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The Familes of 9/11 Victims Speak

Joe Holland is upset that people are forgetting. He does not understand why people are making such a big deal about this tenth anniversary: "What happened to years 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,11,12…? For me it feels like it happened just yesterday.”

He is angered by all the political correctness and sees it as ridiculous and “insane because you can’t have a different opinion anymore":

Look at the Tea Party. What did our vice president call them, terrorists? Yet this administration does not call the Muslim extremists terrorists. Something is wrong here.

For him, Joe Holland Jr. should be remembered as a father of a baby boy who will grow up not knowing his dad, who was a great man with everything to live for.

Judy Reiss feels that every American lost some of their innocence on 9/11. She believes that the Muslim extremists “do not look on life as we do":

I don’t think a lot of people get it, or maybe they don’t want to because people want to get over the bad feelings.

Many of the memories of that day are vague except that instant when the towers fell and her husband turned to her and said calmly: “We just lost a child.”  According to her, Americans need to remember that "the victims are not a lump number, but are individuals, all loved by someone.”

She thinks about her son every day, and says it is “different when you lose a child.  You are not supposed to outlive your child.”  Her son Joshua was friendly, vivacious, outgoing, charming, and someone who loved his his job, his city, his country, and his family.

Susan Rescorla is grieving for America because America is no longer the country it once was. She was able to get through the years since 9/11 by keeping a memoir which she turned into a book, Touched by a Hero.  She had the good fortune of speaking with her husband on that day, when he called to let her know he was all right and that “if something happens to me I want you to know you made my life.” Having the philosophy "no man or woman left behind," he went back into the towers to make sure everyone in his group got out safely. Unfortunately, he died when the towers collapsed. Susan describes Rick as a warrior and a man of passion who loved people.

Jacquie Van Laere experienced the pain she felt on 9/11 every day she met with her mother who had dementia. At every visit, her mom would ask why her son, Dan, was not visiting anymore. She was told over and over again that he died rescuing co-workers at the World Trade Center, and during every visit Jacquie would see her "mom sob in despair, as though she was hearing of his death for the first time.”

She sees Americans today as complacent with short memories. She thinks many have tried to turn 9/11 into a political event. She agrees with Clare Lopez, a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, that “we must return to the principles of our Founding Fathers; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which is what has made us an exceptional people.”  Her brother Dan’s body was never found, but she believes “that as his soul left the earth a part of him has remained with my family; his humor and sensitivity.”

Maureen and Al Santora feel that this September 11 will be a particularly difficult day since “the politicians who have not cared for the past ten years will all be at the site telling the world how they remembered.” The Santoras watched the towers fall since their windows faced the WTC.  Maureen wrote three books for school age students to teach them that hatred is terrible, that each day should be treated as though it were their last, and that it is important to be vigilant and report anything that seems unusual.  Their son Christopher was one of five children, the only boy.  At age 23 he found his perfect job. He became a firefighter because he was “analytical, calm, and athletic.”

Those of us that have not directly lost loved ones cannot begin to understand the feelings of the 9/11 family members. They live with this horror each and every day, not once a year as many of us do.

Also read: "Commemorate 9/11 by Stopping Iran"