'I've now had 20 years without him': Ont. woman reflects on husband's 9/11 death, legacy

For Maureen Basnicki, there's some unsettling symmetry in Saturday's commemoration of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"I had 20 years with Ken, wonderful years," Basnicki told CTV News Wednesday. "I've now had 20 years without him."

On that fateful morning 20 years ago, Ken Basnicki had a meeting on the 106th floor of the north tower in the World Trade Center in New York.

He was a 48-year-old devoted father of two.

Maureen Basnicki describes her grieving process as a difficult journey.

Over the past two decades, Basnicki has mourned the partner she says she "struck gold" with in a chance encounter on a Collingwood beach, while devoting her energy to make sure others don't endure the suffering she has.

As founder of the Canadian Coalition Against Terror, Basnicki has been advocating for a federal office to support victims of terrorism.

She explains that victims have unique needs, like navigating bureaucracy around death certificates, shipping remains of their loved ones, and insurance claims.

The federal government under Stephen Harper declared a national day of service on Sept. 11; Basnicki is determined to have Ontario make the day an official day of service provincially and write it into calendars.

"This day changed our world. It shouldn't be blank," Basnicki says.

She adds that people could mark the day with volunteerism by giving thanks to frontline health-care workers or buying a coffee for a police officer.

She says these acts reinforce the Canadian values that were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

"It's the best message that we can give for would-be terrorists that want to destroy our way of life. And it's one of the best legacies I can leave for my Ken," she finishes.