Sister of Sept. 11 victim looks at life in 'positive framework'

Virginia Lacy is still saddened by the loss of her older brother 15 years ago in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, still not over the shock, still left feeling helpless to prevent such future tragedies.

But the 74-year-old retiree, who has lived in Naperville since 1963, is not a pessimist nor a doubter in American values.

"I think we've done a good job in America of not being despondent about it, but being careful and putting in place safeguards," said Lacy, reflecting on the anniversary of the attacks that launched a new era of anti-terrorism efforts.

People now can escape from buildings more quickly, and police and firefighters are better trained, she said. But those safeguards wouldn't have been likely to save her brother, Robert Cruikshank.

After the first hijacked airplane struck the first World Trade Center tower, Lacy said her brother left the office where he worked as a broker on the New York Stock Exchange and tried to help. His body wasn't found for weeks.

"We couldn't reach him," Lacy said about her brother, who was 64. "We knew where his building was located, so we thought that might be a problem."

This year, Lacy plans on sharing a quiet dinner and a prayer at home with her family, remembering to live life to the fullest in honor of her brother and the nearly 3,000 other victims.

"We look at life in a positive framework and see what we can contribute and love those around us and care about our children," Lacy said about all of the family members affected by Cruikshank's death. "All of that lends to how people view our society as a whole - as loving and caring and ready to go into action at any time to help people and to save lives and do whatever needs to be done."

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