Attack Location: AA Flight 77 (Pentagon)
Home: Annandale, Va.
“I just remember that when Erin and I were younger, my mom told us we could get a cat. On the trip to pick it up, we were thinking of a name. By the time we got there, she had named it and it was just her cat ever since. Max would cuddle up with her. He slept with her. She would spoon-feed him. He got groomed once a month. One time my husband came to visit and [he] was going to shoo the cat out of the chair and my mom said, ‘Let me get you another chair.’ She just loved this cat, and she showed him a lot of affection.”
Source: The Washington Post
| Zandra Cooper Ploger |
This was to be the honeymoon they waited almost four months to take: Hawaii. First-class seats all the way. Two weeks of nothing but relaxation.
Zandra Cooper Ploger was so excited to leave on vacation with her new husband, Robert Riis Ploger III, that she had packed her bags a full week before. "I'm not going to worry about work," Ploger told her daughter, Zena Tedesco. "The both of us deserve this trip."
Replied Tedesco: "Say a prayer on the plane."
And before the trip, Tedesco made a special plea: She prayed that her mother reach Hawaii safely. "I was crying for my mom, saying my prayers before I went to sleep," she said. "I knew something was going to happen."
The Annandale couple wed May 12, a second marriage for both of them. He was 59 and she was 48, and they had four grown children between them. But they acted like teenagers in puppy love. They held hands all the time. His nickname for her was "Pretty"; hers for him, "Love." They played tennis together and were unabashed Trekkies.
She was a consummate party organizer and hostess, already planning a huge bash for Bob's 60th birthday Dec. 19. She also loved reading mystery novels and collecting porcelain figurines. He was a Mr. Fix-It and skilled woodworker who also enjoyed barbecuing. They loved the company of their families and friends.
They married on the pontoon boat of their neighbor Kate Giroux in the middle of Lake of the Woods in Virginia. It was a "textbook perfect" event, Giroux recalled, with a flower-bedecked boat and dock, champagne and a celebratory lap around the lake.
Because of the couple's busy work lives -- she was a manager at IBM for more than 20 years, and he worked at Lockheed Martin on research and development projects for two decades -- they could not get away for an extended trip until September.
American Airlines Flight 77 from Washington to Los Angeles was the first leg of their honeymoon.
Lockheed Martin Chairman and Chief Executive Vance Coffman called Bob Ploger an "outstanding technologist and lead systems architect for some of our most important programs, and he will be dearly missed."
His daughter and regular Saturday doubles partner, Wendy Chamberlain, recalled their last set together only a week ago. As it ended, her father laughed with a friend about the old saying "Only the good die young."
"They would joke and say that, then, they would live forever," she said.
Source: The Washington Post, AP and washingtonpost.com