Title picture: Natural arch, Pabaigh Mor, 19 July 2014

Thursday, 11 September 2014

9/11 - 13 years on

This tribute is published on the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on 11 September 2001, under the auspices of Project 2996.

Jeffrey Dwayne Collman

Image: Family photograph, via http://guy-at-judson.blogspot.com.

Source: Aurora Beacon News, Aurora IL 9-23-2001
Jeffrey Dwayne Collman, age 41, of Novato, California, formerly of Yorkville, IL, a flight attendant for American Airlines, died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City at 8:45a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

Jeffrey was a 1977 graduate of Yorkville High School in Yorkville, IL. Jeff was formerly employed, for over 10 years, at All-Steel in Montgomery, IL. He had then worked, for a brief time, at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California before attaining his dream of being a flight attendant with American Airlines. Jeffrey loved his job and traveling to other countries around the world. He also loved to play and watch tennis. Jeff was a true people person who enjoyed visiting with and getting to know others. He became a flight attendant in 1997. Two years later, Jeff received the American Professional Flight Attendant Award and was considered a spirited and dedicated flight attendant. He liked to entertain children on his flights, and he was fond of playing tennis and traveling, friends said.

He is survived by his parents, Dwayne and Kay Collman of Yorkville, IL and Beverly Sutton of North Aurora, IL; his close companion, Keith Bradkowski of Novato, Ca; his brothers, Charles Collman of Fort Meyers, FL and Brian Collman of Las Vegas, NV; his sister, Brenda Sorenson of Aurora, IL; his step-brothers, Steve (Linda) Gengler of Yorkville, IL and Chuck (Lakshmi) Gengler of South Orange, NJ; his step-sister, Susan Bohan of California; a god-child, Marlene Wakelin; his half-sisters, Laura Kries of Brooklyn Park, MN, Caroline Sutton of Joliet, IL and Vickie Michel of Aurora, IL; several nieces and nephews, many loving aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Jeffrey will also be missed by 100 other flight attendants.

He is preceded in death by his grandparents and his brother, Mark Allen Collman.
A memorial service was held on Monday, October 1, 2001 at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Yorkville, IL with Pastor John Leaf officiating.

Father’s thoughts
Dwayne Collman's imagination gets the best of him when he thinks about the final minutes of his son's life on American Airlines Flight 11. He's filled with horror thinking about what the 41-year-old flight attendant from Yorkville went through as terrorists with knives steered the plane into the first World Trade Center tower. Collman knows his son received safety training in flight school, but he doubts it ever could have prepared him for the challenges he would face on the morning of Sept. 11. The grieving father is sure of one thing about his son, though, even if the details about his death are not certain:
"He would have fought like hell."

Jeffrey Collman, an American Airlines flight attendant for five years who grew up in Yorkville, died Tuesday morning when his hijacked plane, destined for Los Angeles, crashed into New York's famous landmark at 8:45 a.m. Though his body has not been recovered, his parents knew he was gone when he didn't call within a few hours after the tragedy. He had sent his stepmother, Kay, an e-mail the night before, telling her he would be flying from Boston to Los Angeles the next morning.

"I knew he was in that accident because every time there was something going on with airplanes, he would call and say, 'Hey, I'm all right,' " said Kay Collman. "So I knew that, when he didn't call, he was on that plane."

His parents [...] say Jeffrey Collman wanted to be a flight attendant because he loved to travel and meet people around the world. After working for years at Allsteel in Montgomery, he moved to California about five years ago to pursue that dream. Lifelong friend Dolores Humphrey, who went to school with Jeffrey Collman at all grade levels in Yorkville, said she feared he was killed when she heard the news because he often flew early-week flights from Boston to Los Angeles.
She said Collman never lost contact with his friends, even though his job took him around the world.

"Every time he got into town, he would call anyone he knew to meet for breakfast," said Humphrey, who last talked to Collman [5 days before 9/11]. "He would talk for a couple hours, then have to go fly somewhere else."

