Jean that I think back on and I keep those safe in my heart.

    I was living in Washington, DC and will never forget the moment that I saw Jean's name on CNN. It had been only a few months before that I had run into Anne. We were shocked to meet in the Gap, of all places, and Anne told me that Jean had become a flight attendant. She also told me that Jean was going to be visiting in a few weeks. Anne gave me her phone number, but I never called. Our lives had gone in different directions and we had lost touch. I wish that I had called Anne, just to have one more night with Jean.

    I think of her every day. I pray for her, I think of her family and I cry because she was such a beautiful person and the world needed more people like Jean.

    I miss you Jean. Today is September 11, 2010 and you are with all of us. I know that you would not want anyone to be sad. You'd simply say "come on, don't be so sad and link you arm through mine, as you did on so many nights.

    Jean made the world exciting yet incredibly safe. Everything felt better when you were with Jean. She had a way of making the impossible become possible.

    I will never forget you Jean. I will never forget you either Jimmy, Graham, Punky, Gog and Pop and your little white house on the beach. I will never forget swimming in the lake with Jean by moonlight, sharing secrets about love and love lost, and walking the streets of the Bay when life was new and simple, and we had the world at our fingertips.

    I love you, Jean. You are, and forever will be a wonderful memory of my youth. I know that somewhere, someplace, you are still smiling.

    Jillian

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  22. I guess that I will always refer to her as "little Jeannie Roger"...as her pre-school teacher, she is one of those children that always stood out...she was happy, well adjusted, kind, funny, smart...all those endearing qualities. We played a lot of music in Group II at Trinity Nursery School....her favorite song was "You Sing a Song" and "Miss Mary Mack" by Ella Jenkins. I close my eyes and I see an "almost 5 year" old singing her heart out....I think so often of you, Jeannie and your family. It's 9/10/12...another year has gone by...but "little Jeannie", you will never be forgotten. RIP...and I'll sing a song for you.....Zita Rasid

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    1. Hugs to you, Zita. Thank you for sharing this.

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