linking from Slate.com, this is the story of Danny Lewin, the first victim of September 11, 2001.
Danny was the founder of , one of the world's largest distributed-computing platforms, responsible for serving between 15 and 30 percent of all web traffic.
Rather than paste the details of his death here (which is easier for the reader), I'm posting a teaser here, with the link to the rest of the story.
Until now, Lewin’s story has remained untold—mainly out of respect for friends and family who closely guarded their memories of the brilliant commando turned computer scientist. In addition, the official reports of what happened on Flight 11 were, for some time, conflicting and confusing. A memo mistakenly released by the Federal Aviation Administration stated that terrorist Satam al-Suqami shot and killed Lewin with a single bullet around 9:20 a.m. (obviously inaccurate, as the plane crashed at 8:46 a.m.). But almost as soon as the memo was leaked, FAA officials claimed it was written in error and that Lewin had been stabbed, not shot. The 9/11 Commission concurred in its final report, issued four years later, offering a more detailed summary: Based on dozens of interviews with those who spoke with two of the plane’s flight attendants during the hijacking, the commission determined that al-Suqami most likely killed Lewin by slashing his throat from behind as he attempted, single-handedly, to try to stop the hijacking. The time of his death was reported to be somewhere between 8:15 and 8:20 a.m.
“He was the first victim of the first war of the 21st century,” says Marco Greenberg, Lewin’s best friend.
But that act of heroism was not the only way Lewin made his presence felt on that terrible, unique, awful day. In a tragic twist of irony, the algorithms he helped develop, and the company he co-founded—Akamai Technologies—helped the Internet survive that day’s crush of traffic— the Web equivalent of a 100-year flood.
Born in Denver, Lewin moved to Israel with his family in 1984. The move happened totally against his will; his father, Charles, had become an ardent Zionist and relocated his family to “make aliyah,” a term used to describe the repatriation of Jews to Israel. Lewin was just 14 years old, and he was furious at his family’s sudden uprooting. During his first few months in Israel he struggled to learn the language and make friends. Instead of rebelling, however, Lewin turned to his two greatest assets—his physical strength and superior intellect. Sailing through his classes at a Jerusalem technology school and spending all his spare time at a local gym, Lewin fought to fit in with the tough sabras, and in time he succeeded. By age 18 he was signing up for military service in the IDF, where he joined the ranks of the country’s most elite counterterrorism unit, Sayeret Mat’kal.
Here is the
Even if you're not religious, please have positive thoughts for the 2000+ victims and their families.