Tuesday's Children

How The Children Of 9/11 Victims Deal With Their Loss

Of all the things we've heard about 9/11 among the most troubling is this — about 3,000 children lost a parent that day. Their average age was nine years old. With the fifth anniversary, 60 Minutes wondered what has become of this 9/11 generation.

What correspondent Scott Pelley discovered is that, for many of them, it has been a bewildering, painful time. For some it feels like its still September 12th. To help them move forward, a group called "Tuesday's Children" has organized counseling, mentoring, summer trips to shepherd the children who lost a parent all the way through college.

Two of Tuesday's children are Bridget Fisher and Brielle Saracini, best friends who never would have met had Brielle's dad not been a captain for United Airlines and Bridget's dad a security specialist at the World Trade Center.

"I was in school at lunch. And, I got pulled into the guidance counselor's office," Bridget remembers. "And immediately he reached for the tissue box and handed it to me. And, I remember thinking, 'Why are you giving this to me? My dad's fine. I don't understand. My dad, my dad will be fine.'"

Bridget's dad, John Fisher, had left the World Trade Center before the attack but ran back when he heard the explosion. Fisher helped direct the evacuation from the command center. As he went in, Pilot Victor Saracini's hijacked Boeing 767 was zeroing in on the second tower. Saracini's daughter, Brielle, was 10 when her mother came to pick her up at school.

"She took me aside and she was, like, 'Dad's hurt.' And I was, like, 'Oh okay,' just thinking nothing of it and she's, like, 'He's really hurt. I don't think we're ever going to see him again,'" Brielle recalls.

Victor Saracini left behind two daughters. John Fisher was the father of seven, Bridget's brothers and sisters.

"After it happened, I stayed up with them and I comforted them. There were so many that my mom couldn't take care of us all, so I helped her with that," Bridget explains.

"I was more the strong one, I couldn't let my family see me cry. It was weird, I went to school the next day, um, and people were shocked to see me there," Brielle remembers. "I tried to be normal but I secretly hoped, months after I still hoped maybe he just couldn't remember where he lived or he was just in the hospital recovering, but, I eventually, five years from now, realize that he's just not coming back, and that's difficult but you just gotta move on."

How far has the 9/11 generation moved on? To find out, 60 Minutes went with Tuesday's Children on a summer trip to Costa Rica. The kids told Pelley they like to be together because they understand each other — there's no pity or awkward conversation because they're all coming from the same place.

A group of children volunteered to talk to 60 Minutes even though the questions would be hard to answer and—frankly hard to ask. Pelley found 9/11 is still present even in kids eager to move on.

"After 9/11, I used to hate everybody around me. And just - I was so mad," recalls Erik Abrahamson. "I used to hate just everyone, how they looked at me, just everything."

"I always thought my dad would like be there for me like forever," says Marina Wang. "But, it's kinda, like, you know."

Asked how she is different today, Marina says, "It's just that, you know the people who did this, they don't know that like you can't destroy love no matter what you do."

"You can't destroy love," Pelley remarks.

"Yeah," Marina replies, crying.