SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Special Report

September 6, 2011

For North Shore families, Sept. 11 a 'deeply personal' day

The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks claimed nearly 3,000 victims, including 10 from the North Shore. As the 10th anniversary of the tragedy approaches, The Salem News talked to families who lost loved ones that day and asked how they will spend the anniversary. Here are a few of their stories.

Erik Isbrandtsen

A year ago, Dirk Isbrandtsen wrote to officials in New York City asking if he could be a reader at the 10th anniversary memorial ceremony for 9/11, which will be held Sunday morning at the World Trade Center.

Last month, he got an answer.

"I'm going to have the privilege of doing that," said Isbrandtsen, a Marblehead resident whose 30-year-old son, Erik, an industrial sales trader at the financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, was killed on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists flew a plane into one of the twin towers.

"I get to read Erik's name," said Isbrandtsen, his eyes filling with tears. "And I get to read my best friend's name."

On the morning of the terrorist attacks, Erik Isbrandtsen, a handsome former college soccer star, was working on the 104th floor of One World Trade Center. He was killed along with Chuck Zion, a senior vice president and his father's former college roommate. They were among 658 Cantor Fitzgerald employees to die that day.

As painful as the memory is, and as difficult as it has been at times to go on after the death of his only child, Isbrandtsen wants to be in New York City on Sunday.

"It's kind of like a final public goodbye," he said, seated at Capt's Waterfront Grill & Pub, the restaurant he owns and operates on the Salem waterfront.

Isbrandtsen understands it will be difficult, maybe impossible for some families who lost loved ones to be in New York. But he feels he has to go.

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