‘It was like yesterday’: Detroit women remember beloved sister after 9/11

Family says Margaret Mattic went to New York with dreams of acting, work as receptionist in World Trade Center

Jean Neal, Frances Douglas and Vivian Mattic recount some of the things they loved about their sister Margaret Mattic.

DETROIT – Jean Neal, Frances Douglas and Vivian Mattic recount some of the things they loved about their sister Margaret Mattic.

She moved from Detroit to New York to pursue a career in acting. To help support herself, she took a job as a receptionist.

“Margaret was the youngest of our five sisters and she was hit by the acting bug,” said Jean.

“Daddy would say ‘That’s my baby’ and she could do no wrong. She was our perfect little sister,” Frances said.

“She was not only the perfect little sister, she also tried to boss all of the older sisters,” said Vivian.

Read: ‘She lives within my heart’: Metro Detroit woman honors sister 20 years after Sept. 11 attacks

On Sept. 11, 2001, she was working for General Telecom in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The pain of the events that happened that day is still fresh 20 years later.

Like many others, Margaret tried contacting her family in Detroit. She called a friend, who would be the last person to hear from her.

“Everything is so vivid still on when it happened, how it happened and what we were doing. It was like yesterday,” said Frances.

“(She said) ‘I’m in this building, the building is on fire and we’re waiting for help.’ She thought she was going to get out. They were waiting help,” said Jean. “And at one point, I think they said they had started down. And then there was a voice on the loudspeaker that said ‘It’s OK, you can return.’ She was on the 83rd floor. Some people totally disregarded that announcement and they kept going down and I’m sure they are still here today.”

Read: ‘I had a feeling of doom’: Survivor of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks recalls escape from World Trade Center

The family traveled to New York in the days after the attack but found nothing.

Margaret was 52 years old.

“They had taken DNA swabs but I knew in that instant they wouldn’t find anything and they never have,” said Vivian.

They had hoped to visit New York again this year; however, the pandemic made that a challenge.

Read: Forensic dentist from Metro Detroit looks back on her role at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 attacks

“We would have been in New York maybe reading Margaret’s name or going to the museum, going to the fountain, but COVID has put a damper on a lot of things,” said Francis.

Despite COVID putting a damper on traveling, it did not damper the memories of their beloved little sister and everyone who offered support.

“It was profound to us and heartbreaking to us that Margaret passed away that particular type of way. It seemed the whole community wanted to wrap arms around us,” said Vivian. “People would do things outta the clear blue ... It was an outpouring of love. That was one great thing i recall happening.”

Read: ‘He was my best friend’: Metro Detroit native remembers brother who was killed in Sept. 11 terrorist attacks

Watch the full report in the video above.


About the Author:

You can watch Kimberly Gill weekdays anchoring Local 4 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. and streaming live at 10 p.m. on Local 4+. She's an award-winning journalist who finally called Detroit home in 2014. Kim has won Regional Emmy Awards, and was part of the team that won the National Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast in 2022.