My tribute to Jean D Roger as part of Project 2,996
(originally posted September 11, 2007)
(originally posted September 11, 2007)
"May you have love, happiness, and peace of mind because really, in the end, everything else just comes and goes." - Jean D RogérJean D Rogér
June 28, 1977 - September 11, 2001
We all know what happened on that profoundly tragic day. 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, 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 the first year's project, Jean D. Rogér, beloved daughter of Tom and 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 (link may now be broken) 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 HalseyOf 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 (sadly, link may be broken):
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 ShipeOther college friends have similar thoughts about Jean, too:
Dear Roger Family,Here, too:
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)
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 (same site, link broken now):
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 (broken link now)
Jean Roger - September 11 Memories
The Longmeadow Information Network for Kids - .pdf meeting minutes
Jean D. Roger
American Airlines Flight 11