In commemoration of the 12 anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, we revisit a story written for the 10th anniversary of September 11. The story checks in on Don and Pat Shanower of Naperville, who lost their son Dan that day. According to The Red Line Project:
"Don and Pat Shanower have lived in their downtown Naperville home for 53 years and raised five children there. Their second-youngest son, Dan, grew up as the mischievous one of the bunch.
'Dan was a crazy kid. Humorous,' Pat said. 'Anybody who went to school with him would remember him as the clown.
'We have had teachers at a couple levels say it was hard to keep the class in order when Dan was around, but they couldn’t help but laugh themselves.'
His life changed when he entered the U.S. Navy in 1985 and pursued a career in intelligence.
'It was like the Navy was what Dan needed to fully become an adult,' Pat said. 'We feel fortunate because we knew where he wanted to be.'
The man, who was described as an average student in his younger days by his mother, had grown to be, according to one of his graduate school professors, one of the most brilliant students he has ever had in the Naval War College.
The Shanowers’ lives changed forever 10 years ago on Sept, 11, 2001. That morning, terrorists crashed American Flight 77 out of Washington Dulles International Airport into the section of the Pentagon in which Dan worked. The crash killed 184 military and civilians, including all on board the flight.
Dan was 40 years old."