On 9/11 anniversary, brother reflects on sister’s death on hijacked Flight 93

By Hilary Butschek Marrietta Daily Journal

Robert Marisay

Marisay had his Flight 93 heroes flag flying Wednesday in honor of his sister, Georgine Corrigan. The flag was designed by the firemen in Pennsylvania after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, honoring those who died aboard the plane, including Corrigan.

East Cobb’s Robert Marisay believes his sister was one of the passengers who tried to retake control of an airplane hijacked on 9/11.

Marisay said he is proud of his sister, Georgine Corrigan, and the way she died. She was aboard United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, when the plane was one of four taken over by terrorists.Passengers on Flight 93 fought against the hijackers, causing the plane to crash in a field in Shanksville, Penn., killing everyone aboard.

Marisay’s home is decorated with a flag commemorating the people who died on Flight 93, which was designed by the firefighters who responded to that plane crash on 9/11. Marisay’s pickup truck has a sticker in memory of his sister on its back window, and he carries a gold coin commemorating Flight 93 in his pocket.

“At least they died with some class,” Marisay said. “At least they fought back.”

The members of Flight 93 were unlike any other victims on 9/11, he said.

“The people on Flight 93 were the only people who got to see and speak to terrorists,” Marisay said. “It was a real disaster. Everyone’s heart was broken that day.”

Memories of loss

Marisay watched the planes crash into the World Trade Center in New York City on TV just like many other Americans, he said.

Georgine Corrigan

Georgine Corrigan

He went home early from his job as a sheet metal worker on a remodeling project at the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta, and he watched the news coverage of the attack on American soil unfold for hours on end.

It wasn’t until about 6 p.m. that his phone rang, and he got unexpected news.

While watching the coverage of the two planes crashing into the Twin Towers, the plane hitting the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., and Flight 93, he didn’t know his sister was aboard one of those planes.

It was only after a phone call from his brother, Kevin, that night he learned about his sister.

“(Kevin) just said, ‘I think I put our sister on that plane,’” Marisay said.

What followed was confusion. Hours after phone calls and conversations with airline and airport representatives, the Marisays received news that Corrigan, 55 at the time, had been on Flight 93.

Marisay said his sister wasn’t supposed to be on that flight.

“There were 13 walk-ons on that plane. A lot of people don’t know that,” Marisay said. “Georgine was one of them.”

Before the terrorist attacks of 9/11, there wasn’t as much security to get on planes, Marisay said, so anyone could walk onto a plane to fill empty seats.

Corrigan was flying from Newark, N.J., where she was visiting on business as an antiques dealer, to her home in Hawaii, where her daughter, Laura, 32 at the time, lived.

Corrigan took Flight 93 because there was an open seat so that she could make it home faster by skipping a five-hour layover.

Marisay said he didn’t doubt that his sister was one of the leaders on the flight who asked the passengers to fight back against the terrorists who were locked in the cockpit.

“When they rushed the cockpit door, she was probably pushing to get in the front of the pack,” Marisay said.

Robert Marisay’s wife, Virginia, said Corrigan had a bold personality.

“She would have been someone who would have spoken up,” Virginia Marisay said.

Corrigan’s personality, Robert Marisay said, came from growing up in rural America, where she had to make her own way.

The three siblings — Robert, Georgine and Kevin — grew up in Woodville, Ohio, which was a town so small in the 1950s that the phone book was six pages long, and “everybody knew everybody,” Robert Marisay said.

Corrigan was an avid antiques dealer who traveled across the country to find aged jewelry. She was flying back home on September 11 with two suitcases full of antique rings, Robert Marisay said.

Fame follows tragedy

The loss of his sister made Marisay famous overnight.

Reporters lined up at his door for days, weeks and years to hear his story. Marisay said he didn’t want to talk about the incident over and over again.

He didn’t want to answer the questions, but he knew he had to because he wanted to share his sister’s story.

To this day, people call to send their condolences, send emails and show up on his doorstep in east Cobb, where he lives with his wife.

“Immediately there was a lot of attention, and it’s 13 years later, and here you are,” Marisay said while talking to the MDJ on the eve of the anniversary of September 11.

He said he hopes everyone reflects on what happened 13 years ago, just as he remembers his sister.

“The only thing that I would like is that everyone remembers,” he said.

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