On Sunday afternoon, the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Thomas in Cherry Hill, N.J., dedicated its community center to the memory of Danielle Kousoulis, a church member who perished on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower on 9/11.
It’s been almost a decade of pain, but the attention subsided over time. That’s why her brother Peter Kousoulis said Monday that attending the community center dedication “was probably the worst I’ve felt since everything happened.” About 200 people were on hand as the church’s bishop blessed the dedication.
“It was one of the toughest days I had in a while,” Peter shared. “It was so draining that I just went to bed early.”
So he didn’t learn that the mastermind behind his sister’s death was killed by a Navy SEAL team in Pakistan the same night as the ceremony. He wouldn’t know until he woke up to missed calls, texts and Facebook remembrances.
He worries about the impact that widespread celebrations in America could have in the minds of the nation’s enemies – “It was a little over the top” – and that the fact that bin Laden was buried at sea “means there may be some people who claim we really didn’t kill him.”
“There’s a sense of relief knowing that we finally got the guy responsible for a lot of pain for my family and a lot of other families,” he said. That it happened within hours of his church celebrating Danielle’s life “couldn’t have been scripted any better.”
The former resident of Haddon Township, N.J., didn’t know that her family was planning a surprise 30th birthday party in Sept. 2001. Her brother Peter remembers watching the footage that horrific morning, knowing his older sister was inside. Her boyfriend spoke to her several times and told her to “just get out of there,” which she was unable to do.