His stepmother said Jeffrey was the type of person who could "sit down next to someone on a plane and walk away knowing their life story." His father said Jeffrey loved tennis and flew around the world to watch professionals play. Kay Collman says her stepson never went anywhere meekly, and he loved his job so much that she's sure he didn't back down in the face of terror. "He took it seriously," she said, "and he would not have let anyone walk on him."

Humphrey said Jeffrey talked of flying even when he was a child, and his dream came true when American Airlines gave him a job. He was never afraid to fly, she said, always asserting that he was safer in the air than anyone on the ground. Collman's parents have begun to realize how their son died, and that he will always be remembered as a victim on one of the saddest days ever in the United States.

"It's completely different than just someone dying," Kay Collman said. "We'll have the pictures forever. We'll always see where he died. It's part of history."

Seattle Times, 17 September 2001
His partner, Keith Bradkowski, said Collman was courageous and safety-conscious. "He was so focused on safety," Bradkowski said. "If there was a threat, he would have done anything in his power to prevent it." He didn't normally work the Boston-to-Los Angeles route but made an exception to get vacation time at the end of the month. Collman grew up in Yorkville, Ill., and besides Bradkowski left behind four brothers and a sister. (Seattle Times)

Further information: the fate of Flight 11.

Memorial to flight crew

Source: www.maritimequest.com

Blogger Nathanael V.  found out 5 years after 9/11, that Jeffrey Collman was a neighbour's grandson.


and as attributed above.

9/11 - 13 years on

When this post is published, it will be exactly thirteen years to the minute that the first aircraft hit the World Trade Center in New York. The events of what is now referred to as 9/11 are only too well known.

My thoughts are with all victims, whether identified afterwards, or not. In New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

My thoughts are with the passengers and crew on the four flights destroyed. My thoughts are with the victims killed in the World Trade Center. My thoughts are with those emergency workers who lost their lives trying to save others'.

My thoughts today are with the families of those who perpetrated these atrocities, for they lost too. Even before the events of September 2001, they lost their loved ones to a delusion of hate that is not of the religion they claimed to be faithful to. Hatred leads to destruction - as shown seven years ago. Forgiveness is a pillar of Christian faith, as it is one of the Islamic faith. Whether those that lost a loved one in 9/11 can find it in themselves to forgive is beyond my scope.

But first and foremost, my thoughts are with Norberto Hernandez, whose tribute I first filed on Northern Trip, the predecessor to Atlantic Lines, in 2006. The searches for Norberto on Google are contaminated with references to the Falling Man, who was in fact another victim, Jonathan Briley. This confusion has led to much anger and anguish, something the families of both men could do well without.

Norberto, rest in peace.

This entry, as stated above is dedicated to the memory of

Norberto was a pastry chef from Elmhurst, working in the restaurant Windows on the World on the 106th and 107th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York. After the attacks, he was reported missing for a week until parts of a torso and an arm were found in a collapsed stairwell. DNA testing and finger printing reveiled that these were the remains of Norberto. It also invalidated claims that the image of the Falling Man was that of Norberto; this was another victim of 9/11 who will be the subject of a different tribute.

At the time of the attacks on the WTC, Norberto was aged 42 and had been married for 25 years. He was the fourth of ten children by his parents’ marriage, and also had six half-siblings through his father. His parents separated when he was young. Norberto himself had three daughters, three grandchildren and 37 nephews. He was a man of Puerto Rican origins, and had hoped to spend his final days there. Instead, after 9/11, a funeral service was held and his remains cremated in Puerto Rico.

His sister Luz described Norberto. “He was quiet, kind”, she said. “He was a handsome man. Everybody loved him, you know. Everybody.” Norberto’s nickname was Bible, as he was very dependable. Together Forever was his motto.

Norberto started work in Windows on the World at the age of 17, washing dishes. He was interested in cooking, so a manager paid for his tuition at cooking school. Norberto became pastry chef and worked up to 10 hours a day. His sister Luz said that he made cakes, desserts, cookies and bread. His cakes were fabulous.

