TOPICS > Health

Extended Interview: Madeline Lew Moy

September 21, 2001 at 12:00 AM EST


SUSAN DENTZER: Let’s start out by talking about Ted. Tell me about what kind of a man he was.

MADELINE LEW MOY: He was always a very caring man, very persistent, always after anything he could get to, very motivated, and–and he loves to learn, and he never stopped learning. He’s always buying these motivation books and spiritual books to, you know, free his mind and his soul, to think of all the best things he can, to want to improve himself.…And he himself, you know, he believe in the Lord. And he also was such a great father to our kids, a very good provider.

SUSAN DENTZER: He always wanted to be in the military I understand. Tell me about that.

MADELINE LEW MOY: He told me that one of his childhood dream for him to–that when–when he grows older, about 14-, 15-year-old, he said that, “You know, I always wanted to be a military person. The only reason why I wasn’t chosen was because I had flat feet.” And, you know, because of the fact that he couldn’t get into any one of those, army, navy or marines, he decided to join the government. And joining the government, he first started at the Navy Yard working as the debit director and printing specialist, and then going into procurement. And working in procurement, he–you know, they turned into DOD, which is Defense Automatic Department Printing.

And so afterwards, they were having kind of like a layoff period…And he decided that he–he wanted a better challenge, so he chose Pentagon. When he went in, he was working for IMCEN, meaning information management support center, and he was a program manager since 1999. He’s Army and he’s a civilian, and since he worked there he’s been a very motivated worker…..

And because of his performance, doing this job as a project manager for IMCEN, he applied for training. It’s call the Leadership Development Program, and it’s supposed to last from May to about next year, July. And when he finish[ed], there might be–there doesn’t mean that there’s guarantee of a job, but at least he’s got the training to know every single aspect of Pentagon, like as far as accounting depart, budgeting department, personnel, whatever, you know, they have. He’s going to go and touch every single area so he get a better understanding of how it feel like to be a manager.

SUSAN DENTZER: Now, on Tuesday, where was he?

MADELINE LEW MOY: On Tuesday he was at the Pentagon in the accounting budget department, and he went to work at 6:00. And what happened is he went there by subway–he takes the subway. And he call[s] me in the morning, and I talk to him, and he tell[s] me several things I need to do. And I understand that he want me to take care of my son’s orthodontist first. And then second thing he wants me to do is get a new cake, birthday cake. And he said, “Don’t forget to do these things before you do other things.” I said, “All right.”

So I heard from him like 8 o’clock in the morning. That was the last time I heard from him.

But I went off to work. I work at Charles Drew Elementary School as a instructional assistant…everyone was looking at the television that morning, and what I understand was they saw the news of the New York incidents with the tower, and everyone got kind of emotion[al] about it.

I went on to my business and went to the classroom, started working. I didn’t hear anything about anything else, and I went and took my break around 11 o’clock. I went to the teachers’ staff lounge. And I got a phone call, and they said, “It’s your daughter. Your daughter’s calling here for you.” And I said, “Why would she be calling?”

And so when she–when she–when I heard her, I said, “Hello?” She said, “Mom, is everything all right? Are you all right? No, I mean, is dad all right?” I said, “Why?” And then she said, “Did you know, I heard from my friend–one of my friend that lives down at Washington, D.C. She told me that Washington, D.C. got hit.” I said, “Oh, yeah?” And then she said, “Yeah.” And then she said, “Where did they hit?” And then the girl told her Pentagon. And then my daughter started to worry, and say, “They hit Pentagon, mom. Do you hear that?” I said, “No, I didn’t. When?” And she said, “Just not long ago, around close to 10.”

And it got–I started thinking the worst of it, and I started to cry, and I couldn’t concentrate at school. And I just devastated from this. And I said, “I sure hope not. Let it not be him. Let it not be daddy. Let it not be Ted.” You know, I just hope he’s in the right side of the building where they didn’t hit, you know? Because the fact that he took this training, he’s been moved around just, you know, different parts of Pentagon, and I just couldn’t keep up.

And when I came home, after I pick up my son, ’cause he got off early and I got off early, I look at the news, and found out that they got hit from the airplane. But I didn’t know what–what area he really worked in, so I said, “Okay, let me call him.” … He usually call[s] us at least 3 times a day, call[s] us when we come home from school, call[s] us when he’s getting ready to come home, and sometime call[s] us if he’s somewhere shopping around for a while.

But I didn’t hear from him that morning. It was just–I mean that afternoon when I came home. I just kept praying when I came home, kept looking at the news, and saying that, “It’s not like daddy not to call us, Daniel [Mrs. Moy’s son, age 14].” And Daniel said, “I think he’s all right, mom.”

But later on, my believe is that I waited so long, and then plus the fact that he takes the subway, I said, “Okay, I’ll give him a few more hours,” you know, and then I start to cry. I said, “Hope not, come on, come on home.”

SUSAN DENTZER: And you told me you made lots of calls.

MADELINE LEW MOY: Made lots of calls. I call[ed] all the hospitals… none of them have a listing of my husband being there or being, you know, saying that he’s been admitted.

I got worr[ied] and I start[ed] to call the Pentagon hotline, the Army hotline, the Navy and the Marine hotline, and all they did was they just took information of his name, my name, our home number and our phone number, but I never ever–it was just devastating not ever hear from anyone that has ever cared to even want to tell me where exactly he is.

SUSAN DENTZER: What room was he in at the Pentagon?

MADELINE LEW MOY: “….Room 1E472, and I understand 1 was like first floor, E is the E-ring, and 472.

