Utah family remembers lessons learned from 9/11 tragedy

Sep 9, 2021, 3:53 PM | Updated: 3:55 pm

KAYSVILLE, Utah — Utahns who lost two family members on 9/11 say the lessons learned back then are needed now more than ever as the 20th anniversary of the attacks approaches.

The Wahlstroms say monuments, like this one in Kaysville, are so important in helping us never forget. They say the lessons that made us stronger back then seem to be drifting away, 20 years later.


The fireman, watching over the city, protecting the younger generations — the Wahlstroms said some of this monument’s symbols of the lessons learned need to be passed on.

“Especially my own kids that weren’t here,” said Mallory Wahlstrom Wright. “They don’t know what that was like. In the 20 years since 9/11 happened, I feel like we’ve never been more divided now, in 2021, and it is heartbreaking of the unity that my mom said we all felt.”

Wright still misses her aunt, Carolyn Beug, who worked at Disney Studios making music videos, and her grandmother, Mary Alice Wahlstrom.

Mary Alice Wahlstrom and Carolyn Beug.

“It’s unbelievable that it can still bring me to tears 20 years later,” she said. “I named my daughter after her — my daughter is named Alice.”

Wright’s mother, Margaret Wahlstrom, said she also feels the loss of her mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

“They were people that truly gave to society, in so many big ways,” she said. “In the flash of a moment, they were gone, and it left ripples all over the place.”

Beug and Mary Wahlstrom were lost in an instant, as the plane they were in crashed into the north tower.

But it’s what happened in the months and years after that has left an impression on this family.

Margaret Wahlstrom and Mallory Wahlstrom Wright. (KSL TV)

“I mean everybody was supportive, and everything was positive, and they were building and they were rebuilding,” Margaret Wahlstrom said.

Wright, who was 12 at the time, said our nation came out stronger.

“The lesson to remember is that Sept. 11 didn’t just happen to our family or to the 2,000, nearly 3,000 people who lost family — Sept. 11 happened to America,” she said.

They said while it was hard for them to see hate in the attacks and in the following days after from Al-Qaeda.

“Right after 9/11, a lot of reporters asked us if we hated the terrorists, and that was the furthest thing from our mind,” Wahlstrom said. “We found that we couldn’t hate.”

Bringing us to why this 20th anniversary seems so heavy to them, in a time when Americans are so divided.

“I’m so sad to see the hate that’s in the world these days and the negativity and the tearing down, instead of building up,” Wahlstrom said.

They said we’ve been better as a nation, and we can do it again.

“I’ve seen the strength and unity of America after 9/11,” Wright said. “I saw it come together and I saw us love each other through that, and for years and years it felt like we were getting stronger, and so that’s why I feel like the 20th anniversary is heavier, because it feels like we lost sight of that, and we need to remember, remember that unity, and look to where we’re the same and unify, instead of attacking where we’re different.”

“I think there is power in remembering, and there is power in teaching,” she added.

The Wahlstroms, especially Margaret, have shared their story many times over the past couple of decades. While they said it’s still painful, they believe it’s important to keep talking about their experience and those lessons learned.

“Things have fallen down. Things are bad. Things are painful. Things are hurtful, but we can rebuild and we can move forward with hope and promise for the future,” she said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Legacy of 9/11

SHANKSVILLE, PA - SEPTEMBER 11: U.S. first lady Jill Biden speaks during a ceremony commemorating t...


Jill Biden shares memories of Sept. 11 as wife, sister, more

The first lady recalls in an Associated Press interview how "scared to death" she was that her sister Bonny Jacobs, a United Airlines flight attendant, was on one of the hijacked planes that crashed in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

9 months ago

President Joe Biden participates in wreath laying ceremony at The Pentagon...

Nikki Carvajal and Jasmine Wright, CNN

Biden honors 9/11 victims at Pentagon ceremony: ‘This is a day not only to remember, but a day of renewal and resolve’

President Joe Biden commemorated the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks at a remembrance event Sunday at the Pentagon, delivering heartfelt remarks that honored those killed there. 

9 months ago

The Utah State Capitol (Photo: Derek Petersen, KSL TV)...

Doug Wright & Shelby Hintze, KSL TV

Vaccine mandate impact on Utah; a possible end to the death penalty in Utah

This week, a concerted effort to end the death penalty in Utah--from the Utah County Attorney to Republican lawmakers. And for a generation, they grew up in the shadow of 9/11, not really knowing a world without the tragedy. We talk with Katie McKellar from the Deseret News about the way the tragedy has shaped a generation. But first, President Biden this week announcing a vaccine or weekly testing requirement for US companies employing over 100 people. The details are scant right now but it's a decision already bringing praise and ire.

2 years ago

Carrie Pike (pictured left) became lifelong friends with the widows of the fallen firefighters on 9...

Ashley Moser, KSL TV

FDNY widows invite Utah woman to attend 9/11 anniversary in NYC

In 2001, Carrie Pike helped sew more than 400 grief teddy bears for the families of the firefighters killed on 9/11. Through that project, she became lifelong friends with the widows of the fallen, and that friendship turned into an invitation of a lifetime.

2 years ago

Members of NYPD, POPD, and FDNY hold a U.S. flag during the singing of the National Anthem at the a...


US marks 20 years since 9/11, in shadow of Afghan war’s end

Americans are solemnly marking the 20th anniversary of 9/11, just weeks after the fraught end of the Afghanistan war that followed the terror attack.

2 years ago

Jennilee Miller pays respect to victim Todd Beamer at the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National M...

The Associated Press

The Latest: Flight 93 victims remembered for their spirit

The victims and heroes of Flight 93 are being commemorated at a ceremony at the site where the plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, 2001.

2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Portrait of happy boy playing and splashing water in the swimming pool...

Get Out Pass

Family Fun Activities in Utah You Have to Try This Summer

These family fun activities will entertain you all summer, so if you ever feel stuck in a rut wondering what to do, refer to this guide!

Woman IT specialist in elegant suit working on notebook computer in data center next to server rack...

Les Olson

Your Complete Guide to Outsourcing IT Services

This guide covers everything you need to know about the different benefits of outsourcing IT services to meet your small business needs.

diverse group of friends dance outside under string lights...

Lighting Design

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Lighting

Read for the most frequently asked questions about outdoor lighting to help narrow the search for your home.

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Utah family remembers lessons learned from 9/11 tragedy