Waguih Ouess



Below is one of my stories when I worked with The Port Authority of NY and NJ Aviation Department from March 1998 until my retirement in September 2009 to celebrate the PANYNJ Centennial.

As an aviation person who worked for Pan American World Airways, Triangle Aviation and The PANYNJ, I am humbled and honored to share my memories and this story. I enjoyed working with Bob Kelly, Bill DeCota, Sue Baer, Joanne Paternoster and Lysa Scully and all my former colleagues in the aviation department but my special story below is related to what happened on September 10, 2001 and after the tragic events of 9-11.

On September 10, 2001 I was leaving 1 WTC when I ran into William (Bill) Fallon of Port Commerce who asked me to meet with him on September 11 to discuss an upcoming visit by an Egyptian delegation from the Suez Canal since I had offered Bill some suggestions for his upcoming meeting. As I was leaving work on September 10, I told Bill that I will be in Washington DC on September 11 meeting with the US DOT on behalf of the Aviation Department for the handling of disabled passengers at PANYNJ airports and that I could meet with him on September 12 when I get back from DC.

When I got back from DC late on September 11 on board an Amtrak train that carried many first responders and medical teams, I was only thinking about my PANYNJ colleagues and tried to reach as many as I could but it took me over a week to learn who made it out of the buildings and who did not.

William Fallon did not make it out of the building and I will never forget that.

Each time prior to the pandemic when I visited downtown and the WTC sites, I always stopped by Bill Fallon's name to pay my respect and say a prayer for Bill, his family and all those who died that day. What made me think of writing this email is the recent events in the Suez Canal with a container ship that is blocking the canal and my brief conversation with Bill Fallon about the importance of shipping lanes and coordination between the Suez Canal where over 20,000 ships cross the canal annually and the use of New York seaports managed by the Port Commerce. I never met Bill’s family, I attended many memorials with PANYNJ colleagues over the years and and as long time member of the 9-11 Memorial Museum, I told that story to many including family and friends.

The PANYNJ is a great agency to work with and when 9-11 happened, I was lost for a week trying to reach out to my team and wondering if I still had a job. We got paid on time and we restarted services and rebuilt our files, contracts and contacts. I am proud of The Port Authority of NY and NJ and wish the best to all in the bi-state agency including the Aviation Department and Port Commerce. Stay safe and I look forward to visit my former colleagues at 4WTC and at the airports and all those who have since retired when the pandemic is behind us.”



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Last modified: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 06:22:01 PM