Two decades is a lifetime for 9/11 babies.
Two young women have their identities tied to the nation’s most tragic day. Amy Hargrave’s father T.J. worked on the 105th floor of the North Tower. She was four years old. Claudia Szurkowski’s dad — a contractor — was placed on a last-minute job wallpapering the very same office where Amy’s dad worked. The job was supposed to end at 9 A.M. The first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center 14 minutes before 9.
Both girls — forced to remember their fathers through other people’s eyes — through stories and information they have no experience with themselves.
They grew up in the shadow of tragedy — in very different ways. Amy’s family stayed in the tri-state area — along with her mom and two sisters in a small town in New Jersey where everyone knew her name, and her story.
Claudia has a different reality. Her family moved to Fort Myers, Florida when she was 8.
Claudia says some classmates would taunt her — saying 9/11 wasn’t real. That her family‘s painful story wasn’t real. It’s one of grief and guilt — specifically from her mom — who rushed outside that sunny morning to hand her father his ID to get into the World Trade Center, after he forgot it.
But when it comes to teaching other people about their pain, Claudia and Amy know that no matter how difficult the details, sharing their family’s darkest moments with the world is necessary. Without speaking up, their stories — and the ones of their beloved fathers — will fade.