Stories of September 11, 2001 Victims written by their Families
by Maureen Crethan Santora
My third book, We Remember, is a special keepsake. When I decided to begin the project asking family members to write about their loved ones as they were growing up, I wanted to make sure that the families understood how important this legacy would be to future generations. It was a difficult request to ask parents and siblings to write about their sons and daughters and brothers and sisters. Putting into words what was important brought myriad emotions. I was aware that wounds would be opened, but I also knew that when the story was written all who participated would be glad that they had made the effort.
The people who died on September 11, 2001 were like every other kid growing up. They had friends who they played with every day after school. They were parts of families who loved them and sometimes had to reprimand them if they did something wrong. Some were funny. Some loved school. Others did not. All grew up and became adults and many worked in their “dream” job. Students need to learn about them not because they were special but because they were just like them. They had dreams. They had failures. They were loved unconditionally by their families. They needed to be remembered in a special way. They became successful because of their trials and errors.
I wrote to the various family organizations and asked that they pass along my letter of invitation to become an author in this special book of remembrance. As the stories came in I cried and laughed and smiled and noticed how similar all the victims were to each other. It amazed me. Each had unique qualities but all shared so many traits. None of the victims knew each other. Yet, they could all have been friends. I was so impressed with each story that I read them over and over. I felt honored to “know” these people through their families’ eyes.
All of the authors decided immediately that we would not profit from the sale of this book. We decided to donate all the profits to a special organization which had dedicated itself to helping the rescue workers who were now so terribly ill because they stood up and did the right thing and worked at Ground Zero to help with the recovery and the rescue. To date over 900 people who worked at Ground Zero have died. We decided to try to help. The organization we chose was the NYC Firefighter Brotherhood Foundation. Kenny Specht, a firefighter who was diagnosed with cancer because of his work at Ground Zero, was the leader. Each book that is sold helps this organization. We hope that our We Remember book is in every library in the USA. On the next page, you can learn a bit more about this wonderful organization.
All of us who were part of We Remember were pleased to do this. This the legacy of our dear children. This is how they will be remembered. We hope you get a chance to read some of the stories. They are powerful and most importantly, they are written with love.