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13 years after 9/11, a new generation shows what ‘Never Forget’ means

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NEW YORK (PIX11) -- The ceremony marking the thirteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks featured memorable indications of the passage of time. Interestingly, those indications came both from participants for whom time had not yet begun on September 1, 2001, and from victims' relatives who remember that day all too well.

"I miss you," said one of the last readers in the ceremony that lasted three hours and fourteen minutes, to his fallen brother. "It's been a long 13 years."

So long, that many of the other readers -- all of them family members -- were children, and many of them were children younger than 13, born after 9/11.

"I never got the chance to meet you," said an elementary school age reader to the uncle he lost, "but you'll always be in our hearts."

"And my grandfather," said another grade school age name reader, in a dedication, "Wall Street's gentleman."

Meanwhile, many of the adult name readers talked about how their lost loved ones' lives had carried on and grown, in spite of them having passed away.

"Your daughter was born eight months after 9/11," one reader said in his dedication to his uncle who was killed that day.

"Your name and legacy endure in my son," a reader said in a dedication to his brother. "He's not only your namesake, but your mirror image."

One of the readers, Steven Bram, brother-in-law of Brian J. Murphy, who lost his life in the attacks, told PIX11 that one thing has remained the same at the 9/11 ceremonies, even after thirteen years.

"You feel like you're connecting to the person's soul when you're up there. It's really powerful," he said.

But, as other family members pointed out, there's been a change in the number of people on hand to experience the spiritual connection Bram described.

"It seems less and less," said one of two cousins of Jenine Gonzalez, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee who was a week shy of her 28th birthday when her life was taken. "That's just my thought, my perception," she said about shrinking numbers of participants year after year, to which another of her cousins replied, "No, it's not. That's not your perception. It's reality."

Another change is that there were more hints of lightheartedness in the otherwise solemn ceremony.

"My father, Victor Wald, Daddy, I know you would love to be with me in two weeks to see Jeter's last game," one of the readers said, "but I'll be there for the both of us."

"I pay tribute to you," said one reader about her deceased sister, "by wearing your godawful green Converses today with the tacky yellow shoelaces."

The humorous tributes offered more insight into the lives of the lost. However, thirteen years on, it is still evident that there is pain -- even among those too young to remember the terror attacks.

"I wish that you were here with us. I wish I had more memories of you," a young teenage reader said as she wept deeply over the loss of her godfather.