Charles G. Costello Jr.

Charles G. Costello Jr.
World Trade Center

No Rights to Bragging


To Charles Costello, bragging was a criminal offense. No matter what he achieved or whom he helped, Mr. Costello never let on about it to his family. At home, he was just Chuck, doting father to four children, adoring husband to Mary and a lover of good, long bike rides.

At a recent memorial, 1,000 people turned out to tell his family of the Charles Costello they knew, the elevator technician who often on his way to work shuttled neighbors to bus stops and did other errands. On Sept. 11, despite his partner's pleas, Mr. Costello jumped out of his work truck and ran into 1 World Trade Center. "I'll be fine," he said. "Just keep your cellphone on."

Slowly, Mrs. Costello has come to believe that her husband is safe in heaven. His spirit, she says, is still watching over his family, sending signals that life must go on. The night before his memorial service last week, as she prayed for a sign that it was O.K. to have a funeral without a body, Mrs. Costello was jolted from her sleep by "a pure white light and deep tingling sensation that went from my head to my toes."

The moment was meant as a message, she said. "I really believe that was his way of trying to give me peace and strength," she said. "All the hysterical crying, it stopped after that. I feel like, in a way, I've become as strong as he was."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 2, 2001.




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