Condolences for Loss of Geographic Team on Flight 77

National Geographic News
Last Updated: September 17, 2001

The following e-mail letters were received from readers worldwide. The National Geographic Society thanks everyone who sent the messages of support and sympathy. They will be forwarded to families and colleagues of those who died.

Read our news report on the death of the National Geographic team: Go>>

If you would like to add a message of condolence, send it to the news desk: Go>>

Dear NGS friends of Joe and Ann, We in New Mexico will miss Joe and Ann. They were a great help in getting geography education going in New Mexico. I met both Joe and Ann during the GAW training and they will be missed. I grieve with you in your loss.—Dale Hagin, former GAW coordinator

I am a third grade teacher in Covina, California. I was fortunate to be a part of a NGS summer institute in 1997. At that time I met and worked with Joe Ferguson and Ann Judge. Their passionate dedication to people, education, and geography will truly be missed. My heart felt condolences go out to all their family and friends.—Lynda Lemon-Rush

I'm a subscriber of Italian edition of N.G. and just today I knew that two members of N.G. family died in tragedy of September 11. I never knew Ann or Joe personally. I would like to extend my sincere condolences to their families and the families of all those who lost loved ones. I realise that my words are of little comfort at a time of great loss but my thought are with you all.—Massimo Zanoletti, Italia

I knew Ann Judge through her best friend for a decade. Though I was somebody on the periphery of her life—someone who would occasionally have dinner with her and her husband, and a beneficiary of her outstanding cheescake baking skills—she touched my life strongly and I suspect nearly everyone that came to know her. A consolation to the grief I now share with so many is that I know that her indomitable spirit and drive was a comfort and inspiration to those around her during the terror of that morning. From the other side, she is drying our tears and smiling, and urging us to go on with life with the same zest that she held and inspired in others. Her life, along with Mr. Ferguson's and thousands more that were stopped short on Tuesday, are a treasure we must hold in our memories, and extend through the rest of our own lives.—Curtis Dalpra, Riverdale Park, Md.

As a student on Project Marco Polo 1996, I met the one and only Ann Judge. Constantly barefoot and always joking, Ann became an important person in my life, one who would then allow me to intern in her office years later as a college freshman. She was a pillar of strength and a role model for me as well as many others. I will never forget this woman who helped to change my life. I will miss her.—Dana Borrelli

I am one of the lucky people that was fortunate enough to have met Joe, Ann, and Hilda. I attended the Hawaii JASON Institute with the three of them. Joe was a fellow Mississippian and I was very proud of his accomplishments. It was very obvious that Joe loved his work and put his heart and soul into it. He made it possible for classroom teachers to experience the world and carry those experiences back into their classrooms. It only took a short conversation with Joe to realize that he really cared. Ann made our trip so smooth. I am sure she had to remove many obstacles to make that happen. We did many wonderful day trips during the institute and could always look around and find Ann driving up at the right time with our food and water. I sometimes worried that she was missing all the fun things, but she seemed to be proud of her role in making things happen for us. Hilda was a fellow teacher. I enjoyed getting to know her in Hawaii. Every student deserves the right to have a teacher like Hilda. I know her school and students will feel a tremendous loss that will never fully heal.—Kay Williams, Magnolia, Mississippi

Joe Ferguson—dead! News like this seems impossible, but it is, unfortunately, all too true. Although I have shed many tears for Joe, Ann, and the others on the flight, I have to admit that I have had some smiles and even some laughs as I reminisced about Joe. As I looked back on the good times I had with him, I made a short list of things I am going to do in his memory:
1. I will answer even the most inane question with grace and diplomacy.
2. I will wear something wonderful to work and be nonchalant about it.
3. I will love my dog with all my heart.
4. I will wither someone (who deserves it, of course) with a glance.
5. I will encourage someone to do more than they thought they could do.
6. I will call all my local radio stations and request "The Electric Slide."
7. I will DANCE!
Perhaps you will join me in some of these things, especially numbers 6 and 7. Joe, you will NEVER be forgotten!—Marycarol Deane, California (ILI '89, ILI staff '92, '93, '94)

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