Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 Tribute: For Peter Gyulavary


In memory of Peter Mark Gyulavary, 44, victim of the September 11th attacks.

A little over a year ago, me and my family moved out to a rundown house in the forest, far from the city that we had grown used to. The house wasn’t livable, at first, and needed massive work. But we were determined to make it our home—and a nice home—because we wanted to rebuild our life in an area that is safe. Or at the very least, safer.

You see, in 2001, two things happened to make me and my husband re-think how we were living, where we were living, and how we would want our children to grow up. The first was the April riots in Cincinnati, Ohio following the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old black male, Timothy Thomas, by a white police officer. The second was September 11th. Both events shook us, shook our foundation. We decided, at that time, that we would find a way to escape the urban violence. To rebuild somewhere else.

Don’t get me wrong, we understand the lure of the big city. How the city hums with activity and thought, and you can get coffee or beer late at night and hear jazz playing on the corner.

Peter Mark Gyulavary understood this too. Peter grew up in Geelong, Victoria, Australia and moved to New York City and married an American wife. According to Paul, Peter’s twin brother, Peter always described New York as a place of extremes. I understand what he was saying. If you’ve ever visited New York, you’d know too. That is perhaps what lured Peter to make his home there.

Peter wasn’t content to just make his home in New York, he wanted to rebuild—to make homes better. Peter and his wife, Jane, restored a Victorian house in Warwick, NY. In order to be closer to the city, they purchased a condominium in Weehawken, N.J., and Peter began refurbishing an apartment in Manhattan.

Peter worked on many building and rebuilding projects in the public sector as well. His curriculum vitae is impressive. Peter’s final position as environmental engineer for Washington Group International had him working on light rail projects. He worked from the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

Peter was working on a big project on the morning of September 11, 2001. When a plane hit the North tower, he, like so many other people, started to evacuate the building. He even called his wife. But he was sure that he was safe. He went back to work, even when his wife told him to leave.

He was last seen on the 78th floor minutes before the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.

His body was recovered in the wreckage of the buildings, and is now buried in Warwick, NY. His twin brother, Paul, was in attendance.

There are many things we can do to remember Peter: We can eat at Outback Steakhouse and drink Fosters beer. We can wear yellow and gold in honor of his homeland. We can walk and do things backward in order to “put the evil behind us,” as his brother puts it. We can point to Australia on the map and say “That’s were Peter was from.”

But I don’t think that would be quite right. Peter liked America. He had rebuilt his life here. I think, in honor of Peter Mark Gyulavary, we should revel in our American culture and spirit.

When I get home from work on September 11th 2006, five years after the tragic event that took Peter’s life, I will drink Pete’s Wicked Ale, read Psalm 91, and listen to Bob Dylan’s song, “Forever Young”. And I’ll continue to rebuild our Creekistan home, and I will teach my children that although terrible things happen, we need to look forward to the future and rebuild.

Peter worked on the 91st floor of the South Tower. Psalm 91 is especially symbolic

The Bob Dylan song, “Forever Young” was dedicated to Peter at his memorial service.



OldLady Of The Hills said...

Lovely tribute to such a fine young man....Oh Woe Is Us! One feels so for all the surviving family and friends of all those lost on Sepember 11th, 2001.

Mine is up, too.


What a wonderful tribute to an outstanding young man. Thank you for sharing with all of us.I just posted my tribute today.

Anonymous said...

That was great. This project has really touched me. Thank you for joining us.

Sue said...

A beautiful, moving tribute to an amazing man. Thank you for sharing! I will wear yellow this week in his honour.

I'm also a 2996 Blogger going through other's stories now and remembering all. It is just beyond sad. My tribute is here.

Malissa said...

Another 2996 blogger reading some tributes with tears pouring down my face and a lump in my throat and a tight chest!

I so wish I could have found more about my tribute but I did the best I could. Yours is very touching. Thanks

Jay McHue said...

That was very touching. Thank you.

Incidentally, your link for Psalm 91 at the end actually goes to Psalm 9, which - oddly enough - is still very appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful tribute to Peter..

Thank you for sharing his story with us..

My thoughts and prayers are with his family and all the other families as the 5th Anniversary of 9/11 approaches.

God bless you,


You may visit my tribute at:

Meira{FB} said...

So many wonderful people were lost that day. So sad.

mine is up also.

keda said...

a beautiful post with a lovely message to look forward. thank you for introducing us to peter.

mine is up also.

DH said...

Thank you for your beautiful tribute. As I sit here reading everyone's tributes, I fell a sense of peace at knowing these people will never be forgotten.

Harry A. Raines Tribute

Alicia said...

Another 2996 blogger here... it's so moving to read all of these tributes.

-- Pentha

Memorial for Christopher Paul Slattery

Anonymous said...

Country living is the best.

A beautiful tribute. Thank you for telling his story.

Raggedy said...

That was a beautiful tribute to Peter!
Thank you.
These are sad and hard to read....
I am honored to be a part of this project.
Mine is posted also...
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort,
but where he stands at times of challenge
and controversy. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bless you...

Anonymous said...

A beautiful and moving tribute, Amy. You honor him and all the victims with your words. Thank you -- we are all united through this.

I am honored as well to have paid tribute to Vincent DiFazio at my site.

Wendy aka Cheeky said...

What a wonderful post - I have made it my mission to read every single one of these.....they were all people - not just names on a list.

Mine is up too - remembering Edward Raymond Vanacore

Biker Betty said...

Amy, A wonderful tribute on Peter Gyulavary. Thank you for taking the time to do this tribute on an American Hero.

The 2,996 Tribute projects is such a great idea to remember those who lost their lives, that they won’t be forgotten. That was a horrible day and tragic event. I did a tribute to Chief Battalion William J. McGovern, firefighter.

kateandjona said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful tribute!

Jonathon's Closet remembers Robert Levine.

Walker said...

This was a very touching tribute.
Putting faces on the victoms is so important to making it real.
Thabk you for sharing Peter with us.

Anonymous said...

These tributes are so precious and humanizing. They help ground the reality of what happened as opposed to the abstract horror of it. I'm so glad they found his body.

Kache said...

Wonderful tribute to a special man

Faina's tribute

Karmyn R said...

Thank you for turning Peter's life into a touching memorial. This was a well-written tribute and very personal. Thank you!

Remember Donald Delapenha

PastormacsAnn said...

Thank for this tribute.

"and I will teach my children that although terrible things happen, we need to look forward to the future and rebuild."


Tara said...

A wonderful tribute. Well done.

My tribute to Saranya Srinuan can be found at

Kim said...

Wow! I feel like I know this man. We just bought a Victorian that needs some fixing up and I'm sure I will think of Peter as I work on each project.

The Polarizer said...

Thank you Amy.
Your tribute was wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for honouring Peter.

I participated as well.

Teena in Toronto said...

Thank you for honouring Peter.

I participated as well.

Anonymous said...

I dated Peter 20 years ago and had no idea that he perished in the 9/11 bombings. That event was devestating to me personally, but I had not idea that he was there. Thank you for posting his story. He was a good man and I'm sorry for his family that he is gone.

Phillip Ramm said...

I was looking for something on my high school friend and found your wonderful tribute. Peter and I sat together for some classes and we played Aussie rules football together - he was much better than I was, but he helped me out of tight spots during the game. A really nice person. I had spoken to Paul at our 30th school reunion in Geelong in 2005 and he told me of the healing and the sense of closure that had taken place at the memorial service.

Thanks for working on that tribute. I sincerely hope that your life in 'Creekistan' is continuing to be a pleasurable "escape-ade".