June 19, 2021
Monica Gabrielle is the wife of Richard Gabrielle, who died at the age of 50 on Sept. 11.
Richard Gabrielle worked at Aon Corporation, 93rd floor, WTC Tower Two – the South Tower. In a story in the New York Times on August 4, 2002 titled “Lost Voices of Firefighters, Some on 78th Floor,” Jim Dwyer and Ford Fessenden reported that “Among those lying in the lobby of the 78th floor was Richard Gabrielle, an Aon employee who had been waiting for the elevator. He was trapped under marble that was blown off the wall, witnesses said.” Radio transmissions from Battalion Chief Orio J. Palmer and Fire Marshal Ronald P. Bucca, who had reached the 78th floor, were made public in August 2002. They confirmed for Monica Gabrielle what was unfolding during the last minutes of her husband’s life. “The fact that Rich, still alive, was not alone – at least he knew there was help, and thought that they were getting out,” she told the NYT.
Monica and Richard had an apartment in Manhattan, and a home in West Haven, Connecticut. She was co-chair of the Skyscraper Safety Campaign. In subsequent years, she signed a number of statements with the September 11th Advocates.
Monica and Richard Gabrielle were featured in an article titled “The Human Toll of Terrorism: Speaking For the Dead – Richard Gabrielle, American.” Monica Gabrielle was born in Germany and moved to Long Island, New York, in 1956. She was raised in the small, scenic town of Wading River on the North Shore of Long Island. It was when she was attending high school that Monica “met Richard Gabrielle skating on a frozen duck pond.”
“They were married in 1973. Richard Gabrielle was a successful insurance broker, whose company had large offices in the World Trade Center. The Gabrielles’ only child, Nicole, was born in Long Island in 1978, and they later moved to Connecticut. Although Richard and Monica took an apartment in New York City to reduce the number of daily commutes from Connecticut, their work schedule took its toll. Monica Gabrielle reflects, ‘We had a five-year plan. Five more years and we would be ready to leave the Connecticut commute behind. Retire, move south, probably to Florida, and enjoy life.’” After her husband’s death, Monica Gabrielle became a member of the Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Independent Commission.
On November 19, 2003, Monica Gabrielle gave testimony before the 9/11 Commission. In her testimony she stated “Let my voice, on behalf of all the victims, implore you to listen and listen well. The families left behind to suffer from the memories of this atrocity are too many. We have an obligation to the victims, the families and the citizens of this country to take a critical look at what went wrong and to make sure we do everything in our power to ensure safety and security in all buildings.” She later described that “In Tower 2 [South Tower] occupants were told to stay, to go back. Many, already in the process of leaving the building turned around, trusting the announcements that the building was secure. That decision would cost them their lives….Once again, others would find themselves searching for a way out only to be met by locked doors, stairwells that were destroyed, elevators that didn’t work. Some were trapped in elevators. Some were trapped in offices. Again, the roof was sought as a point of rescue. Again, locked doors, wasting precious minutes going up instead of finding the one open stairwell left, never having been told that roof-top rescues were no longer an option. Again final messages were sent. Too smoky. Can’t breathe. The ceiling is falling in. The floor is giving way. The stairwells are blocked. The stairwells are gone. Some of these soon-to-be victims were on phones with loved ones pleading for information and options. No communication from the Port Authority was forthcoming. Innocent victims sitting in offices, waiting for instructions on what to do… All of them perished, many while still on the phone with loved ones.”
On the sixth anniversary of the attacks, Monica Gabrielle was featured in a September 11, 2007 Hartford Courant article titled “A 9/11 Widow, Disgust, Dismay.” In the column by Rick Green, it was noted “She was there next to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton during the  State of the Union speech, but she mentioned Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul [who had both announced campaigns to run for President in 2008] – polar opposites who oppose our terrorism policies – when I asked about 2008. ‘We have medals of freedom and promotions. We had accolades and a couple of years later we had Katrina. I am more baffled today than I was six years ago. I am more suspicious and I am less inclined to believe.’
She told the Hartford Courant “I am disgruntled, disgusted and dismayed,” in reference to “unsecured borders, vulnerable ports, a fear-mongering president and his misguided Iraq war.” Said Gabrielle in September 2008, “We had hoped that out of that personal loss that at least it would motivate those in position to know and do, to move forward,” she said from her new home on Long Island. “Once that innocence is ripped away – that those in power are there to protect us – then reality hits. Nothing has changed.”
Nothing, except the years without her husband, Richard. Nothing, except the deaths of thousands. Nothing, except politicians who talk endlessly about 9/11, but deliver little.
“Why, the thought that the government is going to fix itself. Are you kidding me? They don’t do oversight on what they are supposed to do unless the public puts pressure on them; it is not going to happen.”
On February 4, 2008, Monica Gabrielle signed a letter, along with other September 11th Advocates Patty Casazza, Mindy Kleinberg and Lorie Van Auken, titled “September 11th Advocates Comment On The Impending Release Of Philip Shenon’s Book: The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation.” In the letter, Gabrielle and others wrote that the “Pre-9/11 story’ largely revolved around second and third hand knowledge of interrogations of tortured individuals, detainees that were being held in secret locations. According to many sources at the CIA and deep within the government, confessions extracted from individuals who are tortured are generally deemed useless. A tortured detainee will say anything in order to make the torture stop and therefore, the confession cannot be trusted. One needs to look no further than the Army Field Manual on Interrogation (FM 34-52), which states in Chapter 1:
Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.
How could the Commission have based their entire pre-9/11 narrative on these unreliable, torture-induced confessions?”
When 9/11 researcher David Ray Griffin released his book, The New Pearl Harbor Revised: 9/11, the Cover-Up and the Expose, on the seventh anniversary of the attacks in 2008, Monica Gabrielle gave an endorsement. She wrote “Mr. Griffin has again painstakingly laid bare the many lingering questions and inconsistencies of the official story regarding the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001. Sadly, millions of taxpayer dollars have been squandered on investigations that yielded no accountability, few answers, and fewer reforms. Yet, the attacks of September 11, 2001, have been wantonly used as political and policy fodder. Without truth, there can be no accountability. Without accountability, there can be no real change. Without change, we remain at risk.”
Monica Gabrielle co-founded, with Sally Regenhard, the Skyscraper Safety Campaign, served on the Advisory Board of the Columbia WTC Evacuation Study, and was a Board Member of the National Air Defense Alliance/Foundation. She later joined the September 11th Advocates, signing letters concerning emerging issues related to Sept. 11 into the 2010s.
“Testimony of Monica Gabrielle,” 9/11 Commission, November 19, 2003.“The Human Toll of Terrorism: Speaking For the Dead – Richard Gabrielle, American,” gabrielleconsulting.com.
Rick Green, “A 9/11 Widow: Disgust, Dismay,” Hartford Courant, September 11, 2008.