MORE than two decades ago, Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Jason DeFazio was one of the victims lost in the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Who was Jason DeFazio?
Born on July 12, 1972, 29-year-old Jason DeFazio was a bond trader from the Mariners Harbor neighborhood of Staten Island, New York.
In 1999, DeFazio moved to the Sunnyside area of Queens.
He worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, a New York City-based financial firm.
Three months before his untimely death, DeFazio was married to his high school sweetheart Michele Moss.
The husband and wife met while they were students at Curtis High School.
DeFazio played linebacker for the school's football team and Michele was a cheerleader.
"It was raining the day we got married," Michele recalled about their wedding day.
She told Staten Island Live: "Everyone said it was good luck."
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The couple was settling into their new life together, saving for their first home, and getting ready to start a family.
"He was such a fun person to be around, he was always making people laugh.
"He was just so warm and caring. He never said a bad word about anyone."
According to his wife, DeFazio was expecting a call from the New York Fire Department and hoped to join the next class of recruits.
He reportedly had a physical scheduled on September 11, 2001: "He was never late for work, and he never missed a day," she said.
"(But) he wanted to be a firefighter. He used to say that it would let him be home more when we had kids."
What happened to DeFazio on 9/11?
DeFazio perished in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, as he was likely on the floor where the first plane hit.
The only information DeFazio's family ever received of him was from a co-worker who called his home and told his wife that he was in a stairwell with a group that included the 29-year-old.
In addition to his wife, Michele, and his mother, Roseann, DeFazio is survived by his father, James, and his brother, Michael.
DeFazio never had children himself at the time of his death but was the godfather of his three-year-old niece, Alexis.
9/11 timeline of events
The 9/11 terror attacks occurred 20 years ago. Here is a timeline of the day:
- 5:45am – Hijackers get through security in Portland, Maine and board American Airlines Flight 11 that was scheduled to fly to Boston.
- 7:59am – American Airlines Flight 11 takes off from Boston to Los Angeles. The plane is carrying 76 passengers, 11 crew and five hijackers.
- 8:15am – United Airlines Flight 175, carrying 51 passengers, nine crew and five hijackers, takes off from Boston to Los Angeles.
- 8:20am -American Airlines Flight 77 takes off from Washington, DC. The plane is carrying 53 passengers, six crew and five hijackers.
- 8:42am – United Airlines Flight 93 takes off from Newark. The plane is carrying 33 passengers, seven crew and four hijackers. The flight was bound to San Francisco.
- 8:46am – Flight 11 crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
- 9:03am – Flight 175 hits the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
- 9:36am – Vice President Dick Cheney is evacuated by Secret Service agents to an undisclosed location.
- 9:37am – Flight 77 hits the Pentagon building in Washington, DC.
- 9:45am – The US Capitol and White House are both evacuated.
- 9:59am – The South Tower was the first to collapse after burning for around 56 minutes.
- 10:03am – United Airlines flight 93 crashes into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The passengers and crew got together and stormed the cockpit of the hijacked plane. All passengers on board are killed.
- 10:28am – The North Tower collapses.
- 8:30pm – President George W. Bush addresses the US from the White House regarding the attacks. Almost 3,000 Americans died in the terror attacks.
"He loved children, he wanted to have kids. He was 29, but he was like a kid.
"He woke up every Saturday morning to watch cartoons. I always used to laugh at him.
"He was my life. We were only married for three months, but we were like soul mates.
Michele added: "We were just starting our life together."
How many people died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks?
On September 11, 2001, 2,996 total people lost their lives during Al Qaeda's terrorist attacks on the US.
An additional 25,000 people were injured during the tragedy.
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The breakdown of the death toll includes:
- 19 terrorist hijackers
- 2,763 civilians at the World Trade Center
- 189 people at the Pentagon
- 44 people on Flight 93
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