Clyde Frazier Sr. last spoke to his son, Clyde Frazier Jr. Sept., 10, 2001. At the time, he didn’t know that would be the last time he would speak to his son.
Marking 15 years since the 9/11 attack that not only changed Frazier’s life forever but the nation as well, this year he’s joining thousands of families at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan to mourn those lost on that day.
“I wish I could rewrite history so my son could be here,” said Frazier. “Those planes took me down. Not just the people in those buildings. Anyone who lost a loved one at the World Trade Center has heartache and you don’t get rid of it. It’s just there. You think about what would have been.”
Frazier’s son was 41 years old and working on the 86th floor of the World Trade Center North Tower when hijackers on American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into it. He was working as an investigator for the New York State Taxation and Finance Department.
Frazier said his son last spoke to one of his friends over the phone.
“He told her ‘I gotta go, I gotta go!’ and that was the last we heard from him,” he said. “They told him not to leave the building and he stayed.”
Like Frazier’s other children, Clyde Jr. was born at Harlem Hospital and was raised on the Upper West Side. Frazier said his son was a good child, full of ambition.
“He was smart and beautiful guy,” he said. “I put college into his mind early and he graduated from Albany State University.”
Frazier said on the 9/11 when his son was killed, it took a part of him and his family away. He describes finding out what was going on that morning.
“I was in state of shock,” he said. “I saw the second plane go into the building and I called him and got his voicemail. It’s an incredible sadness being home that night and knowing I might not ever see him again.”
Waiting anxiously to hear if his son was alive, Frazier received word from his niece that he was alive and in a hospital. However, he was devastated once again to find out that it was not his son and that he had in fact perished.
In his sorrow over the past 15 years, Frazier said that he’s had help from not only his family but also several leaders in the community to triumph and keep his son’s memory alive.
He’s been a member of the Fred Samuelson Democratic Club for the past 45 years and has received support from elected officials, including Assemblyman Keith Wright and former Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields.
However, it’s Frazier’s work with the Slam Jam community basketball tournament, which his son founded in 1994, that has really given him the opportunity to keep his son’s memory and vision alive.
The tournament was a dream of his son, to give back to the community. Frazier was also an avid basketball player himself at Clinton High School in the Bronx and college basketball.
The not-for-profit organization promotes high school and junior high school girls’ basketball, especially as a tool for college scholarship. Numerous girls who participated in program have gone on to play college basketball and in the WNBA.
The street corner on W. 143rd Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard near P.S. 192 Renaissance Playground where the tournament is held was renamed after Frazier’s son.
With all the work that he does with the Democratic Club and the Slam Jam, Frazier said it’s the best way for him to never forget the impact his son made on the community but also his own life.
“I lost a son but I lost a good friend and a brother,” Frazier said. “He was like a brother to me. He was more than a son.