9/11 Remembrance and Growth

As you know, HTDFO hopes to empower people to grow through any type of loss and adversity, but it was founded in memory of our father who we lost on 9/11.

As the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Hold The Door For Others is asking people to visit our blog and leave answers to the below questions in the comments for a special section on our website. Feel free to share additional thoughts and tributes as well.

Our goal is to remember and pay tribute to those lost on 9/11 by sharing our stories of our growth and hopefully help others who are struggling. Our hope is to inspire people and help them help themselves through you sharing your experience.

If you did not lose someone on 9-11, you are welcome to share your responses to any of the questions as well. We believe that we can all open doors for one another…

Who do you want to thank for their support over the last 10 years?
How have you grown since 9/11?
What are you most proud of?
What advice would you give others who face adversity?

Thank you!!

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7 Responses to 9/11 Remembrance and Growth

  1. Rachel Pignato says:

    This week will mark another group of students that will know about the sacrifice your father made to help others. I am the teacher who wrote to you a few years ago about doing a hold the door project in my class. The tradition continues again. With each passing year I get students who were so young they were in preschool and didn’t and still know nothing about that day. So every year it actually becomes more important to teach them how significant the day truly was. Thank you for the work you do to honor the memory of the victims and the family members of 9/11.

  2. Carly Fischer says:

    i didnt loose anyon on sptember 11 but it still afected me in a way that i ca not describe!!!!!! its truly amazing how everyone can be strong in the face of tragedy.watching the coverage on tv today was very emotional . to the many people weather they were in uniform or not who responded to the call of duty that day they are the heros !!!!!! they ae the people who truly mke this a wonderful place to live and we will continue to face many diffucult roads and conquer them all!!!!!!

  3. Mary says:

    When 9/11 happened I watched later in the day on TV, my heart broke & I remember sitting & crying for the pain I was seeing people go through with the loss. In Oct. of 09 I lost my son, 30 yrs old & a freak accident I watched yesterday the families & one especially brought tears again only this time I KNEW that pain as they said their son called from the second plane going for the towers, the woman said “every time they show the plane hit my son dies”.
    There are days where I imagine him falling to his death, but know he would want me to live, it is an emotional time right now because the last time I saw him before the accident was Sept.19th and the last time we spoke was on the phone when he called to tell me my youngest brother had terminal cancer on Sept. 23rd.
    Almost 2 weeks later as I was dealing with facing that my bother was dieing, on Oct.2nd my son fell from a balcony & died 2 weeks later on the 16th & less than 5 weeks later my brother died.
    And I am ashamed to admit but other peoples pain is so much more real for me because I have been there.
    I am most thankful for God getting us through our losses.
    I am most proud of his 3 little girls.
    What advice? take a breath, then another.
    I am a part of online support groups for grieving parents & it has been helpful to talk with others that KNOW my pain & now 2 years in I know God is moving forward to “be there” for other parents.3 Moms have killed themselves in the last 2 months I know what they went through and need to help others through.

  4. Chrissie Uscher says:

    I am forever grateful to Rob Fazio and his family. I lost my husband to cancer in 2003. A young vibrant and loving man, my husband, my forever, was gone, and all that was left was pain, despair, longing for a life that was not to be. Rob was the first person to reach out to me, he not only held the door for me, but he took my hand and walked with me. Becoming part of the Hold The Door Family has made me focus on what is right in front of me, that by reaching out to others it helps to fill the emptiness within me. I have learned how to live better and laugh more. I am proud to be associated with the Hold The Door For Others group, a truly stellar, compassionate and special family. I truly believe that staying connected – sharing our tears and our fears, as well as our accomplishments and joys – restores our soul, gives us hope, and as we continue to find the new meaning in our lives, life becomes worthwhile, life is good. God bless the Fazio family.

  5. Maria Ragonese, says:

    There is a young Christian Singer named Caleb who was part of the opening act for another band we went to see in State College in the spring of 2010. You could tell when he sang that the songs he wrote came straight from his heart and spirit. He spoke a little of where is inspiration came from and through his story we learned that he lost his little sister a few years ago in an unfortunate accident. At First, he was angry and couldn’t understand why this had to happen to him and his family. But as more time went by and he got some distance from the accident, his perspective began to change. Through his faith in God and the gift of music he was able to write songs about what he was feeling. He said some of it was the best and most powerful music he ever wrote. The one thing I remember most about what he said was this:
    “When you are in pain everything gets distorted. It is similar to standing too close to a picture and all the images seem to blur together and you can’t distinguish anything at all. But as you pull back and get farther away, you can clearly see the entire picture and what it represents. God can see the whole canvas from his vantage point. He knows that there is so much more then the pain.”
    I think about these words often, especially now as we approach the 10th Anniversary of the most tragic event in my life; a day that took from me the best friend I had in the world, my sister in law, Laura.

    These words say a lot about how we can gain clarity as we get some distance from our pain and how there is so much more to the picture then just that. We are almost ten years out from that terrible day and strangely enough, I can now begin to understand what Caleb means. I am not in the same place I was 10 years ago. Then, I was extremely close to the picture and all I could see up close was grief, pain, hatred and anger—those are indeed very dark colors. Everything in my life was driven by September 11, 2001. It was all consuming and in time began to back lash on me. I found solace through writing as Caleb found it in his music. Simple journaling at first turned into published essays later, as I began to reach out to others in pain to try to heal myself. I met amazing people a long the way, heard incredible stories, and saw the most amazing memorials to the victims of 9-11 rise out of the rumble, including our own labor of love: The Laura’s Angels 9-11 Memorial Garden in Northeastern , Pennsylvania; my little corner of the world.

    Ten years ago, I thought that the death of Bin Laden would help with closure. But on that day, when I heard, only two thoughts ran through my mind: It doesn’t bring anyone back and, this man being dead doesn’t make what happened on 9-11 any easier to bear. I believe that worldly justice has been served but that is not justice that brings peace to a broken heart. This evil man is now in the presence of the one true King and His judgment that will prevail forever more. Having faith in that is what brings me peace today.

    My hope is that now, as we no longer stand directly in the shadow of that infamous day, we can remember more of how our loved ones lived then how they died, more of the good that was brought out in people, rather than the evil of one. I believe that there is a reason and a purpose beyond what we can understand and I pray that our faith in ultimate good will always keep us grounded in these very turbulent times.

  6. Julianne says:

    Who do you want to thank for their support over the last 10 years?
    I would like to thank my parents, family and friends. After a tragedy like this you really start to see who your really family and friends are.

    How have you grown since 9-11? I’ve learning to appreciate life more. Never to take people for granted. Life is precious and goes by so fast.

    What are you most proud of? I’m proud of the beautiful family I created after 9/11. I’m proud of the way I handled this terrible tragedy. I know everyone expected me to fall apart and I didn’t. Somedays are harder than others but I push myself to enjoy and appreciate life everyday.

    What advice would you give to others who face adversity? My advice would be to get up each day and appreciate life to the fullest. You’ll still have good and bad days but as time goes by their will be more good days than bad. Stay positive and keep yourself surrounded by positive people.

  7. Alexandra Androulidakis says:

    Other than the fellow Americans we all lost, and some people who are friends of mine that lost family or that nearly lost their own lives on 9-11, I have not suffered a personal lose from it. However, I was just in the city the night before and had plans to be there that very night for a concert. When it happened, and showed on the news at first, it seemed like a fire. My reaction at first, was one of disappointment that “something” happened in the city and I was not sure how that would effect my concert plans. Soon after, the whole story unfolded and I learned something about myself. I never thought I had been selfish in anyway, yet my first reaction in my mnd was that of disappointment for my potentially ruined plans rather than thoughts that I hope others were ok. When the images and information came out further, I was in shock like anyone else. I had to rush to take my daughter out of elementary school because I lived on Long Island and no one knew at the time, what had happened and where else it would strike in the area. Fear was immediate and a sense of instability that I had not known moments before. Immediately the extent of harm that could happen to me, or my loved ones and fellow Americans, was greater. I had never known such fear and in many ways our society of course has never been the same.

    Who do you want to thank for their support over the last 10 years?
    I would like to thank God and I wold like to thank the Fazio Family, and their father who passed on that day, for stepping up in the face of unspeakable and previously unkown adversities. Had it not been for the strength they found to begin turning their pain around and to begin helping others in their father’s name, I would not have witnessed true positve reactions to adversity. I am thankful that their group, Hold the Door for Others, gave me a platform for which I could address some personal catastrophes which had impacted the course of my life and well-being. Mine include medical problems, domestic violence, and the fall out from those things. Still, the group that the Fazio Family began in their father’s memory touched me like nothing else could or had.

    How have you grown since 9-11?
    I believe all Americans have grown in some way by the events of that day. I am sure some more than others, or in different ways, but not one person who was alive at the time was uneffected. Not only have I grown from that day, I feel it has expanded the depth of my soul and personality. I had always been a sensitive person but connecting with the group, Hold the Door for Others, has helped me develop an empathy for others. As a special education teacher, I thought I had much empathy already. However, through the work and support of this group, I have been encouraged to push myself deeper and to experience every day of life, differently. I may not be perfect but I do know that since 9-11 I have been more deliberate with my actions and with my feelings. I am an expressive person to begin with but after 9-11 I find myself much more expressive, not holding back my feeling toward others. I find I speak up for things in which I believe more often. I suppose my prioriites have become clearer every day.

    What are you most proud of?
    It is difficult for me to be proud of myself in general. Just as I feel pride, a negative thought will follow that suggests I should not feel prideful. So it is a balancing act for me, personally. However, I will say that I am proud of the fact that I Have gone through much personal adversity as I mention above, and I fight to remain am optimistic. positive, helpful person. I am proud that I can see good in others; I am not jaded. And although it’s a challenge to talk about good I see in myself, I do know it’s there. I am aware of the good I’ve done, raising my child alone, helping children, beign a kid person in various situations. I feel comfortable that I do my best in life.

    What advice would you give to others who face adversity?
    This is a difficult question because I can not judge how others attempt to manage adversity. It is a very individualized thing. I can not express just how I made it through some difficult experience, and I can not say I did everything “right.” I can only say that if people face adversity they must fight. They must first consider themselves as they would others. In my own experience I have alwys found it easier to help other than to help myself. I suppose I would want to share with others that viewing yourself as important, not judging nor codeming yourself about the adversity, keeps one stronger. I feel at times when we struggle we may tend to questions ourselves, blame ourselves, and get frozen at times. However, I feel the sooner one reacts to adversity, as if one is saving a friend’s life, the quicker the growth and healing will ococur. In an individual’s case, the person should consider him or herself a friend. Your sould and your person is your closest friend. I’d advise people to remember that. You would not let a friend sulk for days, for instance, without some positive action. You should do the same for yourself. Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Take of yourself. Don’t fee shame. Stay Strong. 🙂

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