June 21, 2021
Mary Fetchet is the mother of Bradley James Fetchet, who died at the age of 24 on Sept. 11. Brad Fetchet worked at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, on the 89th floor, WTC Tower Two – the South Tower. Mary Fetchet and her husband live in New Canaan, Connecticut. She became a member of the Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Independent Commission.
On March 31, 2003, Mary Fetchet testified before the 9/11 Commission. She stated “As a mother who lost her child I feel it is my moral obligation to speak on behalf of my son and all those that died on September 11. They deserve answers to how and why they were senselessly murdered in their own country – nearly 3,000 innocent citizens at work and traveling in American aircrafts. I also speak on behalf of my family and the other families who are searching for answers to how and why their loved ones died on September 11th. We deserve answers to the long list of questions we have.”
In her testimony, Mary Fetchet told the 9/11 Commissioners about her oldest son.
“Brad was 24 years old and the oldest of our 3 sons. He worked at Keefe, Bruyette and Woods as an equity trader on the 89th floor of Tower 2 [South Tower]. Brad was an understated, athletic, handsome young man with a keen sense of humor, a sparkle in his eyes and a wonderful smile. Much like the 3,000 other innocent victims Brad was hardworking and dedicated to his family and friends. Brad was planning to become engaged to his girlfriend of 3 years, Brooke. When Brad died, my husband and I lost a son and our dreams for his future—a wedding, a daughter- in-law and grandchildren. His younger brothers have lost a friend, a coach, a mentor, a confidant, and a companion.”
“On September 11 Brad called my husband at work shortly after the first plane hit tower one. Like other times when there was an emergency in the building, he wanted to reassure us that he was ok. He was shaken, because he had seen someone “drop from the 91st floor…ALL THE WAY DOWN.” He knew a plane hit tower one, but wasn’t aware it was a commercial jet. The Port Authority directed my son’s company to stay put in their office, “that the building is safe and secure.” My husband asked Brad to call me at home. Here is the recording of the message Brad left me around 9:00 a.m. (15 minutes after the first plane hit tower one, 3 minutes before the 2 plane hit tower two).”
Message: “Hi Mom, it’s Brad. Just wanted to call and let you know. I’m sure that
you heard there was…..or maybe you haven’t heard that a plane crashed into World
Trade Center One. We’re fine. We’re in World Trade Center 2. I’m obviously alive
and well over here. But obviously…a pretty scary experience. I saw a guy fall out of probably the 91st story….ah.. all the way down ……so ……………(long pause, cleared throat) You’re welcome to give a call here. I think we’ll be here all day. I’m not sure if the firm is going to shut down for the day or what. But ah ….give me a call back later. I called Dad to let him know. Love You….”
Mary continued, “Brad always tried to be strong, so I would not worry. Although he was not aware his life was in danger, I can hear the fear in his voice. I never had the opportunity to return his call – to say goodbye and tell him I love him. After Brad called home, he made 2 calls to his girlfriend. (the last call was made at 9:20 a.m., 17 minutes after the 2nd plane hit his building Tower 2, approximately 45 minutes before the tower collapsed). The message was brief. Sirens were sounding in the background and he was frantically trying to escape the building. Other families received similar calls from their loved ones who knew they were going to die, who were trapped above the fire, asphyxiated or injured and unable to escape. THEY DIED A HORRENDOUS DEATH. So, I ask you, if the house next door to your home were hit by a plane or on fire, would you direct your family to remain in your home? How is it that people were directed to remain in a 110- story building supposedly “safe and secure” when its twin tower is billowing in smoke and people choosing to jump to their death in order to avoid a high-rise fire? How is it that Brad was unaware of the dangerous situation he was in 15 minutes after the 1st plane hit tower one? Precious time was wasted.”
Unlike Brad’s situation, Rick Rescorla, Director of Security for Morgan Stanley directed his employees to leave the building — to disregard the Port Authorities commands to evacuees to “return UP to their offices.”
How is it that they were receiving such conflicting information, which ultimately, senselessly cost my sons life and the life of 600 others in building two? What were the lessons learned after the 1993 bombing? Were there evacuation policies in place? Were they followed? NO ONE IN BUILDING TWO SHOULD BE DEAD TODAY. WHAT WERE THE FAILURES AND AGAIN WHO IS ACCOUNTABLE?” [bold as in the transcript of her testimony].
On August 17, 2004, Mary Fetchet testified at the U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Hearing. Though the 9/11 Commission ignored 70% of the Family Steering Committee’s questions and only addressed 9% in any detail, Fetchet took a pragmatic approach. She said, “The Commission may not have answered all our questions, but its report does offer a much-needed overall strategy to develop a comprehensive foundation for creating a safer America.”
In 2013 Mary Fetchet was “shocked” to discover that the makers of the film Zero Dark Thirty used a clip of Brad Fetchet’s phone call to her on September Eleventh. The film, a dramatization of the American government hunt for Osama bin Laden, included recordings of phone calls from people trapped in the Twin Towers. Fetchet told the New York Daily News, “Could you imagine going to a film that had a loved one who had died at the hands of terrorists and hearing the voice of that person and not knowing you were going to hear it? “I was shocked that I hadn’t been contacted to be asked for my permission to use Brad’s recording. And (the movie screening we saw) was right around what would have been Brad’s 36th birthday and right around Thanksgiving.”
“A lot of the families have taken part in the healing process, going from the loss itself, forward, to focusing on the lives they lived,” she explained. “So when family members have to revisit this … to take his last words to me before he died, just, it’s counterproductive to one’s healing process. I don’t object to the film being made. But I do object to them taking the liberty of including my son’s last message to me.”
Mary Fetchet has been a member of the Skyscraper Safety Campaign, Coalition 9/11 Families, the LMDC Families Advisory Council, and co-founder of Voices of September 11th with Beverly Eckert. In her work with Voices, Mary Fetchet has been instrumental her connecting September Eleventh families with the 9/11 Living Memorial Project. This is an online tribute that commemorates the 2,977 lives lost and documents stories of survivors. As well, Mary Fetchet has provided leadership in establishing programs to help people cope with trauma.
“Testimony of Mary Fetchet,” 9/11 Commission, March 31, 2003.
“Testimony of Mary Fetchet,” U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, August 17, 2004.
Adam Adelman, “Conn. Couple Blast Oscar-winning ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ for Using Son’s Last Words from 9/11 Without their Consent,” New York Daily News, February 26, 2013.
“9/11 Living Memorial,” voicescenter.org.
“Q&A: Voices of Sept. 11’s Mary Fetchet on Coping with Trauma,” 9/11 Memorial, September 2018.