Five years after 9-11, Michael Trivett of the Christian Fellowship Church in Ashburn still remembers Dong Lee’s strong faith and quiet example.
"He was a Christian leader, both in his own family and in the community," he said. "And the biggest thing he taught me was to cherish people."
Trivett said he remembers the last time he ever spoke to Lee, Sept. 9, 2001.
"He’d come up to chitchat, but I had something else I was doing and didn’t take the time to talk," Trivett said. "Unfortunately that was the last time I saw him."
Leesburg resident Lee, then 48, and Ashburn resident Christopher Newton were killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.
Both men were traveling to California on business. Lee, who worked for Boeing, was going to a meeting in southern California. Newton was due at a budget meeting for his California-company, Work/Life Benefits, which he planned to move to Ashburn.
Newton, who was 38 on Sept. 11, had just moved his family to Ashburn four weeks before 9-11. Lee, who emigrated from Korea as a young man, was a long-time resident of Loudoun County and active member of his church.
Both were fathers, Newton of a son, Michael, then 10, and a daughter, Sarah, then 7, with his wife, Amy. Lee had three children, Daniel, Melissa, and Cynthia with his wife, Jungmi.
"Family was very important to him," Trivett said of Lee. "He found a good balance between work and family."
Since 9-11 the two men have been joined in another way. In October 2005, Loudoun’s newest elementary school was named for them. Paintings of the two men hang in the lobby of Newton-Lee along with a flag the once flew over the Capital.
At the dedication of the school, Newton’s father, Michael Newton, spoke on behalf of the family and said education was very important to his son.
Newton-Lee Principal Julie Boyd said Amy Newton continues to be involved with the school, planting plants and donating things it might need.
For Trivett, 9-11 and every day since have been a reminder of who Lee was and the importance of taking time for those in your life.
"He was a hard worker with strong ethics," Trivett said. "It reminds me that every time in life you need to stop and smell the roses."
<1b>— Erika Jacobson