Remembering September 11, 2001 usually brings with it moments of unspeakable horror. Feelings of deep sadness, anger and fear surge through every American. The shining beacons of hope from that awful day are the children.
Many were born in the months following September 11th. They never got to know their father; having grown up only hearing stories and memories of them – but never truly experiencing those special times. Other children, who were older and did know their fathers, have grieved the loss even deeper.
On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, these children are reaching the age when they begin to understand how they are now part of our country’s history and how their fathers will live on in the hearts of every American.
Some of these children are now able to tell their own stories. They are filled with grief, hope and determination. I would like to honor them and those loved ones lost by sharing a few of their stories.
Lauren and Briana Grazioso were frantically emailing their father after hearing the news of the planes crashing into the towers. Tim Grazioso worked in the north tower of the World Trade Center. The twins are now college graduates and hope to join their father’s company. Think of how wonderful that compliment is to their dad’s company, stating that is where they want to work.
Gabriel Jacobs Dick, age 9, releases balloons every 9/11 with messages for Dad – giving him an update on how life is going and how he is thought of and remembered each and every day.
Alexa Smagla lost her father when Tower 2 collapsed. He was a firefighter who walked into the Tower ignoring personal risk to his own safety. Alexa said of her father: “When I see the people running from the building that day, I know my dad was telling them to get out. I know it was his job, but I wish sometimes he wasn’t so brave.”
How easy it would have been for these children to spend their childhoods angry over the loss of their father or mother. They could have ended up frustrated and resentful. Instead they love their dads and are proud of their actions that day. They have embraced their father’s legacy.
The children of 9/11 are the hope and example of inspiration the rest of the world should follow. As we pay respect to the lives of the almost 3000 Americans lost on September 11, 2001, we need to remember the children left behind.