Victim's Family Finds Solace in Bin Laden's Death
El and Bill Sugra's son was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
El and Bill Sugra were watching Donald Trump on “Celebrity Apprentice” Sunday night in the living room of their Salisbury Township home when it was interrupted by a news bulletin that flashed across the bottom of their TV screen.
Elma turned to her husband and said, “What could be so important that the President Obama would be speaking to the nation 11 o’clock at night?”
This time it wouldn’t be about a birth certificate.
The couple flipped the channel to the Phillies game and heard chants of “USA! USA!” This time the news crawl read: “Osama bin Laden has been killed.”
Bill and El Sugra burst into tears.
It has been nearly 10 years since their 30-year-old son, Bill, a network administrator for eSpeed, a division of Cantor Fitzgerald, died at 1 World Trade Center on September 11 from the worst terrorist attack on American soil.And until yesterday, Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attack, had been not been captured or killed.
“We just feel it’s a remarkable moment in the fight against terrorism. We feel justice has been served,” El Sugra said.
"I was pleased that he was killed, not from a vindictive point of view," her husband, Bill Sugra said.
"Hopefully, it will negatively impact al Qaeda and possibly make the world a safer place. I was pleased at our country's tenacity. After 10 years, we stayed with this. From a humanitarian point of view, it's good for the world," he said.
"So, it's over," he sighed. "I think there's closure in the sense we've killed or captured the people who were involved in that incident," he said.
But there is no closure on their son's death, the couple said.
"Nothing can changed what has happened. We live that everyday and we'll live it the rest of our life," Bill Sugra said, choking back tears.
The couple were glued to their seats and stayed up to watch the president’s address to the nation.
“I thought it was outstanding. He was to the point and gave all the information that was needed. I thought it was very comforting. He was reaching out to everybody and was sincere,” El Sugra said.
“I hope this brings an end to terrorism and nobody has to go through what all the people who lost their lives, the first responders, the military, everyone from September 11, that nobody has to go through this again,” she said.
Bill graduated from St. Thomas More School in Salisbury Township and Allentown Central Catholic High School. He had been working at eSpeed’s offices on the 103rd floor of the north tower for 11 months.
“We had a very close relationship,” Sugra said and they spoke often.
Her son called her September 10 and they spoke for about 15 minutes. A colleague had just been fired that day, Sugra said.
“He was really upset over that,” she said. He was supposed to gather his colleague’s belongings, who would collect them the next day.
“Everybody remembers his gorgeous smile and twinkle in his eye. He had a great sense of humor, he loved sports and he had great friends,” Sugra said.
“Bill was a caring person. He worked in New York’s South Seaport area and when he used to walk to work he’d pass homeless people. He’d stop into a grocery store and get them a lemonade or a cup of coffee or something.”
It is still painful to talk about her son, Sugra said, but they have found some solace in helping others.
The Sugras, and their daughter, Tracy Sell, 37, established a memorial fund on Bill’s honor, www.billsugramemorialfund.org., which has disbursed more than $250,000 over the last 10 years and helped fund local nonprofits that help the needy and disadvantaged.
They also established The Bill Sugra Memorial Golf Outing, usually held the weekend before Labor Day.
“He was just a great guy and we miss him terribly,” El Sugra said.