WAR ON THE WORLD: MY LOST LOVE; Tragedy of US pair who got engaged in Ireland.
A TRUE love that was sealed with a romantic trip to Ireland ended in tragedy in New York's Twin Towers.
Jeffrey Gonski, 26, from Boston took his 24-year-old college sweetheart Amy Toyen on a surprise spring trip to Killarney in Kerry where he proposed.
Now Amy is missing, presumed dead, in the New York disaster.
Jeffrey told his Irish landlady from their romantic holiday: "Because you were so kind to us in March when I proposed to Amy... I thought you should know she is missing.
"You made my engagement so special, and it is such a treasured memory that has given me comfort during this very difficult time."
Kathleen O'Reagan-Sheppard of Kathleen's Country House in Killarney was devastated to hear about the young couple but glad she was able to help in some small way.
Jeffrey had told Amy he was taking her to Canada but on their way to Logan Airport he revealed their true destination was Ireland.
The couple had been before and it was a running joke about coming here to live as their ancestors are from Killarney.
He chose the Gap of Dunloe to pop the question because of its complete contrast to the urban environment they were so used to.
Amy, a marketing executive, was on the 106th floor of the North Tower in the World Trade Center at a trade presentation for her company when the first plane struck.
She had travelled down from Boston on the 6am flight from Logan after her plane was unable to take off the night before because of heavy rain
When Flight 11 struck the New York tower at 8.48am Jeffrey, who is constantly on-line, was almost immediately aware of the crash.
His colleague was also on-line and started joking about two small planes trying to strike the World Trade Center.
Nobody in the Boston office realised the extent of what was happening and the effect it would have on them all.
And Jeffrey didn't realise Amy might be in one of the two buildings.
He said: "Sometimes she has trade shows that aren't in the World Trade Center so I didn't immediately click that she might be involved."
Then at 9am Amy's mobile phone number popped up on his office phone. The line crackled and fell silent.
He knew something was wrong and called her company where someone confirmed his worst fear - Amy was on one of the upper floors of the Twin Towers.
Jeffrey spent the first days shocked and huddled with friends and family in front of the television.
Now he can't listen to the reports any more or look at the constant re- showings of the planes hitting the towers.
He was to go to the morgue in New York yesterday with Amy's family to look for the woman "with the quiet air" who was "the kindest person in the world".
Heartbroken Jeffrey said: "I just can't look at all those dead bodies."
He has put Amy's picture in the papers, has joined a local support group and spoken to the Boston Globe and appeared on TV.
He is clinging on to any hope of finding his fiancee. They were due to get married next June.
He said: "There is a huge hole in my heart. But I have to be hopeful. There are thousands of people in the hospital.
"We are holding out hope. Amy would want that."
Meanwhile, neighbours were last night trying to trace relatives of a Northern Ireland man who is feared to be a victim of the attack on the Pentagon.
Charlie McCabe, 46, a father of four from Roslea, Co Fermanagh, worked as a librarian in the wing of the building which was hit.
Mr McCabe had lived in the US for the past 20 years.
And another border town was in grief last night after a father of four was missing Eamon McEneney, 46, a consultant, was working on the 104th floor of the second New York tower when it was hit.
After the first attack he rang his wife Bonny to say he was safe.
Eamon's dad Eddie, 86, comes from Castleblaney in County Monaghan.
Since Eamon's mother died 15 years ago he had visited his Irish homestead every summer. He planned to return to Ireland this week for a golfing holiday.
His cousin-in-law, Maureen McEneney, said yesterday: "We are all numbed by this tragedy.
"He was a real gentleman with a heart of gold and loved Ireland.
"He came here every year and enjoyed his walks into the country. It's heartbreaking to know we won't ever see him again."
She said Eamon's father and his wife and four children were "shattered" by the tragedy.
l THE Pope yesterday begged America not to respond with hatred and more violence.
John Paul, speaking after mass south of Rome, said he was heartbroken by the attacks.
Although he has expressed condemnation and condolences, it was the first time he had told of his concern about a military response.
Speaking in a clear but sad voice, he spoke of the deep wounds of "our beloved American people."
He went on: "I pray that the Virgin Mary might help them not to fall into the temptation of hatred and violence but rather commit themselves to justice and peace."
HAPPY: Jeffrey and Amy in Killarney in March; NOT GIVING UP: Jeffrey hopes fiancee Amy survived the attack on Twin Towers; WEDDING PLANS; Americans Jeffrey Gonski and Amy Toyen celebrate with champagne after their engagement in Kerry last March. Amy, who was working on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center, is missing
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Sep 17, 2001|
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