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Looking back, looking forward

Published: Sun, September 11, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Ashley Luthern



John Koborie sits in his living room, surrounded by reminders of his daughter’s life.

The piano she played rests along a wall. Her smile beams from a childhood photo that hangs alongside portraits of her three siblings. The carpet where she and her friends played during sleep-overs is the same.

In the corner, a stone angel and a teddy bear serve as reminders of her death.

Rebecca Koborie, the oldest daughter of John and his wife, Julianne, died Sept. 11, 2001. She was an executive secretary for the insurance company Marsh & McLellan, working on the 97th floor of the World Trade Center when terrorists hijacked planes and rammed them into the tower.

The angel and teddy bear in the living room were given to the Kobories by Rebecca’s friends in New York, people they had never met.

It’s been 10 years since the attack, but to John, it doesn’t seem that long ago.

“The way the memory of a lot of people is, it becomes more and more stale,” he said. “People forget as time goes on. But in our mind, it’s just like it happened yesterday.”

John recalled going to New York City with Julianne to search for Rebecca.

“We had been told people were badly hurt, badly burnt and in hospitals, but that was not the case,” John said.

They never found her.

John took some pictures during that trip — pictures he hasn’t looked at in years. He said he doesn’t need to look.

“The picture stays in my mind, with all the mangled metal [at ground zero],” he said. “It was blown up and burned down. It gave me a sense of helplessness. When I look at it, no way, no how anybody had a chance of getting out of there.”


A lot has happened in the life of Jackie Lynch in 10 years. She moved back to the Mahoning Valley and then relocated to Philadelphia. Her two daughters, Tiffany Marie, 32, and Ashley Nicole, 27, are grown. She’s a grandmother.

And she’s gone through these life changes without the love of her life.

Her husband, Terry Lynch, an Ursuline High School and Youngstown State University alumnus, worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, a worldwide consulting company with offices in Virginia. On Sept. 11, 2001, Terry had a meeting at the Pentagon.

He didn’t come home.

“We’ve taken 10 years to mourn,” Jackie said. “It’s time to move on.”

Lynch, an Austintown Fitch graduate, had taken an active role among the families of victims of the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon. She advocated for the families’ inclusion during memorial ceremonies and for increased security measures.

“I’m really shocked we haven’t been attacked by them again. A lot of people have paid a price” to ensure that safety, she said, referring to the U.S. military.

Lynch has since stepped back from her advocacy role, but will attend ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks in Washington, D.C., which include a service at the National Cathedral and a special performance at The Kennedy Center.

“Every Sept. 11 we do something, but we are not going to moan, and we’re not going to mourn anymore. It’s just too much,” Jackie said.

She said her husband lives on through memorials at YSU and the Pentagon, foundations and their grandchild, 5-month-old Terence Jackson (T.J.), Terry’s namesake.

Jackie said she can feel her husband’s presence. She recalled her daughter Tiffany’s wedding when the sun shone so brightly she couldn’t see the couple.

“It was like he surrounded them. That’s how Terry comes out. During the memorial services, the sun will come out. That’s how we always know he’s so close to us,” she said.

To the Kobories, Rebecca lives on, too.

“We still keep her in our minds very much every day, as matter of fact every minute,” John said.

John will return to ground zero today with his son and granddaughter for the dedication of the National September 11 Memorial.

He said ever since his grandchildren were young, they were told about Rebecca and what happened on 9/11.

“They have no conception of the attacks. You have to explain it to them and of course they can’t comprehend how that can happen — an airplane being flown into a building,” John said.

“They conceive it as mystery. They can’t believe that that can actually happen. Neither did I. To me, it’s still a mystery,” he continued.

He also called it destiny — destiny that he traveled around the world in the Army and returned from every conflict unscathed.

“I came back here from the service, and this has to happen,” he said. “What did I do in this world to deserve this?

“There is a reason. I don’t know what it is. I’ll probably never find out as long I’m on this earth, but there is a reason.”

He fell silent.

“Who can answer that?” he said.


1Rockyroad(149 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

There is no other way to look at 9/11 but as a tragedy. The problem is that we, as a country, lacked the wisdom and the insight needed to prevent that sucker-punch from causing us to over-react and enter two needless wars.
We are a nation that over-reacts and that over-reaction to the events of 9/11 have caused us to self-inflict more damage on our nation than the terrorists ever could have imagined.
We needed a police-action and instead we sent our best and brightest off to lands that could not be conquered. We wanted revenge; we wanted an eye for an eye. Well, we certainly got it; eyes, arms, hands, legs, senses, nerves and worst of all lives of the young. Now we have countless lives disrupted, broken, unfulfilled, because we just couldn't take a moment and THINK...we needed leaders who could think, but instead we voted for a cowboy, who based decisions on his "gut", because he seemed like a guy you could have a beer with. Well lots of these poor kids never came back to have a beer and never came back with a "gut" so they will never eat solid food again.
As a nation, we have inflicted mortal damage to ourselves over the last 10 years. Ten years out it is a time for reflection about ourselves. It should make us reflect on how to make better decisions; on how to speak truth to power; on how to drop the "culture" wars and focus on the common good.
I am not hopeful at all that we can do this because it seems that we have used the last 10 years to become even more divided as a nation. We watch and listen and read things that enforce negative images of each other; images that are in the extreme; images that divide us; some of our leaders even promote division such as secession of states from the union. Osama Bin Laden himself couldn't have imagined that the events of 9/11 would have caused such a knee-jerk reaction from the most powerful nation on earth. And, after 9/11, he and his minions didn't have to lift a finger; the very citizenry of the United States, carried on the destruction for him.
So cry for the victims of the actual 9/11 attacks as you watch TV today; but save some tears for all the kids whose lives we've ruined since that day. Start by removing those "I support our troops" stickers from your cars for they are the height of hypocrisy; support the troops by bringing them home to a country that is united and wise in its decisions.