Outside work, Norberto loved sports, and was a fan of a Puerto Rican boxer, Felix Trinidad Jr. Four days before the attacks, he rang his mother and asked her to play “I would cry but I have no more tears” four times.

In the immediate aftermath of the plane striking the North Tower, Norberto called his sister Luz. “He said: ‘Yeah, don’t worry, I’m OK”.They were disconnected, and when Luz tried to call back she could not get through. Other accounts from Windows on the World tell that smoke and dust filled the restaurant after the strike, and that people lay on the floor to escape the worst of it. Air was beginning to run out at the time of the last contact.

These are the facts that I have managed to pull together from the Internet.

From the little that I have learned of Norberto, he came through as a gentle giant. Although 6’2” (1.84m) tall, he was always listening, and talked later. His family suffered a double loss, as Claribel Hernandez (his sister-in-law), a secretary working elsewhere in the North Tower, was also killed in the attacks. Norberto was close in the family and responsible, which earned him the nickname Bible. He loved his work, and by the look of one of the images, loved to impart that knowledge to others around him.

September 11th, 2001, dawned as a brilliantly sunny morning in New York. Two planes were flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center, leading to their collapse within 2 hours. The destruction of so many lives was brought about by mindless hatred and madness, fuelled by religious zealotry which was not based on any writing in any scriptures in any religion.

Norberto may have heard of that on news reports, but it was probably quite far from him. He was a man that lived for his family, always there for them. A diligent worker, putting in up to 10 hours a day, loving his creations from the oven. Travelling to the WTC on the Subway every morning, his thoughts were probably far from what was to happen not that much later on that fateful Tuesday.

Two thousand nine hundred and ninety-six are known to have died that day, or in its immediate aftermath. Norberto’s ashes were scattered in his homeland of Puerto Rico. His memory lives on in his family, and in the memory of those that read this. He is deeply missed by those close to him.

To Norberto Hernandez

Rest In Peace

This link is no longer operational

I have attempted to contact the University of Columbia to use the material in this link, but have not received a reply. As it is central to the tribute, I have used it, and acknowledge the writer, Sarah Clemence.


This is a poem by Barbara Phillips, from which I have used some factual references to Norberto. It refers to him being the Falling Man though.


I have been granted permission by UIM to reproduce the commemorative quilt for Norberto.

Link no longer operational
The poster, pictured above, proclaiming Norberto as missing after the attacks, hung on a walkway of Manhattan for more than a week

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Eight days to go

Gordon Brown, George Osborne, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband, David Cameron. With eight days to go until that infernal referendum, they all suddenly come trooping north laden with tantalising gifts for the Scottish people. Just because one flicking opinion poll suggested that there might be a majority in favour of independence. Even Her Majesty the Queen all of a sudden has to remind her subjects that she has to stay out of politics and will leave it to the people of Scotland to decide if they wish to leave the UK. I am thoroughly disgusted with the rampant complacency on the part of the Westminster parties. North of the border, we have been driven to insanity by months upon months of referendum drivel on BBC Scotland (both radio and TV), which has managed to deprive us of other news, which to my mind was actually a lot more important at the time. What Messrs Brown, Osborne, Clegg, Miliband and Cameron are doing this week should have been done weeks, months, years ago. Day in day out, week in week out, month upon month. The only thing that I, as a supporter of the No Campaign can say is: gents, go back to London. The Sleeper leaves Edinburgh around midnight. You're too late now.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Friday 5 September

Hurricane Norbert, a strong cat 1 hurricane, is brushing the Baja California peninsula some 100 miles offshore. The storm carries winds of 80 knots or 100 mph near its centre. A hurricane warning is in force for parts of the peninsula, as any deviation to the east could bring hurricane force winds ashore. One monitoring station already reported a wind gust of 78 mph. Local news website Baja Insider is keeping a close eye on the situation. The area most at risk appears to be sparsely populated.

It's bright and pretty sunny Stornoway today. The cruiseliner Marco Polo is in for its last visit. Cumulus clouds are building from humulis to mediocris to congestus right into cumulonimbus, so I'm not expecting it to stay entirely dry today. Tomorrow will be a lot worse. Temperature just now about 15C / 59F, something I'm not going to complain about. Oh, did I mention I ordered a new camera?

