BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Twelve years after the worst terrorist attack in American history, one local family is opening up for the first time after losing one of their own in the tragedy.
Linda May has lived in Southport for 28 years. Her brother was working in the World Trade Center when the twin towers collapsed. To this day, Linda says her family still hasn't recovered.
May says she remembers exactly where she was when she found out her brother was killed.
"I turned around and there was the plane and I knew he was gone because I fell to my knees," said May.
She struggles to hold back the tears as she flips through old pictures of her younger brother. Thomas McHale was 34 years old when he died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
"The good die young and he was a great person, he had a fantastic job, he was funny, he had so many friends," said May. "He was a hard person to lose."
It was especially hard for his college sweetheart. At the time of the attack, Thomas and his wife were happily married and expecting their first child. Colin was born just a few weeks after the tragedy. Their story even got national attention from their friend, Kathy Lee Gifford.
"Whenever Kathy was on stage, she would love for Thomas to be in the crowd," said May. "She never had to worry about being entertaining or being funny because Tommy's laugh would take in the whole audience."
Kathy Lee Gifford eventually wrote a song about Thomas's son on her 9/11 commemoration album called "Little Baby." It's another way for Linda to remember her baby brother.
"None of my family can get over it and we do what we have to do," said May. "But we can't get over it."
Linda struggles to talk about it now, but hopes to pass along this message.
"It not only changed our life personally, but it changed the whole world," said May. "Make sure everyone around you knows, never forget. That's why this day is important."
Each year, the family hosts a memorial golf tournament in Thomas's honor in his hometown on Long Island.
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