Not a lot of people know of this place, tucked in a quiet corner of the Jacobi Medical Center campus. It’s so quiet here, Sallie Lynch gets lost in her thoughts.
‘Thomas O’Hagan and Timothy Sullivan, those are both firefighters,” said Lynch.
She recognizes some of the names on the two plaques honoring the men and women who lived or worked in the Bronx, and who died on Sept. 11. While she never met them, she has worked for the past two decades for Tuesday's Children, an organization that ensures surviving children and families have the mental and emotional support they need.
What You Need To Know
- Tuesday’s Children got its start offering support to the 3, 051 children who lost a parent on 9/11
- The organizations’s mission has grown to include global victims of terrorism
- Families can count on mental and emotional support, especially as the anniversary of the attacks approaches
“Early on a lot of the 9/11 kids were young, the average age was 8 on 9/11 and there were over 100 that were in the womb when 9/11 happened. So our programs were addressing some of their early childhood needs, working with parents to alleviate their fears,” said Lyncah, who serves as the organization's senior program and development consultant.
Tuesday’s Children got its start offering support to the 3,051 children who lost a parent in the terrorist attack but has grown its mission to include global victims of terrorism, those impacted by mass shootings and Gold Star military families in the U.S. Lynch says though the scope of their work has changed; the 9/11 families tend to reach out for help during this time of year—especially as the 20th anniversary of the tragedy gets closer.
Olivia Vilardi-Perez, who took part in the program after losing her dad Tony, says she knows the feeling.
“August is one of the hardest months of the year for us because 20 years ago, we still had our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, whoever it was that we lost. Twenty years ago we had them,” Vilardi-Perez said.
“And this 20th anniversary is laced with something we haven't experienced before. These past 18 months have been very hard on everyone, but it’s been very hard on the 9/11 community too. There have been a lot of parallels drawn to the COVID pandemic and we have a lot of secondary losses in our community. One in five of our families have now lost somebody to COVID,” said Lynch.
They both will be taking time to reflect on those who they lost that day.
“All he wanted was to make people laugh and that’s the dad that I remember," said Vilardi-Perez.
They say 9/11 proves New Yorkers are resilient.
“New York will come back. New York is already coming back. New York is tough. And I think, if anything, the 9/11 community shows that,” added Lynch.
Vilardi-Perez is holding onto memories of her dad, including this shirt she got from his IT job in the north tower. With the help of Tuesday’s Children and support of her loved ones, she is focusing on the future.
“We are all linked by this terrible tragedy and we want to make some progress," Vilardi-Perez said. "We want to remember our lives but not necessarily wallow in it.”