Wed | Dec 8, 2021

Remembering 9/11: Twenty years on |Titus Davidson died trying to save elderly woman

Siblings still hurting 20 years after losing brother in attack Siblings still hurting 20 years after losing brother in attack

Published:Sunday | September 12, 2021 | 12:06 AMTameka Gordon - Senior Staff ReporterTameka Gordon - Senior Staff Reporter

In this September 12, 2001 file photo, firefighters work in the rubble of the World Trade Center towers in New York.
In this September 12, 2001 file photo, firefighters work in the rubble of the World Trade Center towers in New York.

Titus Davidson
Titus Davidson
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Jamaica was not spared as waves of grief swept the world on September 11, 2001, a fact all too real for the Davidsons of Bowens Gate in Mocho, Clarendon.

The family was thrown into grief with the sudden passing of their beloved Titus Davidson, who was working as a security guard in one of the two World Trade Center towers in New York struck by planes commandeered by terrorists as al Qaeda operatives launched a bloody assault on the United States.

Twenty years later, the family holds on to the fact that Titus, the first son for Rockland and Merle Davidson, died a hero after valiantly going back into the burning skyscraper to help a woman in a wheelchair after the first hijacked aircraft was used as a missile to crash into it.

Titus and several siblings migrated to Canada in the 1970s, but he eventually moved to the United States, where he was determined to make his fortune, siblings Samuel, Phillip and Dolores Davidson told The Gleaner.

The impact of his death and the memory of that day are “terrible,” they said.

“He was my first bother and the first son for my father,” shared Phillip, who was on vacation and sitting at home watching television when the attacked occurred.

“When the first plane hit the building, he helped some persons outside then he said he wanted to go back and get the lady, who was in the restroom,” Phillip recalled. “He was actually on the phone with his daughter – his only child – after the first impact. He called her and was telling her what happened.”

That conversation would be their last.

“It’s a good thing he was there talking to his daughter,” Phillip reasoned, adding that at least she got to talk to her father for the last time.

Dolores, however, sees it differently.

“She has the everlasting echo in her mind of him calling her name, never to be seen or heard from again.”

The emotional toll also left Titus’ daughter, who The Gleaner was unable to reach, “paranoid of flying”, Phillip shared.

“The Red Cross sponsored four of us to go to Canada for his memorial, but she was so afraid of flying that she took the train from the [United] States,” he said.

The death of her father also caused her to shelve plans for further postgraduate studies, the family said.

“It affected her badly. She had just completed her master’s degree and wanted to go on to do her PhD, but she decided against it. She said couldn’t do the studies again,” Phillip said.

VIVID RECOLLECTION OF EVENT

The siblings can still vividly recall where they were and what they were doing when the tragedy struck.

“I was at work when I heard my co-workers screaming ‘a plane has hit the Twin Towers’,” Dolores said.

“I couldn’t wait to get home from work to make the dreaded phone calls. First, I called him. No answer. Then I called his daughter, and she confirmed my worst nightmare,” she told The Gleaner.

“When the second plane hit, I was sick to my stomach because I now knew that it was no coincidence,” she said. “Imagine the devastation for us as siblings. It was a heart-rendering and paralysing moment. Twenty years later, it is as yesterday – not getting any better.”

The fact that the incident was playing out as he was resting and watching television stands out in Phillip’s mind.

“I was watching the happenings on TV and didn’t even know that my brother was in it. Everything was unfolding right in front of my face and I didn’t know. My cousin called me a day later and told me my brother was in the World Trade Center. It was terrible,” he said.

On September 11, 2001, nineteen militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, DC, and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Citizens of 78 countries died during the attacks with nearly 20 Jamaicans numbering among the 2,996 fatalities..

For Samuel, accepting the loss of his brother without having a body to bury is the hardest aspect of dealing with the tragedy, which also left their father with deep emotional scars.

“I don’t remember him gone because I did not see the body,” he said.

Their father went to his grave not fully accepting the death of his son, the siblings said.

“It really affected him. Up to his death in 2007, he did not accept it. He still prayed for him every day, so I know he did not accept it. My father died not accepting that his son had actually died,” Phillip said, adding that his mother predeceased Titus.

Though none of the siblings have fully got over their brother’s tragic passing, closure has come for the family in the memories they share.

He was the “trickster” in the family – always pulling pranks and being “a kid at heart”, Samuel said.

