Youngest children of 9/11 victims now becoming adults
NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - There is a generation that either never met or was too young to remember the parents and grandparents they lost on 9/11.
Daniella Giammona, 19, speaks of her father with pride. Lt. Vincent "Vinny" Giammona of Ladder 5, an 18 year FDNY veteran and father of four, was taken on September 11, 2001. Dani was only 2-years-old.
"It's a rough day, but we're all going through the same thing. so it's easier to understand everyone's emotions that day," Giammona says.
As with most 9/11 families, Dani, her mom Teresa, and her sisters marked the anniversary with sobering yet very fond memories.
"When Sept. 11 comes I don't really think of it as a big tragic day. I just think about it as my dad's birthday, because it was his 40th birthday on Sept. 11. So I kinda focus on that part of it because he would want us to have fun on his birthday. He would want us to go out and celebrate his life. So that's what we do, so that's how I think of the day," Giammona says.
Josephine "Jo-Jo" Smith followed her late father's footsteps when she joined the FDNY in 2012. She wanted to honor the man she lovingly calls her inspiration, Firefighter Kevin Smith of Hazmat Co. 1, one of the first crews to rush into the World Trade Center towers.
"I've always wanted to be a firefighter my whole life. Growing up and then after 9/11 I really wanted to push and make sure that I got on and follow in his footsteps and carry on his legacy," Smith says.
She has memories of her dad.
"Quiet. He was a very quiet man. Absolutely smart. Generous. He was the kind of guy that would wake up at 3 in the morning for you if you needed him," Smith said.
Helping the families heal is the organization "Answer the Call", also known as the New York Police and Fire Widow's and Children's Benefit Fund.
Executive Director Lauren Profeta says the mission is unwavering.
"I think it's important because we make a promise as a community as a city to say never forget and it's important to keep your promises. These families have gone through the unimaginable because their loved ones were there to keep us safe. And so the least we can do is be there for them and let them know they will never be alone," Profeta says.
This includes fundraisers and other events to foster bonds of support among 9/11 families.