I just had disbelief, not hearing from anyone until about Thursday. Then they have two sergeants that came in here…..I said, “Please don’t tell me. I know it must not be good news. Just don’t tell me that something has happened. Is my husband alive or dead?” And they said he’s still considered like a missing person. “And I want you to understand that we’re going to try every way we can to find him.”

And then Friday, I went to the Sheraton for a briefing. My sister in San Francisco called me on Thursday night and told me that I should go to the Sheraton at Crystal City for some briefings on …when I went to that meeting about it, there is this Major, Ben Owens, [who] came up to me and sa[id], “Is everything all right? Is there anything we can do for you right now?” I told him that, “There might be something you can do. Is there any way we can go up to the Pentagon to lay out a visual of my husband, so people that’s walking around there will remember him?”….

So he had a meeting that night at around 8 o’clock, and he call[ed] me at around 11 on Saturday. And he told me that, “You know what, Mrs. Moy? I have some very good news for you. What you have asked and what you have want, your wish is coming true.” …

And I said, “I’m glad I did something great like this.” This is what my husband would really want, and I really want everyone in the public to see how great of a man he is.

SUSAN DENTZER: What did you think when you saw the site?

MADELINE LEW MOY: When I saw the site yesterday, it was just all dark, and the way it caved in, they were still working in that area………And it was dark down there. And I said it gave me a better visual of, you know, what exactly happened. Just looking at the newspaper did not really answer my question. But not knowing where he is, and knowing where he is now, kind of gave me a little bit insight of learning to accept the fact that he might not be with me again.

And when I went over to a certain area where they have a map, and there is a soldier there, and he was able to tell us where is the pancake area. And I said, “Do you know exactly where is this room 1E472?” And he said, “Oh, okay. That room will be, here’s the pancake, and he’s around this area right here, right in the middle, so he was affected.” And so he said that, “I’m so sorry that happened.” Then I said, “At this point I’m not sure if there’s any hope, and I kind of have to accept the fact that he’s not with us as before any more.” And plus the fact that he has gotten burnt so badly, all that fume, all that flame, all that burning all night, 30 some hours. I won’t be able to see my husband any more.

I pray every day that I’ll be able to see him one day, and he do[es]n’t have to suffer any more. He will have eternal life. He will not have any killings, no wars, no terrorism, no more people killing other people, no more drugs or no more sin. He’ll be up in heaven. He’ll be living eternal life. And, you know, he’s just waiting up there for me. I just have to learn to accept that.

But it was so hard the last few days not knowing where he is, and finally, Thursday I kind of knew, but I wasn’t sure how bad it was, but at least on Saturday, when I went to the site–and that was very important to me, that I went with my whole family –I mean I use[d] binoculars, and I got pretty close to looking down at–from a truck on down at it, that I said, “There’s no way that he’s able to survive this.” And it gave me a little bit way, a little more thinking that I have to really accept the fact that he’s gone. That’s when I started to accept it yesterday.

SUSAN DENTZER: Tell me about [these] pictures of Ted.

MADELINE LEW MOY: This picture of–his real name is Teddington Ham Moy, but he uses Ted, and this was taken just this past year…… …He’s such a patriot. He wants to make sure every Fourth of July he would be dressed in some flag top. And this is the last one he bought, and it was this year. And, you know, on top of that he said, “I’m going to be wearing this every year for the rest of my life, so you’ll be seeing me like this on every Fourth of July.”….

And so he was pointing like this. When he’s pointing like this, he told my son to snap that picture. He says that, “I am Uncle Sam, and Uncle Sam wants you, wants you to join us.” So he was just saying that, you know, he’s part–part of being Uncle Sam, please join and defend our country. He’s for our country…He always sa[id] that he stand for his country because this is the best place to be.

Up at the monument–no, up at the memorial that they have, finally, because of my request, I laid a picture out there, and then along with it I thought of wanting my children to write him a little message. And I myself wrote him a real nice message. And I just say, “Dear Ted, my honey, I will miss you. You’re–you’re my life, you’re my love forever. I know that you are–you have been there for us, but I’m praying every day that I can be with you one day and join you up in heaven, having eternal life, and I want to say thank you very much for giving me 21 years of your life.”

SUSAN DENTZER: Are you asking yourself or anyone else, why? Why did this happen?

MADELINE LEW MOY: Yes. I’ve said to myself, I said, why, why did it happen? Why does it have to be him? Why, God, why did you chose that area?

. Just not having his voice, not being able to hold him, not being able to go places with him, or even seeing him any more, and his whole family suffering. Everyone’s crying. All of us are together, but we have a lot of support, but it’s just that there’s time where you just think why Ted? Why–why did it happen at that Pentagon?

SUSAN DENTZER: Many people have described to us how frustrating it is, particularly people who lost loved ones in New York in the World Trade Center, not to be able to have a body back.

MADELINE LEW MOY: I said if we don’t have the body parts back, and all I–all I can see it–the only thing we can do is have a memorial service on him, but not just not having even a body part back, you know, any part of his body back, is going to be devastating to me, because if it’s like a bone or something, I said that, how we’re going to do this. I’m going to have to bury him, or are we going to keep it? You know….

They said it may take about a month or more before they be able to, you know, tell us this is his corpse or any body parts are left or none. That’s the part that really gets to me, is that not being able to have him. It’s just, you know, very frustrating at times to not know where exactly he is right now. He’s considered missing, and I’m just upset at the fact that, you know, it’s taking such a long time. I understand they have to start from up, up at the top layer to the bottom layer, but not being able to find out where exactly he is is–it’s the part that kills me, just the waiting period, and not knowing where and when they’re going to tell me.