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2WarrenRicheyKid(169 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

"We needed a police-action and instead we sent our best and brightest off to lands that could not be conquered."

Very well said. Your post deserves a wider audience. The terrorists knew our weaknesses, better than we ourselves.

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3Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

On 9-11-01 we had a learning experience with Islam . It was a clash of cultures that showed their intolerance . We had gained too much control in their part of the world . They retaliated and showed us that they could have control in our part of the world whenever they desired . Their war is far from over . When they detect a weakness they will exploit it as soon as we let our guard down . The saying ,"Only the strong survive", says it all .

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4VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

I was at the temporary memorial of Flight 93 back in the spring of 2002 and it was a very, very moving experience. It reminded me that we should always be vigilant, always be ready and never let down our guard. We pay a big price for being Americans...don't let those who died for us down, if we do then they have died in vein.

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5Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

DoninFL :

This is 9-11-11 and it is ten years later . Get over it as your attempt to put the blame elsewhere isn't taking root . Your leader Osama has tasted the saltiness of the ocean water and is feeding the sea life at the bottom . We have hit a line drive and are still holding the bat .

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6computer_rick(137 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

I love reading the opinions of the folks slamming the Dems. And I think to myself, do any of these pseudo patriots, like Stan or Hunter21 even have day one of service to their country in the military? And, no, I do not count civil (simple) service jobs with 20 year retirement plans.

I mean, if you are going to yap about the military, and what goes on in it, at least come at it from some real experience.

And, yep, if you love to talk about the military, and going to war, and you have no military experience, then you can cram it. Gutless weasels, every one of you.

If you are prior service, then you have every right to say whatever you want. And you are my brother or sister, otherwise, you are just a four flusher.

Now go get your eye opener at Bill's Place. Doors open at 5:30 a.m.! Go solve the worlds problems! And tell how you would be a vet, but... "hey, I would have been drafted, but my uncle was on the board, and wouldn't let me join".

Sound familiar?

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7TylerDurden(367 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Biden stayed awake for the speech?

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8DwightK(1535 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Rocky, great post. Especially this:

"So cry for the victims of the actual 9/11 attacks as you watch TV today; but save some tears for all the kids whose lives we've ruined since that day. Start by removing those "I support our troops" stickers from your cars for they are the height of hypocrisy; support the troops by bringing them home to a country that is united and wise in its decisions."

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9Peregrine(47 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

I missed Pres. Bush's part of the Shanksville Memorial program, but I have to credit Pres. Clinton (not my favorite person) on his remarks. They seemed very well thought out and from the heart. He pondered what it is in the human spirit that allows people the courage to take action even though they know the result will be their deaths. He cited the Alamo and the Battle of Thermopylae with great eloquence and concluded that he hoped the world would likewise remember these heroes 2500 years from now as well.

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10GoPens(397 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Stan--continuing to show ignorance now for 8,698 posts and going strong. At this rate, you'll hit 10,000 by Halloween.

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11Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Stan the stupd times 10,000
And the vindy will not take him / her off is more stupid PLEASE look at the hate he /her is spreading

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12Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

I see that you are still captivated and not quite free at last . . ..

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13Rockyroad(149 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Hunter 21...folks who think like you do, worried about party distinction, calling Bill Clinton a "sex addict" instead of looking at the person and the ability to lead...that is what is wrong with us...we are in culture wars and we make the enemy our fellow citizens and we make poor decisions...do not elect a person because they are for or against something near and dear to you, but they have little intelligence....because when something like 9/11 happens it really doesn't matter if the leader has 100 mistresses and is from the wrong poltical party or he is for or against abortion or the death penalty or any one of a million cultural issues...THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS CAN HE OR SHE CANE THINK AND LEAD...we made very poor decisions before 9/11 in choosing a leader and that may have even caused 9/11 to occur despite repated warnings...after 9/11 cooler heads should have prevailed...we lost our treasure and our way and presented Al Qaeda with a victory that continues to take American lives and treasure....but folks like you, "cowboys" never get it...you focus on things that are meaningless because of pride and stupidity.

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14Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Good grief there is so much ignorance on the subject.

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