Scott Michael Johnson is a young man who was killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in Manhattan, New York. His remains were recovered and identified in July 2018.
Scott Johnson was born to Tom and Ann Johnson on April 7, 1975 in Montclair, New Jersey. He worked as a securities analyst at the Keefe, Bruyette & Woods investment banking firm which was located at the 85th, 88th, and the 89th floors of the South Tower of the World Trade Center tower. He specially worked on the 89th floor.
9/11 terrorist attack
Johnson was at his job when the September 11th attacks occurred. After the American Airlines Flight 11 aircraft, hijacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists, hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 AM, he left a message on his parent’s answering machine saying everyone was safe and they didn’t need to evacuate and told his father we was okay. Ann, who was at the Upper East Side electioneering to get out the vote, would later comment, "I heard people talking that something had happened, and then my husband and daughter pulled up in the car."
However, at 9:03 AM, the United Airlines Flight 175 plane, also hijacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists, hit the South Tower of the World Trade. The impact and subsequent fire caused the South Tower to collapse fifty-six minutes after it was hit. Johnson was killed in the process. Al-Qaeda terrorists would also fly American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon at 9:37 AM and a fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, would crash near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at 10:03 AM after passengers fought back against the hijackers.
Overall, 2,977 Americans and people of other nationalities and nineteen Al-Qaeda hijackers were killed and 25,000 people were injured in the September 11th attacks.
After the attacks, it was determined the Islamic terrorist group Al-Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden was responsible for the September 11th attacks. The US responded to this by starting the War in Afghanistan and the War on Terrorism. Bin Laden was killed in a U.S. military raid in 2011 in Pakistan.
Weeks after the attack, Johnson’s wallet was found among the rubble and returned to his family. Johnson is among the nine people of Montclair, New Jersey who was killed in the attacks. Their names are on a plaque at Watchung Plaza Park.
A scholarship at the Montclair Academy was established in his memory.
In Montclair’s Presby Memorial Gardens, there is a iris variation named after Johnson and a bench with a bronze plaque that says, "Remember Me, Scott M. Johnson, World Trade Center 9-11-01."
Since the attack, the New York Medical Examiner’s Office has been using DNA technology to identify about 22,000 remains that were recovered. Mark Desire, the assistant director of forensic technology at the medical examiner’s office, commented on the task, "As a forensic scientist, you’re trained to be neutral and unbiased. But with the World Trade Center investigation, it’s a different kind of case and you meet with the families and the hugs and the thank yous, it gets emotional with them and it really helps with that drive to keep improving that process."
Using the DNA and saliva samples the Johnson family had provided right after the attack, the medical examiner’s office identified Johnson’s remains in July 2018. Johnson was the first victim to be identified since August 2017.
When Tom and Ann returned from a vacation in Europe, the doorman at their Upper East Side apartment informed them a New York Police Department detective wanted to speak with them. When they called him, he gave the number of a forensic anthropologist at New York’s medical examiner’s office who informed them of the identification.
Ann lamented, "I went through the five stages of grief, from shock to acceptance, many times. Now I have to start over again. This is really final, again. What's been final is final again. And it doesn't bring 'closure'. There is no closure. Closure suggests you're going on with your life. But your life is different. It's not what you wanted it to be. It's not what you dreamed it would be. You get pulled right back into it and it also means there’s a finality. Somehow I always thought he would just walk up and say, 'Here I am. I had amnesia'".
Tom, now a member of the board of September 11 Memorial Museum, opened up saying, "His friends reported at his memorial service on the incredible love and support that he gave to them that in a sense went even beyond our understanding of him. He was one of the kindest people that anyone around him had ever known. The pain of losing someone like that was tremendous."
Johnson is considered the 1,642 victim whose remains have been identified. His name is on Panel S-33 at the National September 11 Memorial in Manhattan.