9/11 Anniversary: The Children Of The Victims

From the Los Angeles Times:
The children of 9/11 are growing up.

Fifteen years after that cataclysmic day in 2001, the infants of the time — or those still then in their mothers’ wombs — are high school age. Then-toddlers are nearing or even starting college. The tweens of 2001 are young adults, and their elder siblings are marking life’s milestones: marrying, notching career achievements. Having children of their own.

In the arc of childhood, time bends in strange ways. The Sept. 11 attacks are part of history now. But for young people who lost a parent that day, the pain is ever present.

The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people — aboard four hijacked airliners, at the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon. Those people left behind 3,051 children under the age of 18, by the count of survivors’ groups. That day marked these youngsters’ entry into a cohort of bereavement, an exclusive club that, as more than one of them observed, no one would ever, ever wish to join.

“You don’t want to be that kid, the one everyone knows about,” said Francesca Picerno, who had just turned 9 when the towers fell, and is now an aspiring musician. Her dad, Matthew Picerno, 44, worked as a municipal bond broker at Cantor Fitzgerald, on the 104th floor of the north tower. He left the family home in Holmdel, N.J., that morning, and never came back. [...]

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