Florence woman shares her story about losing her sister: “Waleska is not my hero because she died on 9/11. She’s my hero because she’s my sister”

Remembering 9/11

FLORENCE, Mass. (WWLP) – Lourdes Lebron lost her sister on Flight 93 in the 9/11 Terrorist Attack. 20-years later she’s looking back remembering the sister she loved so much and looking forward to how she can make sure Waleska Martinez’s legacy can live on.

22News visited Lourdes Lebron’s home in Florence. Strength takes time. That’s what Lourdes found first hand. But the journey of finding herself through this personal and national tragedy was through what her sister valued most.

“Waleska is not my hero because she died on 9/11.
She’s my hero because she’s my sister.”

Lourdes Lebron

Lourdes Lebron said it’s the family VHS tapes remembering the happy times they shared. Moving to her Florence home days before 9/11, Lourdes said in her last conversation with Waleska, her sister made sure she went to church.

That Tuesday, Lourdes had been calling her sister leaving voicemails to tell her about the planes. Then reaching out to her pager. The message reading:

  • 413, the area code
  • 911, it’s an emergency
  • and 143, meaning I love you

Lourdes knew her sister was flying to San Francisco from Newark but when she heard the plane was missing she started to pray, “Thinking what my sister was going through that was killing me you know to be able to do nothing.”

Lourdes doesn’t remember the events that followed. But ten years later she found strength through the thing her sister loved the most, education. Going to Holyoke Community College sharing her experience with the next generation.

“I was feeling better because instead of thinking about the pain, I was thinking about the good I was doing that day,” said Lourdes.

For her each day brings memories of 9/11 and she will always feel that pain it brings. But 20-years, she’s finding ways to move forward. Lourdes has collected the September 11th newspapers since that day but struggles to read them, “I haven’t been able to read it yet but I think after this year I will be able to do it. I think I’m going to sit down and read it little by little. I think I’m strong enough now.”

When asked her how people should honor 9/11, she said do something good for your community and that is how she wants her sister’s legacy and the roughly 3,000 others lost to be carried out.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Only on WWLP.com | Digital First

More Digital First

Trending Stories

Donate Today