Houlton Resident Remembers Family Lost on 9/11

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 7:05 PM EDT
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It’s been 20 years since the tragic events of September 11th. Though those alive that day will never forget the details of what happened, for some, the memories of those lost are much more personal.

“If you could speak to Donald, right now, what is the one thing you would like to get across to him?”, asks Brian Bouchard of WAGM

“Oh, how much he was loved as a dad, as a husband, as a brother-in-law. He and I had a very close relationship”, Cecilia Rhoda, of Houlton remembers.

Cecilia Rhoda remembers September the 11th, 2001 vividly.

“Even today, when I see a crystal clear blue sky with very few clouds I think of 9/11”

Rhoda remembers learning of the planes hitting the World Trade Center. After confirming that her son, who was working in Manhattan was safe, she called her sister Claudette Greene, who lived in Connecticut with her husband, Donald.

“She said, no I don’t know what’s going on but Don flew out this morning… And about an hour later she called me and informed me that Don had been on flight 93. He was headed to San Francisco to meet his brothers. They were going on a hiking trip.”

Donald Greene was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 93, the commercial airliner that was hijacked as part of the terrorist plot that day. After learning of the other hijackings and attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the passengers and crew members of the flight realized that their plane was likely part of the same plot and decided to act. They fought back against the hijackers in an attempt to regain control of the aircraft. Greene, having been a lifelong pilot, would have been one of the only people on board capable of flying the Boeing 757, had they successfully gained control of the cockpit. Flight 93 went down in a field outside the town of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

And while Rhoda recognizes that her brother-in-law was more likely than not, one of the heroes of that day, she remembers the man she knew and what he meant to his family.

“I would consider Donald as being just one of the best of the best. He had a joy for life that was unparrelled. He loved his family… He was the epitome of a 150% dad. I mean, He was so proud when Charlie was born and then when Jody was born even more, his little girl…I think one of the biggest tragedies in losing Don was that my sister had to become a single parent, she did an amazing job, and the sad part is that their dad, can not enjoy their tremendous success”

Outside of the Houlton courthouse sits a flagpole, donated by Rhoda, dedicated to Donald Greene and all the heroes of United Airlines Flight 93.

Donald Greene was portrayed in the movie United 93 by David Rasche. The film is a dramatization of the real life events of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11th.

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