Being in Jamaica with the majority of his siblings and family support in Canada at the time of the incident, Phillip’s closure came while he slept.

“He appeared to me in a dream and told me what happened in the World Trade Center. He was covered in a lot of ashes and he said to me: ‘I perished here.’ So when I had that dream shortly after the attack, I said to myself, he is really gone. That dream brought me closure.”

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com

Jamaica was not spared as waves of grief swept the world on September 11, 2001, a fact all too real for the Davidsons of Bowens Gate in Mocho, Clarendon.

The family was thrown into grief with the sudden passing of their beloved Titus Davidson, who was working as a security guard in one of the two World Trade Center towers in New York struck by planes commandeered by terrorists as al Qaeda operatives launched a bloody assault on the United States.

Twenty years later, the family holds on to the fact that Titus, the first son for Rockland and Merle Davidson, died a hero after valiantly going back into the burning skyscraper to help a woman in a wheelchair after the first hijacked aircraft was used as a missile to crash into it.

Titus and several siblings migrated to Canada in the 1970s, but he eventually moved to the United States, where he was determined to make his fortune, siblings Samuel, Phillip and Dolores Davidson told The Gleaner.

The impact of his death and the memory of that day are “terrible,” they said.

“He was my first bother and the first son for my father,” shared Phillip, who was on vacation and sitting at home watching television when the attacked occurred.

“When the first plane hit the building, he helped some persons outside then he said he wanted to go back and get the lady, who was in the restroom,” Phillip recalled. “He was actually on the phone with his daughter – his only child – after the first impact. He called her and was telling her what happened.”

That conversation would be their last.

“It’s a good thing he was there talking to his daughter,” Phillip reasoned, adding that at least she got to talk to her father for the last time.

Dolores, however, sees it differently.

“She has the everlasting echo in her mind of him calling her name, never to be seen or heard from again.”

The emotional toll also left Titus’ daughter, who The Gleaner was unable to reach, “paranoid of flying”, Phillip shared.

“The Red Cross sponsored four of us to go to Canada for his memorial, but she was so afraid of flying that she took the train from the [United] States,” he said.

The death of her father also caused her to shelve plans for further postgraduate studies, the family said.

“It affected her badly. She had just completed her master’s degree and wanted to go on to do her PhD, but she decided against it. She said couldn’t do the studies again,” Phillip said.

VIVID RECOLLECTION OF EVENT

The siblings can still vividly recall where they were and what they were doing when the tragedy struck.

“I was at work when I heard my co-workers screaming ‘a plane has hit the Twin Towers’,” Dolores said.

“I couldn’t wait to get home from work to make the dreaded phone calls. First, I called him. No answer. Then I called his daughter, and she confirmed my worst nightmare,” she told The Gleaner.

“When the second plane hit, I was sick to my stomach because I now knew that it was no coincidence,” she said. “Imagine the devastation for us as siblings. It was a heart-rendering and paralysing moment. Twenty years later, it is as yesterday – not getting any better.”

The fact that the incident was playing out as he was resting and watching television stands out in Phillip’s mind.

“I was watching the happenings on TV and didn’t even know that my brother was in it. Everything was unfolding right in front of my face and I didn’t know. My cousin called me a day later and told me my brother was in the World Trade Center. It was terrible,” he said.

On September 11, 2001, nineteen militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, DC, and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Citizens of 78 countries died during the attacks with nearly 20 Jamaicans numbering among the 2,996 fatalities..

For Samuel, accepting the loss of his brother without having a body to bury is the hardest aspect of dealing with the tragedy, which also left their father with deep emotional scars.

“I don’t remember him gone because I did not see the body,” he said.

Their father went to his grave not fully accepting the death of his son, the siblings said.

“It really affected him. Up to his death in 2007, he did not accept it. He still prayed for him every day, so I know he did not accept it. My father died not accepting that his son had actually died,” Phillip said, adding that his mother predeceased Titus.

Though none of the siblings have fully got over their brother’s tragic passing, closure has come for the family in the memories they share.

He was the “trickster” in the family – always pulling pranks and being “a kid at heart”, Samuel said.

Being in Jamaica with the majority of his siblings and family support in Canada at the time of the incident, Phillip’s closure came while he slept.

“He appeared to me in a dream and told me what happened in the World Trade Center. He was covered in a lot of ashes and he said to me: ‘I perished here.’ So when I had that dream shortly after the attack, I said to myself, he is really gone. That dream brought me closure.”

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com