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Living a legacy after 9/11, Joseph Drake honors father who died in attacks

joseph and tammy drake randy drake survivors
Posted at 11:32 AM, Sep 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 18:27:25-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Randy Drake worked for Siemens back in 2001, spending his weekdays in New York City and his weekends at home in the Lee's Summit area.

After the first plane hit on Sept. 11, he called his wife, Tammy, to say he was OK and tell her he loved her. It would be the last time she heard his voice.

“I said, 'Make sure you call me.' He said, 'I will. I love you,' and that’s the last time I heard his voice. I’ll cherish that the rest of my life,” she said.

Days after the attack, KSHB 41 News sat down with the Drake family. His son, Joseph Drake, was 17 at the time and didn’t say much, but his eyes told the story of his shock and grief.

“He went back in to help people, but they ended up finding him. He was struck in the head with a piece of concrete,” Joe said.

According to the family, someone found Randy on the street and put him into an ambulance. After fighting for 11 days, he died on Sept. 22. Joe told KSHB 41 News getting to see his dad before the end gave their family a sense of closure.

In September 2001, Joe was a junior at Lee’s Summit North High School. Tavish Whiting, his government teacher then, is still at the school today. He invited Joe to speak with students at the school about the impact 9/11 had on his family and his life.

Randy served a deployment in the U.S. Army. Now, his son Joe serves as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and is stationed at Whiteman Air Force base in the 442nd reserves.

There’s a plaque and a clock honoring Randy Drake at Lee’s Summit North. To mark the 20th anniversary, Tammy and Joe visited that memorial and led the school in a moment of silence. It’s important to this family that America and the Kansas City-area community never forget 9/11.

“I try not to hate that day. I really do. I try to find the good and the joy in it, but it’s still hard, even 20 years later,” Tammy said. “I don’t want those people to be forgotten. I don’t want Randy to be forgotten.”

joseph and tammy drake
Joseph and Tammy Drake stand in front of a plaque at Lee's Summit North High School which honors their father and husband, Randy Drake, who was killed in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.