“I’m coming down with you,” Harry told the stranger. “I’m not going to leave you.” Those are the last words we know of that Harry Ramos said. No doubt there were other words spoken after that by Harry Ramos to Victor, a heavy-set man that Harry was trying to help out of the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Harry Ramos was the head trader at May Davis, whose offices were on the 87th floor of Tower 1. Thirteen May Davis employees were in Tower 1. Twelve escaped with their lives that morning. Harry Ramos was killed when Tower 1 collapsed.
By all accounts, Harry was a wonderful, caring and compassionate man. He was on the phone with his wife Migdalia (“Mikki”) when the plane hit. He told her he was OK, and that he was going to get his group to safety.
Several survivors have said that Harry helped countless people on the 87th floor to the stairwells. On or around the 53rd floor he encountered Victor, who was struggling. Harry carried, coaxed, and encouraged Victor down to the 36th floor. At that point they just couldn’t go on any further and they sat together as the building collapsed around them. We will never know what Harry’s final comforting words to Victor were.
Harry was 41 years old (some reports indicate he was 45) and left behind his wife and two children. He’s been called a hero, and my research shows that is truly the case. Harry would probably say, “I’m no hero. I’m just a guy at the office”. Trust me, Harry is the definition of a hero. Harry was loved by many. I’ve read every tribute I could find that friends and family left behind. They paint a picture of a dedicated worker, a great friend and a loving husband and father. Harry was a fine dresser and an even better dancer. He was known to enjoy a beer or two after work with his buddies, a couple of who report that he was apparently a pretty lousy fisherman. Harry adored his wife and children.
I did not know Harry, but I feel like I’ve grown to know what kind of person he was through my research. I lived in Brooklyn, NY when I was in the fourth and fifth grade. The World Trade Center was under construction at that time and I watched in fascination as they were built. I had lots of friends that lived in New York City. One person I knew, (or am pretty sure I did. I went to 5th grade with someone of the same name) Al Niedermeyer, was killed on 9/11.
September 11, 2001 also happened to be my son’s tenth birthday. I’ll never forget in the ensuing days when he said, “Daddy, why did this have to happen on my birthday?”
So I feel a special connection to 9/11, and I’m sure thousands of others feel similar connections. This act of supreme cowardice affected us all.
I was glad that I was able to get in on the 2,996 Project and I’m grateful that Harry was randomly assigned to me. I wish I could have hoisted a beer with him and listened to him talk about his wife and kids. The world is an emptier place without Harry Ramos.
I tried very hard to find out exactly who “Victor” was that Harry comforted in their final moments. One report said it was Victor Ward, but there is no Victor Ward in any list of victims. There is however, a Victor Wald who also died in Tower 1, and his photo fits the description in serveral accounts I’ve read. I’m relatively confident this is the man Harry died trying to save.
Here is a photo of Victor Wald:
He looks like a nice man. I’m glad that Victor and Harry didn’t die alone.Though they had never met, I’m cetain they were able to comfort each other in their final moments.
I could never write a fitting tribute to Harry Ramos. I tried my best. Researching and writing this was very painful, yet it was also a wonderful experience, if that makes any sense. There are numerous comments about Harry scattered across the Internet. His friends and family are far more qualified than I am to pay lasting tribute to Harry. Here are some of their words:
I met Harry on my first day of work, back in August 1987. I was fresh out of college. I was the first day of my “adult” life and he was one of the few people that I met and actually liked. I know that it sounds like a cliche, but I do not know a single person who ever had a bad thing to say about Harry professionally or personally. I have met many people in my time as a broker and made many friends. Most of those relationships did not last. But Harry and I did. He was like the glue that held a lot of us together. I think about him several times a day. The joy we would share by looking at pictures of each others families. I know that the frequency of my thoughts will fade over time but the hole in my heart will never heal. Men like Harry are few and far between. I hope that his family knows how fortunate they were to have had him in their lives, even for a short time. I do.
— Adam Mayblum
ONCE I FOUND OUT I WAS HEARTBROCKEN AND I WAS HOPEING THAT MY UNCLE [HARRY]
WAS O.K. WE WERE ALL AT AT HOME PRAYING HE WAS FINE. THEN WE GOT A CALL FROM MY AUNT WHO IS HARRY’S WIFE SAYING HE CALLED HER AND SAID ”MIC SOMETHING HIT THE BUILDING BUT I AM O.K. HE WAS KNOWN EVERYWHERE AND EVERYONE WILL ALLWAYS REMEMBER HIM. HE WAS VERY BRAVE TO CARE FOR SOMEONE ELSE IN THE BUILDING BESIDES HIMSELF. ALO HE WILL ALWAYS BE WITH ME AND ALWAYS IN MY HEART I LOVE YOU HARRY.
— Stephanie Smith, Harry’s 11 year old niece
Thanks for making me leave our office on 9/11 and for not letting me stay behind.
— Joanne Capestro
Many more tributes to Harry can be found here and here. Read these. Every single word. If you don’t weep like a baby, you have no heart. If it doesn’t make you furious that this happened, you have no soul.
We must never forget Harry, or any of the other 2,995, their friends and their family.