Children of 9/11 Victims Paying Tribute to the Heroic Fathers They Never Got to Meet

by Michael Freeman

An upcoming documentary focuses on children whose fathers died on 9/11 before they were even born. Titled Rebuilding Hope: The Children of 9/11, these now teenagers talk about the troubles and triumphs they’ve endured. PEOPLE documented their journey for nearly two decades and interviewed some of the teenagers.

Gabriel Dick, now 19, reflects on never knowing his father. “I have no tangible memories of my dad, so there’s nothing concrete. I can’t grieve him the way my mother does. She can recall memories. For me, it’s not so much a missing feeling, as a longing. I have questions and ideas. But I don’t ask what-if questions. There’s no answer.”

Ariel Jacobs, Gabriel’s father, attended a meeting in Tower One of the World Trade Center on 9/11. Crews were only able to recover his briefcase, but six days later, Gabriel was born to his widow, Jenna Jacobs.

Ronald Milam Jr., another teenager whose father tragically died that day, puts a positive spin on things. “It’s pretty cool if people see us as signs of hope. We’re just being ourselves.” Army Major Ronald Milam Sr. died when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.

Ronald goes on to say though 9/11 affected him and his family greatly, it doesn’t define him and pushes him to move forward.

“9/11, it’s a part of me — it’s something that happened to me and my family but it does not define what I can be. I’m my dad’s legacy, but I feel like I’m my own person as well. He built his legacy, and I think it’s time for me to build mine.”

Rebuilding Hope: The Children of 9/11 is produced by Talos Films in association with PEOPLE and will stream on the Magnolia app and Discovery+ beginning on September 7.

Retired Flight Attendant Pushes Drinking Cart Over 200 Miles To Honor Fallen Colleagues From 9/11

Paul Veneto is a former flight attendant, one who sadly lost many friends and colleagues on 9/11. However, he devised a way to honor his peers of United Flight 175, which involves walking with a drink cart from Boston to ground zero in New York City.

“I turned my life around to be able to recognize these guys who were never recognized,” Veneto declared as he prepared to begin his 200-mile walk. “We all can tell this country and the world that these crew members were heroes on 9/11.”

Beginning his journey on August 21 at Boston’s Logan Airport, he hopes to reach ground zero by September 10. To serve as inspiration, Veneto decorated his drink cart with photographs of the United Flight 175 crew.

“I look on top of this cart, I see these crew members’ faces. Every time my legs hurt, it’s cold, rainy, they’re smiling back at me. The pain goes away.”

Dubbed Paulie’s Push, those interested in his endeavor can donate. Most of the funds raised will go to helping families of Veneto’s United Flight 175 colleagues.