Whitestone family honors victim of Sept. 11 attacks

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Hundreds gathered at the Queens Christian Alliance Church in Flushing Saturday morning to pay their respects to Jennifer Wong, a Whitestone native who was killed in the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack.

“Lord, we come to you to understand the things that we cannot,” said Pastor John Eng of the Chinese Evangel Mission Church, which Wong and her family regularly attended in Manhattan’s Chinatown.

Wong, who was 26, worked as a risk management consultant for Marsh & McLennan on the 96th floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center. She had graduated from Townsend Harris HS in 1993 and SUNY Binghamton in 1997. She lived with her parents and her younger brother and sister in Whitestone.

Those who spoke of Wong emphasized her devotion to the Christian faith. She worked both as a Sunday School teacher and as a teacher during her summers at the Vacation Bible School.

“She was always at her 8:30 worship service,” said Pastor Lee Hearn. “Her empty chair there is a reminder to us.”

Hearn described the important place Wong had in the community of the Chinese Evangel Mission Church. Founded shortly before her birth, the church welcomed Wong as the first child born to members of the congregation.

The Wong family decided to hold the funeral for Jennifer even though her body has not yet been recovered.

In between moments of song and prayer, friends and family of Wong reflected on their loss.

“She was part of one of the best practical jokes on me,” said Alan Chan, a friend from college. “I forgot to buy her a birthday cake, and she must have put 300 post-it notes in my room, all saying ‘Cake.’”

Chan recalled their years of friendship, praising Wong as a “pillar of the community.”

“Jen, you’re the closest thing I had in my life to a sister,” he said. “I miss you dearly.”

Her cousin, Johnny Kong, said Wong was central to Chinese Christian community of Whitestone.

“Everyone amongst the Kong and Wong clans competed for her attention, for her smile that has endeared so many to her,” he said. “Her easygoing spirit and non-confrontational personality made it easy for anyone to gravitate toward her.”

Kong cautioned that the mourners should not allow the circumstances of Wong’s death overshadow the events of her life.

“Do not let the bitterness and anger of the tragedy of Sept. 11 rob us of her memories,” he said.

Michael Wong, Jennifer Wong’s 23-year-old brother, also shared his thoughts.

“Even though I am deeply saddened by the loss of my sister, I am overcome with joy,” he said as he cried.

Wong reflected on his childhood with his sister. He spoke of their adventure ice skating in Manhattan without their parents and their scuffles.

“Mom and Dad used to call us Tom and Jerry,” he said.

Wong promised his sister that he would finish grad school in her memory. He thanked her for her guidance she gave him in life.

“Thanks for all the e-mails you sent me freshmen year. Thanks for all the rides you gave me.

“Thank you for being my sister.”

Reach Reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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