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Michael James Stewart
Age: 42
Occupation:
Worked for: Carr Futures
Originally from: Newtownabbey, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Resided in:
School: Belfast High School
College:
Submitted by: Irish Tribute ()

Other links: His Favorite Talent: NY Times
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From Belfast Telegraph, Nov 7, 2001

'Ulster Twin Towers victim revealed'

ONE of the victims of the terror attacks on New York's World Trade Centre was from Co Antrim, The Belfast Telegraph can reveal today.

Michael Stewart (42), from Newtownabbey, was among the thousands killed when terrorists crashed passenger jets into the Twin Towers on September 11.

The father of three's death has until today gone unreported in Northern Ireland, as his relatives wished to grieve in private.

But the family has now spoken about the tragedy for the first time.

In a moving interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Michael's sister Janet Stewart talked with pride about her brother's life.

She explained that the family wanted a recent memorial service to be a private event, attended only by relatives and close friends.

Michael had lived in America for around 20 years and was a vice-president of Carr Futures, an investment banking firm. He worked on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Centre's North Tower, the first Tower to be attacked. His body has never been found.

The final Trade Centre death toll may never be known, but is believed to be between 3,000 and 5,000. The official estimate of British citizens killed currently stands at 79.

Janet recalled her family's horror on seeing the early TV reports on the suicide flight attacks.

Michael's mother Lily had just arrived in Turkey on holiday.

"She was only in the hotel about 15 minutes when she saw people watching the scenes from New York on the television. She just stopped in her tracks."

At the same time, Janet was learning the news back home in Northern Ireland.

"I couldn't get through to his fiancee Kristin until the next day when she told me he was missing."

Any hope that Michael might have survived soon faded. "Kristin went round the hospitals but there weren't actually that many in the hospitals," Janet said.

Three members of the Stewart family - Janet, sister Geraldine and their mother Lily - travelled over to New York later in September and saw the remains of the Twin Towers for themselves.

Janet also revealed her family's deep misgivings about the war being waged against Afghanistan by the USA.

"We don't really agree with what's going on. We know something has to be done, but don't want innocent Afghans to suffer. The family has given money to the Afghan appeal," she said.

Michael was born in Belfast in 1959 and was educated at Whitehouse Primary School and Belfast High School.

He had three sons - Frankie (14), Eamon (11) and Liam, two-and-a-half.

Remembering her brother as a kind and gentle man who loved his family, Janet said: "He was very close to our mother and phoned her maybe five times a week.

"He spoke to her on the day before he died and also left a message on the answer machine. We've still got the message."

The memorial service was held in the Glenavna Hotel in Whiteabbey, where Michael and his sisters were taken for birthday treats in their childhood.

Janet added: "Michael had a lot of drive and energy. He lived a very busy life and enjoyed it thoroughly. He didn't let things put him down.

"We're trying to carry some of that forward. You have to appreciate what you've got. It's very fragile and you never know when it's going to be taken away from you."
-- Anon ()
27 Nov 2001

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