Graham Berkeley, a Briton, had lived in the United States for 10 years, and for 10 years he had been trying to get the green card that would grant him resident status. It came at last in June, and Mr. Berkeley had started making plans to move to New York City from Boston when, on Sept. 11, he boarded United Airlines Flight 175 for a business trip to Los Angeles.
"It's like fate playing tricks on you," said his friend Christian Winslow. "His fight for that green card had been so intense."
Mr. Berkeley, 37, was director of e-commerce solutions for the Compuware Corporation , but his friends remember him as a classical violinist, an opera buff and a world traveler. "He loved the freedom that America has," Mr. Winslow said. "He loved the openness of our society and the friends he had here. America, to Graham, was almost like the cliché — a land of endless opportunities.

'We watched our child die, unaware'

While Charles and Pauline Berkeley watched on television as the second plane hit the World Trade Centre, their grief for the loss of others was slowly overwhelmed by the fear that they had seen their son die. They knew their son Graham was travelling that day from his home in Boston. From their secluded bungalow in Shrewsbury they called his cell phone and emailed him repeatedly. He did not answer.
At 10.30pm their phone rang. It was United Airlines informing them that Graham had been on Flight 175, the second plane to hit the World Trade Centre at 9.03am that day. 'At first we thought it was a hoax,' said Charles. 'But then United rang back. We had seen the fireball ourselves and knew to expect the worst,' said Charles, his voice suddenly frail. 'We watched our child die, unaware. He was a brilliant boy - a brilliant man.' Unlike other hijacked passengers Graham, 37, a British IT consultant living in Boston, did not manage to make a call on his phone before the crash. But Charles believes his son would not have gone quietly. He knows he would have put up a fight when the hijackers took control of the plane. 'He was an assertive lad,' he said.

'I wish our Graham had slept in that day'

   Charles and Pauline Berkeley watched the two hijacked jets crash into the World Trade Centre on television at their home in Shrewsbury feeling desperately sorry for the victims. Seven hours later they discovered that their son Graham was one of the dead. Yesterday Mr and Mrs Berkeley sat in New York weeping for the son they would never see again. They loved him very much, they said. "The sunshine has gone out of our lives," said his mother as her husband put an arm around her shoulders.
   Graham Berkeley was 37 and wanted to live the rest of his life in New York. He was in Los Angeles in the 1980s when the earthquake took place and joked that after that he could survive anything. Mr Berkeley had telephoned his parents to say that he was going to Amsterdam. They had no idea that there had been a change of plans and he had decided to travel to Los Angeles instead for a conference.
   "We watched the crash on television and at first we thought we were watching a movie," said Mrs Berkeley, a retired nurse. "We felt so sorry for the people on the aeroplane and all the others. It was not until 10 o'clock that night that United Airlines called us and said: 'We are very sorry, your son was on Flight 175.' He was on the flight that went into the second tower. I wish he had laid over that morning. "He was a fantastic lad. Everybody who knew him said he had charisma. He had a lovely smile. He used to put everybody's mind at ease and try to help. "He lived for travelling. He had been in Australia the previous year and all over. He always used to ring from the airport and say, 'Hi guys, I'm going to so-and-so.' But he never rang this time."

   Graham, a director with the firm Compuware, had just received his green card allowing him to work permanently in the US. "He had just got to the pinnacle of his career," said his father Charles, 69, a retired power station supervisor, as his wife cried softly beside him. "He was always meticulous about his business. But he was also modest and told his brother that his job was boring. We didn't realise that he had risen so far. He was always just Graham when he came home." Graham had told his parents that he was going to visit his firm's headquarters in Slough, Berkshire, in the near future and looked forward to seeing them very much. Mrs Berkeley, who is waiting for a double hip replacement, said: "He would say to us, 'When you guys can't look after yourself you have to come to New York and I will look after you.' That is never going to happen now."
   The couple had visited him in New York and their son had taken them to the Statue of Liberty and pointed out the World Trade Centre's twin towers, remarking on the fantastic view. Mrs Berkeley said: "It is ironic really. We actually went round the towers on that visit." Mr Berkeley added: "We could not go up because my wife does not like lifts."
   The couple said that other families were still holding out hope for their loved ones, but they were not.
"We know that Graham could not have survived that blast," said Mr Berkeley. "It was full of fuel." But he said they were still hoping for the other grieving relatives they had met since coming to New York.