Originally published Thursday, September 13, 2001

Gordon Ward got the phone call a little after 10 a.m. Tuesday. He could hear a woman sobbing. All he could make out was: “Terrorist. World Trade Center.” And then the woman said something that nearly knocked Ward out of his chair: “Stephen.”

Stephen Ward is Gordon’s 33-year-old son. Three weeks ago, Ward’s son started a new job on the 101st floor of the World Trade Center.

Gordon Ward flipped on the television and watched as flames shot out of the two towers. Later, he watched both of the buildings crumble.

Ever since, Ward and his family have been hoping, praying for a miracle. They’ve not heard from Stephen Ward and they’re unable to get answers from his company or the New York hospitals.

“We’ve had a glimmer of hope that supposedly 85 people from his company survived and are in the hospital, ” Ward said from his Gorham home Wednesday evening. “I guess it’d be a miracle if anyone survived. But that’s what we’re hoping for.”

Stephen Ward started work in late August for Canter Fitzgerald, an international equity trading firm. He worked as a certified public accountant.

For the first few hours after his family heard about the terrorist attack on Ward’s building, they frantically dialed and redialed his cell phone.

Then, they started praying that maybe he was late for work. Or maybe he was out getting coffee when the crash happened..

“Tuesday, we waited all day for him to call, ” said Susan Moore of Casco, Ward’s older sister. “Everytime the phone rang, we hoped he was on the other end.”

Then, Ward’s younger sister thought she saw her brother on television.

“She saw a man lying on the sidewalk, with the same ring of hair as Stephen, ” Moore said. “She came out of the TV room, saying, ‘I think I saw him.’ “

The family later agreed it wasn’t Stephen.

This morning, Stephen’s sister Katie Graham got an e-mail from her brother. He had sent it to her at 8:18 a.m. Tuesday morning, less than a half hour before a plane crashed into his building.

“He told me he’d just found an apartment in the city, ” Graham, of Portland, said. “He said, ‘Check up on Mom for me and I’ll talk to you later.’ “

Wednesday, the Ward family kept hoping and calling New York hospitals.

“They say there’s 600 people at the hospitals and there’s about 20,000 people that were in the towers, ” Moore said. “The odds aren’t good, but there’s some hope there.”