Went for a walk around town, only to discover that An Lanntair has been turned blue. Not something I'm too pleased about, but then, who am I.

Thursday 4 September

One of those overcast, non-descript days. Worked on the database for WW1 casualties, now that I have fully transcribed and cross-referenced the Lewis War Memorial. Town is abuzz with the sinking of the Pathfinder, and whether it is headed for the scrapheap.

Wednesday 3 September

I had an enjoyable half hour's walk around the harbour between midday and half past twelve, watching the ships tied up, coming or going - it was surprisingly busy by Stornoway standards. For local people: the gate at the quay between the ferry and Amity House is currently closed as they are discharging the coalboat , which involves lorries manoeuvering close to the quayside. Once the Burhuoi has gone, the gate should be open again. For now, you'll have to cut through Quay Street.

It later transpired that a crane barge which I pictured moving around the harbour was in fact moving to raise a sunken craft from the inner harbour. The Pathfinder had sunk at its moorings overnight, after returning from Lochmaddy the day before.

Shown: Seabourn Legend, Burhoui (x2), MV Isle of Lewis and MV Hebridean Princess, a crane barge and the Seabourn Legend departing.

Tuesday 2 September

Afternoon all, it's breezy and overcast, but as yet dry. Not complaining about 16C / 61F on the thermometer. We had a debate on the impending independence referendum (only 16 more days to go) in Stornoway Town Hall last night, with the deputy First Minister and the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland heading up the Yes and No camps respectively. Seems to have been a passionate, but controlled debate. Watched about 5 seconds of it on-line, but I know Stornoway Town Hall as a venue with very poor acoustics, and I couldn't listen to any more of it. If only because I'm heartily fed up with the subject. Roll on September 19th.

Monday 1 September

The guga hunters have landed on Sula Sgeir, some 40 miles north of the Butt of Lewis. The band of ten men will spend the next fortnight culling 2,000 gannet chicks, plucking, salting and curing them into guga. These are held to be a local (if rather fishy) delicacy. Although gannets are a protected species of bird, the guga hunters have a special license to continue with their age old custom.

The former studios of Isles FM in Stornoway have been turned into an art gallery. The Boathouse hosted its first exhibition a couple of days ago. I'm pleased that the building has quickly gone back into use again.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Sunday 31 August

Afternoon all, it's another bright and fairly sunny day today - better for being minus one cracking headache that left me since yesterday. Ouch. Quite breezy outside on a stiff southerly breeze, which leaves us with 16C / 61F on the mercury. In the afternoon, the rain and the wind picked up. Force 6 from the south, mercury now down to 13C / 55F. Stornoway rainfall radar is off-line at the moment, so cannot watch progression of rain in these parts.

So, there are 1179 names on the Lewis War Memorial for the Great War (1914-1919), of which some 40 I have not yet been able to match to my Faces from the Lewis War Memorial website. Some of this is due to transcription errors on my part - about a dozen. But you try to find Donald Macleod in the RNR, when there are so many of that name, even in the one parish or district. Conversely, there is the case of Captain Ian Macfarlane who is mentioned on the War Memorial. He is easily traced on CWGC, having served in the Royal Army Medical Corps before his death in 1917. He was the son of an Edinburgh minister, but a cursory glance does not immediately yield a Stornoway connection.


Saturday 30 August

Morning all from a decidedly wet Stornoway. Although there is some brightness about, there is also plenty of rain. To quote the Met Office: "Drier and brighter gradudally (sic) conditions" developing through the afternoon - which duly happened.

On this day 84 years ago, the last permanent residents were evacuated from St Kilda. HMS Harebell took them to Lochaline on the Sound of Mull, and on to Glasgow. Their houses remained behind, but the islanders took with them a culture and heritage of 9,000 years. The Ionad Hiort/ St Kilda Centre, whose allocation to Mangersta caused such a furore in 2009, is yet to materialise.

