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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – For the families of those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks, remembering the fallen isn’t a once a year event. It’s every day.
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reports, Kerri Kiefer-Viverito lost her brother. At the Viverito home, there’s a tribute of flags in red, white and blue to the fallen heroes of 9/11.
“My brother’s flag is the one with the yellow ribbon,” Kerri said.
Her brother is Michael Kiefer, just 25 when he ran into the south tower, and never came out.
“The pain of losing him is hard,” Kerri said. “And it’s real… but I’m blessed and honored – he is a hero not just to me, but to everyone.”
Michael’s family is just one among the thousands who are now marking two decades since one of the most wrenching moments in American history.
Complete Coverage: 9/11 Twenty Years Later
“Twenty years, one year, ten years, it’s all as still raw as that day. We never recovered my brother, so the pain is still raw,” Kerri said. “Twenty years is just another day to us.”
“For the victims, and the victims’ families, it’s an anniversary every day,” said Ashley Bisman.
Ashley lost her father Jeffrey Goldflam, the CFO of Cantor Fitzgerald, when she was just 16.
“Its been 20 years since I hugged my dad. Twenty years since he’s given me a kiss,” she said. “And that’s something I’ll never have again. And to think the last time I had it was 20 years ago is horrific.”
This year, family members are once again gathering at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza, for a ritual of love and loss: The reading of the names.
There are six moments of silence acknowledging when the towers were struck and fell, and the time of the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93.
“I can’t believe it’s 20 years later now,” said former firefighter and 9/11 survivor Tim Brown.
Brown says on that day the U.S. faced evil head on, but wrote a new chapter in American fortitude.
“And we met it with great love and great courage and great bravery, and we saw the greatest of humanity,” Brown said.
A new generation will only remember 9/11 as history, and Ashley Bisman decided to write some of it, sharing in a book how she navigated life after losing her father as a teenager.
“I think every day is bittersweet because I am so lucky to have a beautiful life with a husband, and children, and we built a great home together. But it will always be missing my dad, my husband missing his father-in-law, and my children missing their grandpa,” Ashley said.
For those who have lost, there is not just a burden to carry, but a message to send. So Kerri Kiefer-Viverito will keep her patriotic display waving in the wind, so the youngest won’t forget, and will forever honor, what they did that day.
“Just to be able to say FDNY firefighter Michael Kiefer is my brother is such an honor,” Kerri said.
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