"I believe he’s up there, helping me with my success," said one daughter, whose father died just TWO days before she was born
On the fateful day of 11 September 2001, thousands watched, dumbstruck and horrified, as the twin towers of the World Trade Centre went up in flames. Many of their viewers were women with unborn babies in their wombs, who knew their husbands were in the building. And in a matter of hours, these women became widows and over 100 unborn children lost their parent in one of the world's most horrific attacks.
18 years on! Remember watching this on the news at school when this happened! Unbelievable to witness! Innocent lives taken whilst getting on with their daily routines #911 #911Day #911remembered pic.twitter.com/d5ep9j4vCd— Dan (@DanL_AVFC) September 11, 2019
These widows raised their 9/11 babies, many of whom were told stories of the fathers they could never meet.
Jenna Jacobs, who gave birth to her son, Gabriel, six days after his father died during the 9/11 attack, told People, "These children are what comes after 9/11. They are the joy, the salve, the ointment. They’re the love."
Now, almost two decades later, the memories of their parents are still kept alive.
"I believe he’s up there, helping me with my success," said Allison Lee, whose father, Dan was a passenger in the American Airlines Flight 11 that never reached its destination. Two days later, Allison was born to her mother Kellie Lee.
Allison, who also has an older sister, believes that her father is rooting for her from wherever he is. According to the New York Post, she said, "I know he’d be telling me, 'You’ve got this. Don’t give up on your dream.'"
With a locket carrying her father's picture around her neck, Lauren McIntyre missed out on growing up with a father but is extremely proud of him for running into one of the towers to save people stuck inside. Her father, Donald McIntyre was a Port Authority police officer.
Back when she was just 14, she said, "I could only imagine how much courage someone could have to go into a situation like that. He didn’t have to go in. He did anyway. It’s beyond amazing."
Remember & honor the heroes and victims by pledging to do a good deed for someone this 9/11 Day. Pack an extra snack or bottle of water to hand to a homeless person, buy a stranger lunch, return someone’s cart at the store. Any good deed counts! #911Day #NeverForget #Freedom pic.twitter.com/tFQ5eZcTqd— Major Mike Lee (@HCSOPatrol) September 11, 2019
There are times when Lauren misses her dad, and she said, "I usually hold his necklace and I’ll say stuff and I know he’s listening. I’ll just talk and hope he hears me."
Lauren McIntyre, Whose Dad Died Rescuing People in the World Trade Center on 9/11: 'I Still Wear His Badge Number... pic.twitter.com/MHkZjy0MyA— Angela L. Kennedy (@alk3125) September 17, 2016
Insurance executive, Robert, got his colleagues to safety before his own death. And about seven weeks later, his daughter, Robyn Higley was born.
"I know his death was not in vain," she told ABC News when she was 14. "He's a hero ... that's all I can say, he's a hero. He's my hero."
She added, "I wish I could grieve. I was too young to grieve, I didn't know what was happening, and now that I'm older and I'm starting to realize it, I am now going through the grieving process."
Joseph Reina's mother, Lisa still felt like she was dreaming, hoping that her husband, Joe would somehow manage to come back home. On September 11, 2001, Joe was working on the 101st floor of the north tower and lost his life days before his son's birth on October 4.
Lisa believes that Joe's presence has always been with their son. "When Joseph was a baby, he would look up at the ceiling and just smile," Lisa said. "I would always say, 'Do you see Daddy?'"
To honor those who perished in New York, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania on 9/11, we now recognize #911Day as a national #DayOfService and remembrance.— Peace Corps (@PeaceCorps) September 11, 2019
Through acts of service, kindness and remembrance, we pay tribute to those who were lost or injured that day. 🇺🇸 🌎 pic.twitter.com/CRQnIYQ27u
Joseph is on the autism spectrum and hasn't been told about how his father died. But 18 years later, his mother still catches him looking up and smiling. Like the many families who were torn apart by the incident, Lisa's family was, too. She said, "I wanted to crawl up in a ball and cry, but I couldn’t because I was thrown into that mother-father role automatically."
During the attack, Jacqueline Milam and Ronald Milam Sr. were working on opposite ends of the building, the former was an Air Force captain and the latter was an Army major.
“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.” ~ Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in 2002 #911Anniversary #911Memorial #NeverForget #911day pic.twitter.com/75dS7Jf5wb— Lori Lite (@StressFreeKids) September 10, 2019
Jacqueline was five months pregnant at the time and managed to make it out of the building but her husband never did. "All I saw was smoke and chaos," she said. "I thought, ‘If anybody’s gonna get out, [it’s] Ronald.’ I waited and waited and waited and it never happened."
With Ronald Milam Jr. inside her, Jacqueline came out alive and gave birth to her son months later.
All grown up now, Ronald Milam Jr. plays basketball just like his father used to. "I wish I could have played with him but now I play for him," said Ronald Jr. "I feel like my dad is watching me. Every move I make, he’s here."
He also honors his father in a special way and said, "I wear number 33 because that’s the age my dad was when he was killed on 9/11. When I’m wearing that number, it’s for him."