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Empty Sky: NJ State 9/11 Memorial
Montclair State University 9/11 Memorial
East Newark 9/11 Memorial
Fair Haven 9/11 Memorial
Freehold Township 9/11 Living Memorial Tree Grove
Conseleya 9/11 Memorial
Crescent Beach Park - Flagpole/Memorial for 9/11 Victims
Garrison Elementary School American Patriot Garden
Dewitt 9/11 Memorial
I would have never imagined that I would give a eulogy at my age for someone so close. I am here to represent a family that has never thought such tremendous pain and sorrow could come our way. We have asked God many times why He did not spare our brother Joon Koo on the tragic morning of Sept. 11th. We wondered why he was not one of the twenty some odd people who got laid off that Monday from Cantor Fitzgerald or why he went into work that Tuesday when he was sick recovering from a flu. My second sister Janet and I wondered why it wasn’t one of us since we are not married yet and do not have children. Then his wife Dohee would not be without a husband nor his two children, Ariel and Diane, be fatherless. Who can understand the pain that our grandparents are experiencing through the loss of their first grandson, whom they’ve raised for seven years of his life or for our parents who’ve lost their only son who would have carried on the Kang family lineage. It is at a time like this that we would have needed our brother the most.
Being the oldest child in our family, our brother took on the responsibility of disciplining us and making sure his three younger sisters, Rebecca, Janet and I were on the right track while our parents worked. When we first came to America twenty years ago, he made us memorize about 20 words a day and he actually tested us regularly. Myself, only being 9 at the time started out with the alphabet. I think I failed the first couple of tests. Once he received Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and became a Christian, he took Rebecca to a church revival where she also got saved. He acted tough on the outside, but he was a deeply caring person.
He was very modest as well, I never knew he had close to 800 on Math SAT or that he got into an Ivy League until someone else told me years later. He was keen on not worrying our parents; he didn’t want to burden them financially or emotionally. He couldn’t wait for the day when he would take care of our parents and grandparents to this satisfaction. He wanted to be the one to provide our dad’s dream car. He never really bought anything for himself, he always tried to put others first.
For those of you who have know our brother Joon Koo know that he is not a man of many words but that his action spoke loud and clear. He had a laughter that was contagious and a heart that could not be contained. He past coworker wrote of our brother being a true gentleman and as genuine a person as he has ever met. Our brother was very responsible and hard working. He was continuously studying something whether it was for actuary, securities or a computer license. Once he started working in the eSpeed unit at Cantor Fitzgerald, he got up at 5 every morning and commuted one and a half hours to get to work by 7 am. He gave his all and he was quickly promoted to a managerial position. He enjoyed the challenges his work offered and was excited about eh system project he was working on.
Our brother deeply loved God and tried to reflect Christ in his life. He was a devout man who started and ended his workday with the Lord. He named his first child Ariel, which means the heart of God and second daughter, Diane, which means divine. He wanted them to reflect God. He taught junior high school students at his church. He also led a fellowship group that increased in its size from four families to over 20 families. It is clear that God used him and is still using him for His purpose and glory.
God asked for the best from our family, our pillar. He took our brother not to deprive us, but to provide the best for our brother and to bless us more. God must have known of my brother’s love for Him that He wanted our brother by his side sooner. Some of you may have read the email about the lady we met at the family tour of the World Trade Center. Kathleen had lost her 4-year-old daughter and her parents in law during the Oklahoma City bombing. She told us how she could imagine her daughter, Ashley, telling our brother “look, my mom has been made strong to help your mom now. Your mom will be made strong to help others in need later on.” We believe that God will continue to work in our lives and use us to be a blessing to others. We are also comforted by the promise that God will be “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows.”
Joon Koo oppa, we never told you that we loved you or how we looked up to you because you know such affections are more understood than said in our family. You are an inspiration to us. Part of who we are today is because of the role you played in our lives. You taught us to be responsible in all aspects of life. We are sorry that we didn’t get a chance to say goodbye but we know that that would have been only a temporary one. Thank you for living your life to the fullest. If we can only mirror the way you walked with the Lord and put others first, we would not have any regrets. And when the tears flow when we are in bed at night, we will try to remember that we will see you again soon. But for now, we will miss you very, very much.