Michigan Remembers 9‑11

Darya Lin, 32; originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Darya was born in Ann Arbor, and lived there until age 3, when she moved to her mother’s native country of Iran. She returned to Ann Arbor with her family at age 11, and earned bachelors and masters degrees in industrial and engineering operations from the University of Michigan. Darya was working as a senior manager for the Keane Consulting Group out of Chicago, and attending a meeting on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center’s tower two. She was reported to have made it down to the 78th floor after the attacks, and chose to stay there to care for others.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on February 3, 2002

Darya Lin was not easy to rattle. Growing up in Iran in the early 1980’s near a border under heavy bombardment by Iraq, she nevertheless had a “very, very healthy childhood,” said her mother, Nahid Mashayekhi Lin. “She never had any fear or any bad memories.”

So it makes sense to her friends and family that on Sept. 11 Ms. Lin, a 32-year-old senior manager with Keane Consulting Group who was advising clients that day at AON, stayed on the 78th floor to help a pregnant client while others in her group ran downstairs to safety.

But Ms. Lin was also aware of her mortality. Over the summer, when she returned a pair of running shoes she had borrowed from her mother, one of them had a note with her name and personal information inside. “She said, `Yeah, mommy, because when people die, the first place they look is in their shoes.'”

Ms. Lin, whose father is Burmese, moved with her parents to Ann Arbor, Mich., when she was 11; as an adult she traveled in Europe and the United States, eventually settling in Chicago. She never returned to Iran, but kept up with the language and was considering a return visit with her mother. 

“She had very good handwriting in Persian and she used to write me in Persian,” her mother said. “In her letters, she would thank us for everything we’d done.”