June 25, 2021

Carol Ashley is the mother of Janice Ashley, who died at the age of 25 on Sept. 11. Janice Ashley worked at Fred Alger Management, 93rd floor, WTC Tower One – the North Tower.

In a series in the New York Times called Portraits of Grief, was a piece titled “A Renaissance Woman: Janice Ashley.” The 25-year-old was remembered by those who knew her: 

“She marched to her own tune,” said Richard Gallo, a friend she had dated for over five years. “She wouldn’t have chicken or beef when she went out to eat — she’d order the antelope steak or ostrich burger.”

In a letter of condolence to the Ashley family, another friend recalled how Ms. Ashley was their only high school classmate to compliment her unconventional Sweet 16 party, at a Manhattan comedy club. “She just got things,” Risa Lewak said. “There was nothing phony about her.”

In Rockville Center, New York, where she lived, there is a memorial in the Village Green with the name of Janice Ashley listed as one of nine names of people who died that were connected to the community. The memorial is set in “garden-like grounds with [a] gazebo.” Janice Ashley’s name is also found on a monument with the nine names and pictures of those connected with Oceanside, NY, just one and a half miles south of Rockville Center. A Janice Ashley Memorial Panel made of stained glass was created and erected in Ithaca, New York. An artists’ note about the panel states “The stained glass represents Janice through its light, beauty, artistry, creativity and the pleasure it gives others.” 

Carol Ashley’s hometown on September 11 was Rockville Centre, NY. She has been a member of both the Skyscraper Safety Campaign and Voices of September 11th.

As a member of the Family Steering Committee, Carol Ashley gave testimony before the 9/11 Commission on January 26, 2004. She underscored that she was “stunned when President Bush opposed [the]…inquiry” the Sept. 11 families were seeking. She contrasted the decisions made by government staff with the lack of notice to the American people. She cited Richard Clarke’s briefing comments in early July 2001 to FBI, FAA, Secret Service, Coast Guard and INS, “something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it’s going to happen soon.”

Ashley said in her testimony, “As a result of the meeting all nonessential travel for counterterrorism staff was suspended, vacations were cancelled, domestic rapid response teams were alerted, and for six weeks the US government both here and overseas was on high alert for a terrorist attack. But sometime prior to September 11th, the order was given to stand down…. Meanwhile, the American civilian population was blissfully ignorant of the danger. But some government officials stopped flying commercial planes, and others canceled plans to fly on September 11th. According to a CBS news report, Attorney General John Ashcroft stopped flying commercial airlines in July, 2001, due to an FBI threat assessment. San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who was scheduled to fly into New York City on the 11th, was advised late on the night of September 10th to be cautious about air travel into New York City. On September 10th, Pentagon brass suddenly canceled flights scheduled for the 11th. Did some officials have advanced warning of the danger? If so, who advised them? Why wasn’t the American public warned?”

In February 2009, Ashley was asked by reporters to comment on the death of fellow Family Steering Committee (FSC) member Beverly Eckert. Ashley, who had recently joined Eckert on a trip to the White House, told the Associated Press that the way Mrs. Eckert had died had been particularly painful for fellow 9/11 relatives with whom she was friends. “The fact that it was a plane crash, it was fire, it was reminiscent of 9/11 that way – that’s just very difficult.” In 2010 Carol Ashley took part in interviews conducted with family members, rescue workers and survivors of the attacks of September 11th conducted by Voices of September 11th. The interviews were used to create a 9/11 Living Memorial Video. 

In May 2014, as the 9/11 Museum prepared to open, Carol Ashley told Voices of September 11th “I love the Living Memorial because it shows that those who were lost on 9/11 were not statistics. They were people. Their personalities and the things that made them special come through in the Living Memorial Tributes that their families and friends put together. Having the Living Memorial Tributes available to those who visit the 9/11 Museum is a wonderful way to honor the memory of my daughter and the thousands of other victims.”

On September 10, 2014, Carol Ashley gave an update on the 9/11 Commission and what progress the government has made in implementing the commissions’ recommendations. This took place at the 13th annual Voices of September 11th  Day of Remembrance Information Forum held at the Marriott Hotel in New York City, just a five-minute walk from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

On September 11, 2018, the Bipartisan Policy Center held its Patriot Award Ceremony in Washington, DC. The award ceremony recognizes leaders who demonstrate political courage and exceptional leadership throughout their careers. The 2018 honorees were 9/11 Co-Chairmen – former Governor of New Jersey Thomas Kean and former Member of the United States House of Representatives Lee Hamilton, who were honored for their inspirational courage. Governor Kean began his remarks accepting the award by recognizing Mary Fetchet and Carol Ashley and the other 9/11 families for their advocacy efforts to establish the 9/11 Commission.

And on September 10, 2020, Carol Ashley was one of 21 candle lighters who took part in a Zoom Voices 19th Anniversary Candle Lighting Ceremony.

Ray McGinnis

A Renaissance Woman: Janice Ashley,” New York Times, November 25, 2001.
Carol Ashley, “Statement on Aviation Security,” 9/11 Commission, January 26, 2004.
9/11 Widow Dies in NY Plane Crash,” BBC, February 13, 2009.