His father Hans Klein still has a tough time coming to grips with the fact that his only son is gone.
"It makes me very sad," Klein said last week from his Falls Point, N.Y. home.
The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks also claimed the life of three other Weehawken residents: Chris Gray, Robert Vicario and Eric Evans.
"It's difficult to believe that five years have passed so fast," Hans Klein said. "I always try to figure out why. Why we were attacked? Why Peter is gone? No one has ever been able to tell me why. I can't come to any conclusions. I don't have any anger. You have to forgive and forget, or you'll get eaten up by it. If you carry hatred with you all the time, you can never have peace."
Klein was 35 when he died. A resident of Weehawken for a little more than two years, he lived with his Mexican-born wife, Maria, who still resides in the township.
Klein had moved to the area after leaving IBM (where his father worked for decades) to take a job as a financial consultant with major insurance firm Marsh & McLennan.
"Sometimes, I think if he stayed with IBM with me, he would still be alive," Hans Klein said. "But he had a great career going with Marsh & McLennan and loved his work. He was a very dedicated person and was probably in work very early in the morning that day, probably around 7:30 a.m."
Hans Klein waited for days after the attacks for word of his son.
"We never found any trace of him," he said. "For the first two weeks, I was hoping he was still alive, that perhaps he was trapped inside the rubble. During that time, I was wondering what he was doing, whether he was able to survive. It was the most difficult thing for me. But once he was gone for 21 days, I knew no one could survive that long without food or water, so I accepted that he perished. That's when we faced closure and had a funeral mass for him."
Klein wasn't the only hard worker among the victims.
Evans, 31, was an insurance manager for the Aon Corporation. He had moved to Weehawken only months before to live with his long-time girlfriend, Karina.
Gray, 32, a former college football star at the University of West Virginia who spent some time with the Miami Dolphins, was a foreign exchange broker for Cantor Fitzgerald, the firm that lost the highest total of employees, over 550, in the tragedy.
Incredibly, Gray had become an instant hero to the kids of the Weehawken "Shades" area where he lived, constantly playing sports with the youngsters who were his neighbors.
There was one particular story of Chris Gray playing tetherball with a 7-year-old girl in Pizzuta Park in the Shades for hours on one of the hottest days in 2001.
One day, after throwing the football around with a group of kids, Gray told the kids that he once played for the Dolphins. The youngsters then told everyone that Dan Marino was living in their neighborhood.
After Chris Gray died that tragic day, his younger brother, Tim, moved into his apartment. Tim Gray loved Weehawken so much that he was one of the first people to purchase a home in the new St. Lawrence Estates complex three years ago and he still resides in town.
Vicario, 40, was a private contractor hired by Cantor Fitzgerald to do improvements to the investment firm's offices. It was only the second day he worked at the site.
He left a wife, Jill, and a newborn daughter, Savannah. Vicario's widow and daughter moved from Weehawken a little more than a year after the tragedy.
Tore apart family
Meanwhile, those who perished in the buildings are not the only ones lost.
"My wife [Rita] and I separated in 2003 after 38 years together," Hans Klein said. "That part has been very difficult. We had close family ties that are now gone. My youngest daughter lives with my wife, and I have one daughter in Maryland and another in Albany. My daughter in Maryland has three children. But it took a toll on all of us."
Added Hans Klein, "Peter was a very outgoing person. He liked to do a lot of things. His favorite pastime was canoeing and repeatedly competed in canoeing events with a friend. He had also just started to take flying lessons. He liked to try different things. He was very family oriented and liked doing things with me. When he was a Boy Scout, we worked on several projects together and that drew me close to him. I miss him very much."
Hans Klein said that he keeps in contact with his son's widow.
"We're very close," Hans Klein said. "She's going to college now."
Klein said that he has no plans to go to Ground Zero.
"I have never been there and I don't want to go there," he said. "I will go to a memorial Mass for him on Monday. That's it. But we should never forget that day, none of us. It's an unforgettable incident."
The township of Weehawken will hold a special candlelight memorial vigil for the four township residents who perished, as well as all the countless others, beginning at 7 p.m. at Hamilton Plaza.
Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner said that it will be an ecumenical service with prayer and reflection and that there will representatives from different faiths and churches on hand. All are invited to attend.
There will also be representatives from the township police, the North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue and the town's Volunteer First Aid Squad.
Resident Ralph Arroyo, who just recently returned from his tour of duty in Afghanistan, will represent the military.
"It was a day that affected us tremendously," Turner said. "It's important to honor not only those who perished in the attacks, but also to honor those who assisted and cared for the evacuees who left New York after the attacks."
More than 50,000 evacuees passed through Weehawken on their way to safety that day, receiving medical attention from triages that were set up outside the NY Waterway ferry terminal.
"We remember the victims, but we also remember those in the public safety field, all the volunteers who came to the rescue and helped in the care and evacuation," Turner said.
Turner also announced that the township has found a permanent spot for the township's memorial to the 9/11 victims. The memorial will be placed in the township's new recreational park that is currently under construction and should be completed by next year.
"We wanted it to be as close to the old ferry terminal as possible, because once that ferry terminal is gone, no one will remember how much of a role it played in helping that day," Turner said. "It fits the area and gives proper respect to those who perished."