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Diana B. Padro

Diana B. Padro, a staff accountant for the Office of the Secretary of the Army, Resource Services, Washington, Installation Accounting Division and, for a brief period, with the Headquarters of the National Guard, had lived in Woodbridge for nine years – the longest stretch of time our military family lived in one place. Our sons, José Javier, 23, a musician, and Juan Carlos, 19, pursuing a college degree, are graduates of Potomac High School. Diana graduated magna cum laude from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. 

Every day when I got to work, I would call my wife, Diana, at her office in the Pentagon just to hear her laugh. It wasn’t a nervous giggle or an earsplitting chortle. It was a kind of laugh like, “I’m glad to talk to you.” I loved that; I would call her every day just to hear her voice and laugh. Diana was an outgoing woman who immersed everyone in her laughter and energy. 

Though we were both born in Puerto Rico, we met at Fort Hood, Texas, where we were stationed after finishing Army basic training. Diana left the Army in 1982, but stayed involved with the military life. She loved her job, for which she traveled often. Every time she visited a city, state or country, she brought home a kitschy refrigerator magnet and covered part of the refrigerator door, displaying them in tidy rows, including another magnet that reads “Diana’s Kitchen.” At her office, she had a wall displaying similar items that friends brought to her from their trips. “It is almost complete,” she used to say very proudly. 

I first heard of the attack on the morning news when watching television. I work nights, and Diana had already left for the day. When hearing the news, I got on the phone immediately to call my wife. The phone rang, but nobody answered. When the news came out that the plane hit the Pentagon near the helipad, I knew something was terribly wrong. I remember picking her up from the airport and seeing her point at her office window saying proudly, “That is my window; when the President comes in the helicopter, we all go to the window so we can see him.” At that time, I began to realize that it was more than just news. I never expected anything like this. 

Hours passed, and the phone did not stop ringing. Phone calls were made by family and friends to all local hospitals throughout the night and the following day. Days later, she was positively identified as one of the victims. Diana loved her family and called them weekly to see how her mom, dad and sisters were doing. Diana was special. 

She completed her mission in life, and that is why she departed. I still have to complete mine before I can join her. My sons are my mission, and it is not finished yet. One day soon I will see her again. Thanks to all family and friends for the love and friendship. God bless. 

Love always,
José
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