When I decided to participate in the internet-wide 2,996 tribute, I was assigned to honor Paul R. Nimbley.
The name immediately rang special to me for many reasons. I didn't know him, had never met him, I only knew he died an untimely death in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.
While I can clearly remember what happened that day and how it made me feel, I cannot say that I knew anyone personally who was involved. At the time, I worked for a company in Knoxville, TN that had several upper management employees at the World Trade Center that day who were participating in trainings. I didn't know them personally. I wasn't someone who had heard the news and was waiting to hear what happened to a loved one or a friend. I consider myself fortunate, and to this day I grieve with those who fit that profile.
But that aside, I'm here to honor Paul Nimbley.
A photo is what I first gathered, and thanks to google images I found it right away. From what I can tell from just a photo, he looks like a good, happy man. Healthy, strong, loved in return, probably enjoying life. By doing a little research, I learned I was right.
Paul, 42, who hailed from Middletown, New Jersey, was vice president and 20 year veteran of Cantor Fitzgerald, where he was dubbed "Prince of Cantor Fitzgerald" because of his easygoing personality, according to his wife, Isabel Nimbley.
His four daughters and 8-month-old son probably thought of him more than a prince but a king of their household. From what I gather, he made their lives very special. I'll talk more on that later.
His daughter Jessica wrote:
"daddy--- i miss you so much-- i wish you could come back nothing is the same there isnt a day i dont think of you<3"
Another daughter, Michele, wrote:
"Hi, I'm one out of the two daughters of Paul. i loved my father very much and i want to thank everyone that supported me and my family through everything thats happned. My name is Michele and i just wanted to say that my father was the best thing that ever happened to me. If my father was here right now i know that he would be taking care of me just like how my aunt and grandmother is. If anyone from my family reads this let me tell you this my dad would be so happy that you are talking care of me and my sister. Dad if you can see this I'm just leting you know tha i love you and i miss you very much and that i wish you were here. i will never forget my dad!
According to his wife, he took pride on never letting the status he had achieved in life as vice president of administration for the Wall Street securities firm go to his head. "'I'm a simple man,' he used to say," said Isabel Nimbley, his wife. "Although he was a boss, his employees could come into his office and sit and talk to him. He was never too big to take time."
Paul was working on the 100th floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower when a commercial jetliner hijacked by terrorists struck the building on 9/11.
Mr. Nimbley's cousin, John Monahan, 47, an operations supervisor for Cantor Fitzgerald, also lost his life in the attack.
Paul loved to golf and was a founder of the Blue Chips Invitational golf tournament in Middletown.
His greatest love, according to Isabel, was coaching girls basketball and spending time with his daughters.
"He had a very demanding job, but he would always make time for the girls," said his wife.
He did something very special for them, something they will always remember. As coach of the Middletown girls basketball team, Paul was the one who encouraged the girls to practice their basketball skills.
"He was the coach who could always get the girls to do what he wanted," Isabel Nimbley said.
In June, just before Father's Day, Paul and several other coaches arranged for 23 of the girls to attend a WNBA game at Madison Square Garden and play a scrimmage before the basketball game on the Garden's famed hardwood floor. Twelve of the girls, randomly selected by Mr. Nimbley, also stood on the court for the singing of the national anthem and received an official WNBA ball from a New York Liberty player. "I'm going to do whatever my daughters enjoy because I love spending time with them," Paul was quoted as saying in a Star-Ledger story that ran on Father's Day, June 17.
In addition to Isabel, Paul is survived by five children: two stepdaughters, Aisah Anderson, 15, and Angel Anderson, 8; two daughters, Jessica Nimbley, 13, and Michele Nimbley, 9; and an 8-month-old son, Michael Nimbley; his mother, Jean Kearny Nimbley of Middletown; a brother, Robert Nimbley of Jersey City; and three sisters, Patricia Nimbley of Bayonne, Margaret Gooden of Belleville, and Jean Corio of Middletown.
This is the information I've gathered. Now for my own personal story.
I will never have the chance to meet Paul. Or Isabel, or his extended family who cared so much about him.
I know only a tiny fraction about his life. Where I highlight a few events of what I could research, there are many, many other special moments, talents, and stories from those who knew him that I will never get to hear.
I have a special Paul in my life too, which is one reason his name was so special to me when I signed up for this tribute. And while I've never lost anyone so tragically as the way those lost them on 9/11, I have felt the pain of someone being there one moment, and being gone the next .. so very suddenly that you didn't have the chance to say good-bye, and you hold on with all you have to those last words and moments you did share with them, just hoping they knew, when they died, how much you loved and cared for them, and what an impact they made on your life.
So this day, I honor Mr. Paul R. Nimbley.
A week ago, I went to the theater and saw the World Trade Center movie. I must admit, before going in I was expecting more. I was expecting horrifying visions, action, the whole Hollywood effect.
It wasn't that at all.
What I did see was something real. The initial shock of not knowing what happened. One plane hit a tower? It must've been an accident.
A second plane? This can't be real.
A third plane? The Pentagon? I cannot believe my eyes.
Terrorists? Are you sure? On American soil?
This cannot be happening.
People are trapped? Thousands are missing? I can't understand how this could happen.
Hours later, the confirmations came. It was definitely real, and America was about to forever change.
Eventually I had to turn off the television, because I couldn't bear to see the images over and over the way the media splashes them minute by minute when something terrible happens. I felt afraid. Who was next? I lived near a nuclear plant in Oak Ridge, TN. Rumors were spreading quickly around town how easy of a target that would be.
I couldn't fathom how that many people could be affected so horribly all in the same day, same hour, same minute.
My work was cancelled for 2 days, and I wanted to go there and help even though I didn't know how I could help. I just wanted to do something, anything.
I know there were many people who wanted to just do something and couldn't.
Everything was at a standstill.
And in a way, everything still is.
I hope that those who have lost someone dear can gain closure, but I understand if closure would be nowhere in sight.
What happened was an atrocity.
Paul R. Nimbley was only going to work that day, as every other day. He had plans. He had dreams. He had people waiting for him to come home.
I hope those people can rejoice in the fact that his life spent here was worthwhile. He loved, he was loved in return, he was a good person, and that is all that matters.
This is my tribute to Paul R. Nimbley. You are sadly missed, and may you rest in peace. You are a person I would have liked to have known.
If you are a family member or a friend of Paul Nimbley and are reading my tribute and wish to contact me, please email purepixel (at) gmail (dot) com. I would love to hear from you and know more about him.
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My research information came from this site, Wall of Americans, and this site, September 11th Victims, and I wish to give credit to both.