Charles Wilson Magee
Occupation:Silverstein Properties | Chief EngineerReflections:The New York Times Portraits of Grief
Charlie Wilson woke on Tuesday- September 11, 2001 like he had on previous days, going to a job he enjoyed. Chief engineer for the World Trade Center complex. Mr. Magee knew how things worked. He oversaw the hundreds of miles of ventilation ducts, pipes and electric wires of the complex — the arteries of what amounted to a small city.
Working with many people he liked, young and old. Training those that needed it, something he also enjoyed. He was a tie wearing supervisor who often rolled up his sleeves and worked with those he supervised. His blue collar background was a part of who he was, and proud of it. A loyal member of his union he was well liked by all of those he worked with. That fateful morning he had been talking to his friend Mike, whose son was starting a job as a helper a few days later.
Working at the twin towers was a proud accomplishment. His niece even remembers him taking her to the top even before the safety fences were put into place to enjoy the view of the city. A great view to be sure. New York, Gotham, by what ever name you call it, one of the great cities of the United States. Like our country a melting pot filled with people from all over the world, and Charlie Magee worked at one of it’s most visible landmarks, one of the many men & women that took care of those buildings. A building with a twin right next to it.
The twin towers of New York housed a very diverse work force. Filled with many businesses that called them home. He knew a great many of them and the people that worked in the many offices. They in turn knew him, and would often stop and talk to him. Busy or not Charlie would take a few minutes to chat and return back to work.
While he did enjoy his work he also enjoyed life. He was a pilot and loved to fly, and jump out of those planes too. Yes he was a skydiver too. Just another example of his nervy disposition. Like during a flight to the Grand Canyon, his wife of 13 yrs, Janet Wexler-Magee, relates that the radio died and gauges went out. Charlie did not panic… quickly diagnosing the problem as a power loss, and was able to set down at a local airfield. “He was like that,” she said.
He also loved motorcycles. He loved to ride. On many occasions taking his niece Carolyn along. Something she remembers very fondly. “He always helped me with my schoolwork,” she recalled, “Took me for rides on his motorcycle. He always took me to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parades in New York.” Like the rest of his family she will miss him greatly.
These words are often repeated when people talk about him. Words like Generous, friendly, helpful, kind and also selfless. An everyman, a regular guy that anyone would be proud to call friend.
Now I must admit that I did not know Mr. Charles Wilson Magee. Before Project 2996 I had no idea who this man was. Like many of us he and the many others killed that day were faceless victims of a horrendous national tragedy. When I agreed to participate I didn’t know what to write about this man. I had very little to go on, but what I did read made me feel I knew him. He was someone I think I would’ve liked and even been friends with.
I have no doubt his family still misses him. My goal is to let you know he was not just some faceless, nameless victim. He lived his life like we all want to live. With gusto! Enjoying our job, AND our family & friends.
After this fateful day the theme from President Bush was “Never Forget”. While some may have forgotten WE were attacked by terrorists that day, I have not. I have joined Project 2996. Our goal is to make sure people “NEVER FORGET”!. Never forget the PEOPLE that were killed. They were someone’s Dad, Mother, Brother, Sister. Their Grandma or Grandpa, Aunt, Uncle or cousin. They were SOMEBODY!! And we should not forget them, neither should you.
Charles Wilson Magee was a good man who by a stroke of fate became what the press considers "collateral damage". Project 2996 wants to change that. Remember this man and the many others who died this day 8 years ago. This man who gave of his time freely to those he could help. Let’s help Charlie and his family and the families of the others by keeping them alive in our memories by passing along this memorial.
There is an old Cherokee saying: When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced... Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
Charlie Magee did that, he lived his life as a good man, a good person. Those are not just my words, but the memories of his wife, niece, and countless friends. The people who knew him best!
“To a beautiful garden our Friend has gone to the land of perfect rest.
His work is done and the setting sun has sealed his life long quest.
He has left this earthly garden for a home beyond the sea.
But though he is gone, he still lives on in the garden of our memory."