When Sean Hughes heard there had been an incident at the World Trade Center on Tuesday, he immediately checked his answering machine for word from his wife Melissa.
He heard a simple, heartbreaking message from his wife, who was trapped on the 101st floor of the North Tower.
"Sean, it's me. I just wanted to let you know I love you and I'm stuck in this building in New York. A plane hit the building, or a bomb went off. We don't know, but there's a lot of smoke and we just wanted you to know that I love you always."
And that was it. Hughes has not heard from her since, and he has been desperately looking for a way to get to New York from his San Francisco Bay Area home. Because commercial air traffic has been stopped since the attack, he has had no way to get to the disaster scene.
"The toughest thing for me right now is that I can't be there," he said today on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America.
This morning, Jet Blue Airlines offered to fly him and his brother Shannon to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on its next available flight, and they hope to arrive tonight.
In the meantime, however, friends and family have been calling hospitals and passing out fliers with Melissa Hughes' picture on it. They have not heard anything about her whereabouts or condition.
A Heroic Fight
Thomas Burnett phoned his wife from hijacked United Airlines Flight 93. He said he was going to die, but he wasn't going quietly.
"His adrenaline was going. He was talking quickly, and he was ready to do something," Deena Burnett said.
Using his cell phone, Burnett called her three times before the plane crashed 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The aircraft had been scheduled to fly from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco.
Burnett, an executive with a Bay Area pharmaceutical company, said three men had taken control of the plane.
The father of three said a terrorist had stabbed to death one person on board, and that the attackers were threatening to detonate a bomb. She told him about the attack on the World Trade Center.
"He was fighting to come home. He had every intention of being here that night," said Mrs. Burnett.
"I pleaded with him to please sit down and not draw any attention to himself, and he said 'No, no, they're going to run us into the ground. We're going to have to do something,'" she said.
At St. Isadore's Catholic Church in Danville, Calif., family and friends gathered in Burnett's memory after news of the disaster spread.
"I draw comfort in the fact that I know he didn't go down by giving up," his wife said. "He certainly went down fighting."
A Terrifying Wait
In lower Manhattan, there is a line of human grief — person after person, clutching photos and fliers, waiting to report their loved ones missing.
With little information and diminishing hope, they are assembling at a National Guard Armory, anxious for any news about survivors of Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Center towers.
As they wait, fliers on walls and lamp posts around them plead for information about one young missing man. "Sean Lugano, 2 WTC. KBW 88th Fl.," it reads, referring to the missing man's employer and office location.
The family of Christopher Clarke has been e-mailing media outlets, asking for any information. Clarke was near the top of World Trade Center when the attacks occurred.
Brian Murphy was on the 105th floor. His wife received an e-mail from him just 20 minutes before the first plane hit, she has heard nothing since: