LOWER MANHATTAN (PIX11) – Nearly 22 years since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, many of those who lost loved ones on that terrible day arrived at the 9/11 memorial in Lower Manhattan to remember and grieve.
“I want to be where he passed away,” Christina Serafin, the mother of FDNY firefighter Robert Evans, who died on 9/11, told PIX11 News. “Where he died. That’s New York City, where I was born and he was born.”
Serafin, 86, and her daughter Jeannie Evans go to the 9/11 memorial on the eve of Sept. 11 every year to reflect on all the lives lost. They remember first and foremost their son and brother from Engine 33 on Great Jones Street in the Village. Evans, 36, died a hero while trying to save others.
“It’s going to be a busy day,” Jeannie Evans told PIX11 News. “We’ve become a new family. Friends of ours have had babies and now they’re graduating from college.”
Some people will not be attending the Monday morning ceremonies at ground zero but will attend FDNY ceremonies, like Joanne Barbara.
“Sept. 11 is every day for us,” said Barbara, who lost her husband on 9/11. “It doesn’t go away. You learn to live with it.”
Barbara’s husband Jerry, an FDNY assistant chief of department, rushed to the burning Twin Towers to save others on 9/11. His five grandchildren, whom he never met, know that Papa Jerry died a hero.
“It’s difficult to go to the memorial because other families are suffering and in so much pain,” she added.
Those who were first responders the day after, like Joe Hurley, a then-deputy chief in the Bayonne Fire Department, also go to the memorial year after year.
“Because it’s something I will never forget,” Hurley told PIX11 News. “And I hope others will never forget.”