9/11’s Youngest Victims: The Fate of Juliana McCourt

by Jodi Giddings on September 10, 2013

On this eve of the 12th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on our nation, I’d like to share with our Victory Girls readers the story of a little girl named Juliana Valentine McCourt.

Four-year-old Juliana, nicknamed Miss J, and her mother, 45-year-old Ruth McCourt, boarded a plane in the early hours of September 11th, 2001, headed for a much-anticipated mother-daughter vacation to Disneyland. Accompanying the pair, Ruth’s friend of more than ten years, Paige Farley Hackel, unable to reserve a seat on the same aircraft as Juliana and Ruth, United Airlines Flight 175, found a seat on an alternate plane, American Airlines Flight 11. Both planes, carrying hundreds of passengers on each, took off toward their destinations. The trio’s plan was to meet up at Boston’s Logan International Airport, and then on to the Happiest Place on Earth. None of them would reach their intended destination.

Juliana Ruth McCourt

Ruth and Juliana McCourt

Soon after takeoff, both planes, with Juliana, Ruth, and Paige aboard, were hijacked by Islamic terrorists. Paige’s plane was first to strike the north tower of the World Trade Center. The plane flying Juliana and Ruth would follow, the terrorists slamming it directly into the south tower. In a heartbreaking twist, Ruth’s brother Ronald Clifford, attending a business meeting that day, was standing near the World Trade Center, engulfed in the smoke pouring from the first tower strike. He watched helplessly as the second plane, he would later learn, carrying his sister and niece crashed into the south tower.

“I think when I was on the floor saying the Lord’s Prayer…when the second plane hit, just in a strange way maybe Ruth guided me out of there,” he told ABC News shortly following the attack.

Ruth and Paige

Best Friends Paige and Ruth

Juliana Ruth Second Plane

The second plane carrying Juliana and Ruth McCourt approaching its target, September 11, 2001.

David McCourt, husband to Ruth and father to Juliana, who he said was filled with love and a desire for peace, spent many of the next twelve years battling severe depression. In January of 2002, David considered suicide.

“Ruth and Juliana were my life and my passion,” he told an audience at a New London synagogue. “I was going to end it all. If faith could justify taking these two beautiful creatures, I just didn’t want to go on. But something kept me going. It’s been a journey of spiritual awakening to go from where I was. If you don’t have the spiritual awakening, you don’t survive.”

David McCourt

David McCourt

David finally moved on and remarried. But his fight was not over. This past July, 71-year-old David, after having battled metastatic melanoma for years, finally succumbed to the disease. I like to think he’s reunited with Ruth and Juliana now, somewhere above the clouds, in a place where there is infinite love and eternal peace.

In all, eight children were murdered by Jihadists on September 11th, 2001. They are:

  • Christine Lee Hanson, 2, Groton, Mass.
  • David Brandhorst, 3, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Juliana McCourt, 4, New London, Conn.
  • Bernard Brown II, 11, Washington, D.C.
  • Asia Cottom, 11, Washington, D.C.
  • Rodney Dickens, 11, Washington, D.C.
  • Dana Falkenberg, 3, University Park, Md.
  • Zoe Falkenberg, 8, University Park, Md.

Rest in peace, Ruth, Paige, little Juliana, and the thousands of others we lost on that horrific day in September. Let us never forget.

And one last thought. To the Obama Administration and its propagandizing media pushing a third war in the Middle East: What you are proposing is aiding and abetting a group of Syrian “rebels” whose ranks include members of Al Qaeda, the very same terrorists who attacked us on that fateful day in September of 2001, taking the lives of Juliana, Ruth, Paige, and scores of other innocent Americans. In my mind, that is nothing short of treason.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Catherine Wilkinson September 10, 2013 at 11:34 am

Incredibly sad, but beautiful post, Jodi…..I pray that we never ever forget who wants to kill us all. Thank you.

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Jodi September 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Thank you, Catherine. It was tough to write. Especially knowing in my heart we will be attacked again because of the amazingly weak leadership of this administration.

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Jen September 10, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Ronald Clifford stayed on the sidewalk with a woman who was severly burned from the elevator fires, until help arrived(completely unaware of his sister and niece’s fate) and he later visited her in the hospital. Sadly, she succumbed a month later to her injuries. Mr.Clifford attended her funeral wearing the tie that the woman focused on trying to cling to life on that sidewalk. Mr.Cliffords incredibly poignant experience can be watched online in the BBC documentary, Hotel 911, which chronicles the little told story of the survivors of the destruction of the Marriott Hotel, situated below the twin towers. The hotel collapsed all but for a stairwell in which a few survivors sheltered. Mr. Clifford was just outside of the hotel when the planes hit.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROe3fyAZt_k

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Jodi September 11, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Thank you, Jen, for the info on Mr. Cliffords. It’s truly sad, inspiring, gut-wrentching story. Never forget.

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kat richards September 13, 2013 at 6:13 pm

So sorry for loss of these dear ones and how it tortured those left behind. Ruth and her daughter I have thought of since their “going home” trip. I watched plane as it hit and heard their story. Thanks for this site.

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Jodi September 13, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Thanks for taking the time to read Juliana’s story. We’re glad to have you here, Kat.

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Julie November 19, 2013 at 11:23 am

I was at Juliana’s 3rd and 4th birthday party as an entertainer. I was at other birthdays Juliana attended as a guest. Her name and my real name are very close. She was the sweetest little thing. I will always remember her twirling in her grandmother’s yard in her party dress. She will always have a little piece of my heart.

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Jodi Giddings March 12, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Thank you for sharing that, Julie.

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Libby Needham March 12, 2014 at 10:29 am

When I read these accounts I get sick to my stomach. I was personal friends with the McCourt’s and worked with Ron Glifford for several years. So hard still to make sense of all of this. God speed to all.

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Jodi Giddings March 12, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Thank you for your comment, Libby. My daughter shares Juilana’s name. We thought it a fitting way to remember her and the events and victims of 9/11.

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