Only on 12: Local families with 9/11 victims react to bin Laden's death

Derrick Washington and Paul Tegtmeier were killed on 9/11. (Family photos)

Derrick Washington and Paul Tegtmeier were killed on 9/11. (Family photos)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, May 2, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Nearly 3,000 men and women died on September 11th, 2001. Nearly 3,000 families are reliving that day, and for most it's bittersweet.

It's been an emotional day for the families of both Derrick Washington and Paul Tegtmeier, two men who died in the rubble at Ground Zero nearly 10 years ago.

33-year-old Derrick Washington, a father of 3, worked as a Verizon technician on the 110th floor of the second World Trade Center. His father Ernest and their whole family watched in horror when the building collapsed.

"My guess is he never made it down the stairs. We miss him so much it's hard to believe he's gone. You always look to your children burying you and not you burying your children," says Ernest Washington.

For Ernest, there hasn't been a day in the last 9 years he hasn't thought about Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden

"Always think about him. Always, hoping they would catch him one day. Always," says Ernest.

The news he had finally been brought down, brought all the memories rushing back.

"We they said they had found his remains, it was three little ankle bones and I think that was the hardest thing," adds Ernest.

Responders never found any remains of Joanne Kennelly's brother New York firefighter Paul Tegtmeier

"It gives me a warm feeling inside knowing that the person that orchestrated all of this to begin with is now gone. We're all cheering because the devil is now dead," says Joanne Kennelly.

Joanne and Paul's mother died earlier this year. Her one wish was to see Osama bin Laden pay for her son's death. "We knew that she was at peace now. She can rest in peace now," explains Joanne.

The 41-year old died doing what he loved, helping others.

"It takes a special kind of person to do that and he absolutely loved it," Joanne says.

Both families say this small piece of closure is thanks to the thousands of soldiers who've spent more than 9 years looking for public enemy number one.

"Sounds to me like he got tossed off with the common trash off the back of the ship so there's a little poetic justice there. To me it's a proud day to be an American," says Tony Kennelly, Joanne's husband and Paul's brother-in-law.

"I want to thank God and thank our president and especially those young men and women that put their lives on the line everyday. I wish it was possible I could go shake each and every one of their hands," adds Ernest.

Washington left behind three children. They are now 23, 18 and 13. Tegtmeier has two sons. One of them is 16 and plans on being a firefighter when he grows up. His aunt says he already spends every weekend with his father's company.


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