9/10/11, "Children of 9/11: Life with a parent missing," Newsday, Carol Polsky (subscription)
"Nearly 3,000 children under the age of 18 lost a parent on Sept 11. The average age was 9. A total of 108 were born in the months after their fathers died.
Amy Mastrocinque was 15, her brother Peter only 11 when their dad, Kings Park resident Rudolph Mastrocinque of Marsh & McLennan was killed. And Sean Jordan of Westhampton was born two weeks after the death of his father, firefighter Andrew Jordan. He turns 10 on Sept. 26. Sean is one of those who knows his father only through family stories, and the public pain and heroism of a cataclysmic historic event. Here are their stories.
As Sean Jordan stood before the photographs of the burning World Trade Center towers at the Sept. 11 exhibit at the Newseum in Washington D.C., he overheard kids ask their mother why there was a picture of an airplane. They obviously didn't know that two jets had plowed into the towers, Sean thought.
Their queries revealed how little they knew about the attacks that killed Sean's father two weeks before he was born.
"He got really upset, with tears in his eyes," recalled his mother, Lisa Jordan. "I told him, 'Not everyone was affected by 9/11, you have to understand.' That these kids didn't know about it, that's almost a whole world to a kid."
Sean will become 10 years old 15 days after Sept. 11. He lives with his mother, brothers, Andrew, 19, Matthew, 15 and sister, Kelsey, 13 in Westhampton, in a house with a backyard pool, a puppy they're raising for a service dog organization and the sports gear, games and clutter of active childhoods. But something is missing.
"I was asking my mom, 'Where's my dad?' Pretty much everyone I know has a dad," Sean said recently."...
His father, Andrew Brian Jordan, was a New York City firefighter, 36 years old when he died with five others from Brooklyn's Ladder Company 132. His body was never recovered. The family commemorates every Sept. 11 with firefighters from his company....
This summer was the fourth -- and last -- year he attended a week of summer camp for children who lost parents on 9/11. America's Camp is ending its annual event after a decade, saying most of the children are getting too old. Sean mourns its loss: There, for a week, he could forget about how 9/11 makes him feel different.
"Out here, I feel left out and different. Just because everybody just says to me, 'Oh, that's the kid whose dad died in 9/11.' It just hurts me. I want people to remember me for who I am, and not just for what happened to my family's history."...
Last spring, Sean decided he needed to do something to make sure that kids like those at the Washington museum don't forget: He went before his school board in Westhampton Beach to ask that there be moments of silence on Sept. 11 and on Dec. 7,
- And the board complied.
"I just told them these moments were horrible for our country and I think we should honor them in a respectful way," he recalled.
"I didn't want to wait until I was in my final years in school, because if I waited, basically,
- no one will remember it then.""