The couple had been married for 11 months.
Cover Image Source: YouTube/CBS News
Many people lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks and their loved ones still find beautiful ways to honor them, even after two whole decades. One of them is Monica Iken, who lost her husband Michael, a bond trader. He died in the second tower on 9/11. Although their marriage was brief, lasting 11 months, the pain of his death still affects Iken. "There is no moving on, you never move on from it," she told CBS News. "You move in. You move into the life that was chosen for you."
20 years ago today, Monica Iken-Murphy lost her husband Michael in the 9/11 attacks – his last words to her were "People are jumping out of windows, I have to go". I spoke to her about that day and how she's rebuilt her life since, for @telegraphstella https://t.co/v1bHDlUBaB— Claudia Rowan (@claudiarowan) September 11, 2021
Iken was one of the biggest advocates pushing for a memorial on the site of the Twin Towers. "We honor those lives that were lost and we don't build over crying souls," she told CBS News in 2002. George Pataki, who was New York's governor at the time, recalled Iken's determination during a time many people didn't think a memorial should be at Ground Zero. "She was tenacious, relentless," Pataki said. "People who just said, 'We had to move on. Just rebuild.' But Monica said, 'This was hallowed ground.' A lot of people deserve credit for that, but certainly, Monica Iken is among the most."
Iken wore her wedding dress, for the first time in over 20 years, when she placed flowers and a photo from her wedding on her late husband's name on the side of the 9/11 Memorial. She paid tribute to her late husband and their marriage while marking the 20th year anniversary of 9/11. "I think wearing the dress makes a statement," she said. "That I was happily married the day he died. And I was looking forward to having a family." Since then she has remarried but confesses she will always be in love with two men. "We can live our lives," she said, "but still keep that memory."
Michael was 37 years old when he died while working in the World Trade Center. Iken had met him on September 11, 1999, at a Riverdale restaurant, and according to her Michael knew the two would end up together. He told his best friend at the time, 'I’m going to marry that girl.' They ended up tying the knot on Oct. 27, 2000, on a beach in St. Martins. Although Iken was married to Michael for a short while, the pain of losing him so soon came as a complete shock. She recalled the day her life changed to New York Post, "That warm, cloudless Sept. 11 morning, my husband, Michael, woke up happy and looking forward to earning his sailing certificate. He said, 'I love you,' kissed me goodbye, and off he went to work at Eurobrokers on the 84th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. He called me twice, first saying calmly, 'Turn on the TV. A commuter plane has hit the building. Everything is fine and under control.' The last thing he said was, 'People are jumping out of windows. I have to go.' Many feel we should all move on, it’s been 20 years. But for some of us on that day, our loved ones were murdered on national TV. It became our 'forever nightmare.'"