Remembering Carl Max Hammond Jr, “Little Max”

Updated: Sep. 9, 2021 at 6:40 PM CDT
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GENEVA, Ala. (WTVY) - For the city of Geneva, the news of 9/11 quickly hit home. One of their own, Carl Max Hammond, Junior, known as “Little Max,” lost his life in New York that day. He was 37 years old when he died.

“Little Max” set off on a business trip on September 11, 2001. He along with 65 other people were aboard United Airlines flight 175 when it was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center.

“That day plays over in my head, several times a week still,” says Julie Sconyers, a cousin of “Little Max.”

Sconyers reflects on September 11, 2001, she was teaching school and teachers began to quickly gather at the classroom doors. She remembers the television being turned on in the library, she said she knew something awful had happened but was not exactly sure what. Word traveled fast around the school building when the Towers and Pentagon were hit, Sconyers fell to prayer. Prayer for the families, victims, and the nation.

She was not aware “Little Max” was on the second plane until she was called out of class and given the news. She was in disbelief.

“The footage of the plane crashing into the second tower that is played over and over again brings chills every time I see it,” Sconyers said. “I still have questions about what he experienced as it was happening, ‘Was he hurt?’ ‘Was he scared?’ ‘Did he know what was about to happen?’ I do know this -- some were able to call loved ones. He did not.”

For Sconyers, it was a day that is hard to comprehend. Living through a nightmare over a thousand miles away, but so close to home.

“Even with so much death and devastation and destruction and heartache and horror and fear, I saw the nation come together,” Sconyers said.

Like several families who lost loved ones on this tragic day, the Hammond’s are a true example of heartache that simply won’t heal.

“He was an amazing person,” Sconyers said.

Now, two decades later, the loved ones he leaves behind endure flashbacks of that chilling day. They say, “‘Little Max’ died a hero.”

“Little Max” was a Georgia Tech and UCLA graduate. He earned his doctorate in Physics and worked for MITRE Corporation, who works across the government to tackle challenges for the safety, stability and well-being of the nation. Sconyers said “Little Max” wanted to make the world a better place and make others happy.

“I talked to his sister last night, and we talked a lot about the kind of person Little Max was and how everybody that he was around, they wanted to be like him,” Sconyers said.

“Brilliant,” “humble,” and “kind.” The legacy “Little Max” left behind is one of service.

“He just wanted to help,” Sconyers said. “He just wanted to figure things out so he could help, whether it was to help companies, help people. He was just all about helping others and giving to other people...I think that his friends and family have tried to carry that on.”

“Little Max” was the son of the late Carl Max Hammond, Senior and Sue Motley Hammond. They’re from Geneva.

The city will honor “Little Max” and all the victims who lost their lives that tragic day at the city’s 4th annual 9/11 ceremony on the 20th anniversary. The Ceremony will be held at 9:00 a.m. at Robert A. Fowler Memorial Park, “The Junction.”

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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