NEW YORK – September 11, 2018 marks 17 years since the worst terrorist attack in the history of mankind, which killed nearly 3,000 people from 93 different nationalities – the “9/11” attack at New York City’s World Trade Center (aka “Ground Zero”). Among the casualties were 36 Greek-Americans.
One of them was an employee on one of the airplanes that terrorists crashed into the Twin Towers. The others worked in the buildings themselves.
The number of victims is much higher than the 3000 if we estimate the people who indirectly lost their lives as a result of illness (carcinogenic diseases in first responders) and fallen heroes of wars that followed.
Also, the number of Greek-Americans may be greater, because it is very likely that there were other Greeks who died that day without easily-discernible “Greek-sounding” names.
One Greek-American victim was Vassilios Haramis from Staten Island. He was born and raised in a poor family in Neapolis in Greece.
At 18, he came to the United States to study and to pursue a better life. After earning a degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University, he worked for the Washington Group International at the World Trade Center.
President of the Parish Council at the church of Holy Trinity in Staten Island Gretchen Theodorakis told TNH that “Vassilios was very kind man with great humor.
He cared for everyone and loved his family dearly. He was one of the best people I have ever met in my life.”
Those who knew Haramis describe him as a man with many hobbies: he loved football, gardening and above all Greece, which he visited almost every year to see family and friends. He was a great family man and a good Christian who always offered his help to the community of Holy Trinity.
The street in front of the church has been renamed Vassilios Haramis Way in his honor.
A tragic irony is that during the first terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in 1993 Haramis was on Tower 2’s rooftop with a colleague in her seventh month of pregnancy at the time. He remained with her until help arrived and when she was rescued by helicopter, he went down 110 floors on foot.
It took him three hours to get down but he was exhausted and happy that he stayed to help his pregnant
colleague. He never turned his back on those in need.
Another victim of the terrorist attack was the Constantine Economos, a prominent member of the community of Holy Cross in Brooklyn and a member of the Church Committee. The street in front of the church has been named Economos Way in his honor. He was a partner in the firm Sandler O’Neill & Partners and on that tragic day he was working on the 104th floor of Tower 2.
His daughter Katerina told TNH, on behalf of his family: “It has been 14 years since September 11, 2001 and our family lost a true renaissance man. As he worked a rigorous job in finance, he always found time for his family and community. Gus took his wife and children on trips, coached his children in sports and spent the most memorable times of our lives upstate with his family, parents, sister, brother, father-in-law and mother-in-law, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, cousins, aunts and uncles, nieces, and nephews. He also took time out of his busy schedule to be apart of the Holy Cross Parish Council, where he served as president, and ran the annual Greek Festival. He was always there for anyone who needed help. He showed us all how to work hard and love hard and that lesson will never leave our hearts. Although Gus is no longer here physically, his family carries his love with them every day of their lives.
Michael Tarra was a member of the crew of United Airlines.
Three victims were born in Greece: Katerina Bandis, Vassilios Haramis, and Procopios Zois.
According to the New York City Coroner’s office the list of Greek-American victims were: Joanna Achladioti 27, Ernest Alifakos 43, Arlene Bampakidis 47 Katerina Bands 48, Peter Brennan 30, Thomas Damascus 33,
Antonios Dimas 61, Constantine Economos 41, Michael Elferis 27, Anna Fosteris 58, Dimitrios Gkrekiotis 56, Kenneth Grouzalis 56, Basil Haram 56, Nicholas John 42, John Katsimatides 31, Daniela Kousoulis 29, Thomas Kouveikis, 48 Dimitris Maun 42, Philip Mastrandreas, 42 Georgios Merkouris 35, Stylianos Mousouroulis 38,
Peter Mouton 44, Nikolaos Papadopoulos 29, Dimitris Papagiorgis 29, Georgios Paorce 60, Theodoros Pigis, Dafni Pouletsos 47, Richard Poulos 55, Stefanos Poulos 45, Antonios Savvas 72, Fay Siskopoulou 60, Timothy Soulas 35, Andreas Stergiopoulos 23, Michael Theodoridis 32, William Tselepis 33, Tzennifer Tzemis 26, and Procopios Zois 46.
The address at 98th Street between 38th Ave and Roosevelt Ave in Queens has been renamed James Pappageorge Way in memory of firefighter Dimitris Papagiorgis. And 96th Street and Marine Ave in Brooklyn was renamed in
Siskopoulos Way in memory of Fay Siskopoulou.