Broken Clouds 45° Good Evening
Broken Clouds 45° Good Evening

LI woman recalls her fallen brother

Debra Epps delivers a reading during the tenth

Debra Epps delivers a reading during the tenth anniversary ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial plaza. (Sept. 11, 2011) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Debra Epps wanted to say "thank you."

"People really do catch you when you fall," she said from the 9/11 memorial podium, her voice echoing off the buildings of lower Manhattan.

Epps of Selden recalled the pain of losing her brother Christopher Epps, 29, a resident of the Bronx who worked as an accountant on the 98th floor of the north tower. And the kindness of friends and family who reached out when he was gone.

A dozen members of the family had come to celebrate his life. His cousin Maria Groves carried a sign decked with photos: "RIP Christopher Epps," it read. "You are in my heart forever. Love, Ma."

At work, Christopher Epps had sat next to a friend, Wayne Russo, whose family made a special request to have the men's names engraved side-by-side on the 9/11 Memorial plaza.

The two families met there Sunday by the cascading water.

"It's a very spiritual feeling," Debra Epps said later. "The tears of sorrow cascading down into the hole."

The families hugged, shared stories, and ran their fingers over the names.


This is Epps' statement from the podium at Sunday's ceremony:

"Good morning, my name Debra Epps. It has been 10 years and it feels like it just happened yesterday. My brother Christopher Epps worked on the 98th floor in the north tower. Not one holiday, birthday has gone by that my four sisters and my brother and I don't think about him. Our mother never takes off her necklace with his picture in it. Something I have learned over the past 10 years is that people come forward to help you in your time of need. And today, we thank you. The people of our great nation, family friends and neighbors. At work, Christopher sat next to his good friend Wayne Russo. The Russo family has made a special request that their son's name be placed next to my brother's name. This meant so much to my family.

"What I know now is that the forces of good are not just in movies. It's all around us. People really do catch you when you fall. It's been a blessing.

"Christopher would have loved knowing that the love he freely gave to others was given back to us in his name. Thank you and I bid you Godspeed."

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