Twenty years have passed since an Oklahoma City couple had their final conversation with their oldest son.
David Rice, 31, died in the 9/11 terror attacks. He worked in the World Trade Center tower hit by the second commercial airplane.
A tree at Christ the King Church in Nichols Hills was just one of two trees that were planted in Rice’s memory. The other one is in New York City near his sister’s apartment.
“Twenty years, it just doesn’t,” said Cindy Rice, David Rice’s mother. “It’s just kind of flown by.”
Cindy Rice sees the tree everyday outside her church and workplace. Christ the King is where she raised her children, so it was only fitting her son's memory has a permanent home.
“It has a very special place because this is where David went to school,” Rice said. “Also did not make good grades.”
Rice also attended Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School where a room was named after him and a scholarship fund for students.
“Today, there is enough money that 10 children per year on the work study program who are having hard times financially,” Rice said. “Each of them can get a $1,000 scholarship.”
Rice said even though her oldest son was not a star student, he managed to make a career in investment banking. His job is what landed Rice working in New York City on the 104th floor of the south World Trade Center tower.
Rice will never forget the last time she spoke to him.
“He was clam when he talked to us. He called us. He said, ‘It’s like pandemonium here,” Rice said. “They said, ‘They’re not letting us out,’ and he was on the 104th floor. He almost made it out.”
She said every anniversary is different, but this year is harder. The Rice family made it to New York City on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, but this year, they plan to stay close to home.
“It’s really to the point now it (sic) we can do something that’s uplifting it’s just better to get through the day,” Rice said. “And my husband and I make sure we’re together that day.”
Rice said she has daily reminders of her son, one being her youngest grandson. She said looks just like David did.