The home of the American Dream is New York City. Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty welcomed you. Central Park gave you quiet repose. And skyscrapers like the Woolworth’s, the Empire State, and the World Trade Center, showed you that the sky’s no limit. At the turn of the century, millions of immigrants came to New York City to work towards that American Dream. In 1994, Inna Basina began her new life in America as a Jewish-Russian immigrant.
Her brother and his family arrived first, in 1993, from Russia. She joined a year later, and as her husband, Vladimir, put it, “It was freedom for her, freedom for our son.” In Russia, he said, Judaism was her nationality, but in New York City, it was her religion — “Here it was not a problem,” said Vladimir Basin. They settled down in Bensonhurst, but refused welfare. She got a job with AT&T as a translator, and after her shift, she earned a Master’s in accounting from Pace University. She did her job well, and at one point was a hero:
At least once, Basina was really essential. In the middle of surgery somewhere in Arkansas, on an immigrant who didn’t know a word of English, they needed her services, and she helped translate the words of the patient and the surgeon.
She eventually joined J.P. Morgan, but when they were to move to Delaware in 1999, she chose to stay in New York, and took on a job with Cantor Fitzgerald as an accountant. As her brother put it:
“She felt more of a New Yorker than any of us,” testifies Kogan about his sister, “she loved every corner of the city, she loved to walk around. She always said that everything happens here – the best and the worst.”
On the morning of September 11th, around 8:20 AM, Vladimir dropped off his wife Inna a little early. Their son, Boris, was turning 12 three days later, and she wanted some time to shop for a birthday present for him. At 8:46, Mohammad Atta and four other Muslim terrorists drove American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, striking floors 93-99. Inna Basina worked on the 101st floor, above the location of the attack. In the hours and days that followed, her family held out hope that she might not have arrived at work on time, that her shopping had saved her life, and that she might be wandering the city unable to contact them. As they searched the city and checked hospitals, their hope faded as the realized she was one of the victims of 9/11.
“She died just when things started to be easier, when the first period of adjustment was over,” said her brother Yefim Kogan.
They attended the ceremony a month later at Ground Zero, and their son Boris asked for a stone from the site to keep with him in a jar. A worker helped to get him a stone, and he still keeps it with him on his desk at work. Her dream lives on.
In Memory of Inna Basina, Age 43, of New York City.