Mary Lenz Wieman is being remembered today, 22 years after she died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11. The Arlington Heights native, who attended Our Lady of the Wayside School, Sacred Heart of Mary High School in Rolling Meadows and the University of Dayton would have turned 65 this year.
However, her life was cut short at the age of 43, leaving her husband, Marc, and their three small children — and her family back in Arlington Heights — devastated. She is not forgotten, and today and every year on the anniversary, she is remembered in Arlington Heights, where she grew up playing clarinet in the band at Our Lady of the Wayside and participated in Girl Scouts, before working on the yearbook in high school and enjoying the Ski Club. She also worked in the concession stands at the former Arlington Park during high school.
Wieman loved her years at Sacred Heart — as evidenced by her love of her class ring — where she made lifelong friends, many of whom continued on with her to the University of Dayton.
In many of the national tributes written about her, Wieman is remembered as a successful marketing executive with AON, who married her college sweetheart and maintained a work/life balance while they raised their three children.
According to a story published in the New York Times Portraits of Grief, Wieman was preparing to run a meeting on the 105th floor of the 2 World Trade Center. When word came to evacuate, she and her coworkers walked down to the 78th floor, where they inexplicably chose to take the elevator the rest of the way.
That was the last time anyone saw her. For years, her family had hoped to find her remains among the rubble of the South Tower, distinguished by her Sacred Heart class ring, which she wore daily. Sadly, her remains — and her ring — were never found.
Wieman’s name is etched in the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, along with the nearly 3,000 others who lost their lives that day. The memorial stands as a tribute of remembrance and as a monument to human dignity, courage and sacrifice, distinguished by its two large reflection pools. Each one is nearly an acre in size, that sit in the footprints of the former North and South Towers, and its pools contain the largest manmade waterfalls in North America.
Yet, for all of its magnificence, it is the names that resonate and quietly remind visitors of the people from all parts of the world — including Arlington Heights — who lost their lives that day, but are not forgotten.