Parents still mourn son who died in 9-11 attacks

Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Earnest and Lettie Washington stand beside the grave of their son, Derrick Christopher Washington, who is buried in the Galilee Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery in Beech Island.

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Derrick Christopher Washington was working for Verizon in the twin towers in New York City.

"When the first plane hit, he called us and told his brother he was getting his computer" and leaving his office on the 110th floor, said his father, Earnest Washington.

The family never heard from him again.

"I still look for him, and I hope that he'll walk through the door," his father said.

His family chose as the final resting place for his recovered remains the family plot in Galilee Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery in Beech Island, next to his grandfather.

On his headstone are the words "a victim of the New York World Trade Center Tragedy" and a photograph.

Although he never lived in Aiken County, Derrick Washington has many relatives living there, including his grandmother, Gladys Washington, and several aunts, uncles and cousins. As a child, he spent his summers with his extended family.

"He was baptized at this church," said his father, who, along with his wife, Lettie, plans to move back to Beech Island now that both of them have retired.

Mrs. Washington said losing a child is difficult, and the family misses Derrick very much.

"Our love goes on and on," she said.

The Washingtons remember their son, who was 33 years old when he died, as a good man who became a good father to his three sons, Malik, Devin and Christopher. He was into bodybuilding.

The family marked the recent anniversary of his death quietly, said Mrs. Washington, who visited the site on a Sept. 11 anniversary for the first time this year.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.