Beaufort News

Beaufort County man remembers father who died in Sept. 11 attacks

Steven Morello Jr. worried his father was being forgotten.

It had been several months since anyone posted on the website set up in memory of the late Steven Morello, who died Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists flew a hijacked airliner into the offices of Marsh & McLennan Cos., where he was facilities manager on the 93rd floor of the World Trade Center in New York.

Too long, his son thought.

So Morello Jr., who represents Hilton Head Island on the Beaufort County Board of Education, posted two simple lines on the online tribute set up by his father's employer.

"I just want to let everyone know my dad is still in my thoughts every day," Morello, 42, wrote Thursday in the most recent of 20 pages of comments. "Still missing you, Dad."

A few days later, Morello realized his father's death hadn't been forgotten. On Sunday, nearly 10 years after 9/11, U.S. forces in Pakistan killed the mastermind of the attacks that claimed the lives of the elder Morello and thousands more.

The news brought relief to the son, who called it "a huge step forward for the war on terror."

"I'm glad the world knows now you can't go around killing people like my dad without facing repercussions," Morello said Monday. "At least it was answered for -- it's justice."

He learned of bin Laden's death after friends sent Facebook messages Sunday night, asking if he was OK.

When he found out what was happening, Morello ran downstairs. He turned on the television shortly before President Barack Obama delivered the words he had waited almost a decade to hear.

He had hoped Obama would make good on his pledge to kill bin Laden, and he's glad the al-Qaida leader no longer will be "an elusive figurehead for terrorists to deify."

But he wasn't as exuberant as those who chanted in the streets after Obama's address.

"I just wouldn't be human if I was cheering," Morello said. "That brings us to the level of people who celebrated when the towers went down."

Though he didn't feel like celebrating, he was relieved.

"I feel like I'm OK with my dad again," he said.