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Friday 29 August

Fairly bright in Stornoway this morning. The easterly breeze of the last few days is still with us, but that doesn't prevent the temperature from rising to 15C already, and it's only 10.30am.

Today it is 9 years ago since hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, with the loss of more than 1800 lives. My tropical cyclone blog remembers with a simple tagline: Remembering the victims of Katrina, 29 August 2005.

Less than two weeks until the 13th anniversary of 9/11. I shall once again post tributes to Norberto Hernandez and Jeffrey Dwayne Collman on my blog Atlantic Lines, at 12.46 GMT on 11 September. That is the exact time that the first aircraft hit the World Trade Center in New York. Who will you remember? If you have a blog, but maybe not use it anymore, why not research one of the victims of 9/11 and post a tribute.

Went for a walk round the harbour and into the Castle Grounds, around the Castle. It was a sunny afternoon, and came away with some pics of lovely views.

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Thursday 28 August

The day has brightened up after a wet start, and the sun has just come out. We shall probably see some showers this afternoon. 20C? I don't think so. At the beginning of next week, we could well get a sideswipe from the remnants of hurricane Cristobal. That storm is currently north of Bermuda, and will scoot northeast past Nova Scotia towards Iceland. Its fronts will brush past us on Monday.

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Friday, 29 August 2014

9 years ago today

The hurricane in focus on 29 August 2005 was of course Katrina, one of the most devastating tropical cyclones to affect the US mainland in modern times. Although it had weakened prior to landfall in New Orleans, its impact was devastating. This entry is dedicated to the memory of those lost in that disaster, in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast.



Wednesday 27 August

Morning all from a bright, sunny but cool Stornoway. Cruiseliner Silver Cloud has arrived for its visit; its passengers are luckier than the liner that will call tomorrow, which will see a lot of wind and rain.

I am told that the people of Colonsay ran out of water when they all doused themselves in cold water in aid of ALS (motor-neurone disease). I suggest that it's better to just donate for MND, without running the risk of getting pneumonia - or draining your local water supply. 

I'll just put my head on the block and say that the story about the looms for rent embodies all that is wrong with (a) Harris Tweed in the 21st century and (b) Windfarms and community benefits. People got rid of their looms when the industry collapsed some 10-20 years ago - the output today is but 10% of what it was in the early 1990s. It'll never come back to those levels, never mind how bright or trendy current products are. Fashion changes, but the demand for HT as we knew it remains unchanged.

A windfarm that has not been built cannot generate electricity, which cannot be sold to the National Grid and cannot therefore make money. So where does Muaitheabhal Trust gets its money from at the moment? Subsidies. And a lot of the large windfarms in Scotland would never have been built if it hadn't been for massive subsidies from government. Furthermore, if the Eishken windfarm ever does get built, it will be detrimental to the tourism industry, which is worth far more than the community benefit from windfarms in these islands combined.

Tuesday 26 August

Another morning of wall-to-wall sunshine, but with a slightly chilly easterly breeze. We have the cruiseliner Black Watch in. I don't know why she isn't docking alongside, she did in the past. Anyway, between 10 and 10.30, I was watching some drama with one of her tenders which appears to have lost power off the lighthouse. Another tender came to its aid, but the faulty one continued to drift in on the flooding tide. She was abreast of the Glumag before they managed to get the engine restarted. It continued to conk out intermittently, with particularly dicey episodes off the lighthouse and near the buoy. I was reaching for the phone to ring the Coastguard, but the wee boat did manage to get back alongside the mothership eventually

A day of blazing sunshine, which pushed the mercury up to 18C / 64F. Went on the bus to visit the Doune Broch, but by golly, was that bus full. As per usual, the driver turned up at departure time (12.45), but the bus didn't leave until 1.05pm. The reason was dozens of cruise passengers who preferred to pay £6 for the service bus rather than £60 for the organised tour. They all piled off the bus at Callanish, but when we rejoined the next bus at 3.15, there they all were again. Meanwhile at the Broch, there were a few people about, some quite gushing about the stunning scenery. Oh aye, it was stunning today.

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