Monday, September 11, 2006
Cmdr. Dan Frederic Shanower
Commander Dan F. Shanower
Home: Vienna, Virginia
Navy Commander Dan F. Shanower had been posted around the world in his 15 years as a naval officer, but he was happy with his transfer to the staff of the Navy Command Center just more than a year before September 11, 2001, said his brother Jonathan Shanower, a lawyer in Naperville, Illinois.
"He loved being in Washington," Shanower said. "He had spent some time there as a student at American University in the 1980s, and he loved politics."
Dan Shanower, 40, was a lanky man with an easy smile who liked to spend his weekends hanging out at a Xando coffeehouse, his neighbors in Vienna said. On hot days, he was often seen behind his condominium complex washing his Lexus.
Jonathan Shanower said his brother was a very private person and revealed little about his personal life or much about his work, which had taken him to Japan, the Philippines and, for several tours, the aircraft carrier USS Midway.
"We didn't talk business," Shanower said. "Family was important."
Shanower grew up in Naperville, one of five siblings and the son of a schoolteacher, Patricia, and a retired college professor, Donald.
He went to Naperville Central High School, where he graduated in 1979, and then on to a private liberal arts institution, Carroll College in Wisconsin, where he graduated with a communications degree in 1983.
He applied and was accepted into naval officer training in Pensacola, Florida, shortly thereafter, his brother said. Shanower lived quietly in a town house community and was studying to receive his master's degree at Georgetown University, his brother said.
On Monday, October 1, 2001, Navy Commander Dan Shanower of Naperville, Illinois, was buried amid all the solemnity America can bestow upon a fallen son.
A Naval intelligence officer, Shanower's grave site overlooks the Pentagon, where the destruction caused by the September 11, 2001, terrorist assault was clearly visible to mourners.
The day began with a Christian service at the Fort Meyer Old Post Chapel. Friends and co-workers eulogized Shanower as a patriot, an officer, a writer, a traveler, a gentleman.
"He covered it all," one Naval commander said. "And he was a gift to us all."
Shanower was assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence in June 1999. The Naperville Central High School graduate joined the Navy in 1985, later earning the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy Commendation medals and the Navy Service Medal.
He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal.
For a moving first-hand account of the terror of that day, read Sarah Bunting's website and help her Find Don.