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9/11: Letter to a Loved One

September 7th, 2011

Charlotte, Jeffrey, and Maggie Smith. Photo reprinted courtesy of Tuesday's Children and The Penguin Group


9/11 Perspectives: Letter To a Loved One

September 8, 2011 — This is the final post in the HTE series “9/11 Perspectives” reflecting on ten years after the attacks. As with all HTE’s 9/11 posts, please have an adult review this material for appropriateness.

Approximately 3,000 children lost a parent in the 9/11 attacks. The average age of these children at the time was 9 years old.What follows is a letter written for the tenth anniversary of 9/11 by two brave sisters, 12-year old Maggie Smith and 10-year old Charlotte Smith, who lost their father, Jeffrey Smith, that day. Mr. Smith worked on the 104th floor in one of the towers. He was thirty-six years old.

Dear Dad,

What is it like having a dad? We wouldn’t know the experience, unfortunately, because you were killed when we were so young. Our ages were two and a half and ten months old. How could that have happened to two little children? You were only our dad for a short while. It’s still hard to believe that you haven’t been here the whole time. You missed birthdays, soccer games and even just ordinary dinners every night. Mom tries to play the roles of two parents, but it’s just not the same. What’s it like having two parents?

Having a loss is a big deal. It can ruin lives, but that’s not what happened because mom saved us.  She wanted to make sure that the terrorists didn’t ruin our lives, and she made it completely safe for us. Our lives could be full of sorrow, and we could have stopped talking about you, but it’s not like that at all. We talk about you every day; you are a part of our lives. We know how you would think and act; at least we think we do. Our lives aren’t full of sorrow, but rather full of joy. Joy for the life you lived, not sorrow for the life you are missing.

Now we’re ten and twelve. When we grow up, our goals are to become an artist/soccer player and an actress/dancer. We are trying as hard as we can to be the girls you wanted us to be, to do the things you and Mom were planning to do with us as a family.

We know you were the best dad possible. We remember that you let us help you put your tie on in the morning.  You carried us up mountains in New England and into cathedral domes in Europe, and you took us to baseball games in NYC. We watched the Miami Hurricanes play football and ate barbeque wings. Life with you couldn’t have been any better.

We are fortunate people in a very unfortunate way, and we know you would be proud of us. “It’s all good,” we say, and we “hang tuff.”

Knowing that you would be proud of us helps us out a lot. It keeps us happy. The best dad on earth is proud of us. He is proudly watching over us.

Missing you; loving you —

xoxo, Maggie and Charlotte

This letter is originally printed in The Legacy Letters: Messages of Life and Hope from 9/11 Family Members . It was collected by Tuesday’s Children and edited by Brian Curtis. Here There Everywhere — News for Kids has posted this letter with special permission from Tuesday’s Children and Penguin Group Publishing. I thank them for allowing me to share this very special letter with you. The letter (or any excerpts) may not be reprinted or posted elsewhere, in any form, from without you receiving permission directly from them.

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14 Comments on “9/11: Letter to a Loved One”

  • Keenan says:

    Beautifully written, your father was a wonderful man and uncle, live on in his memory and remember, I’m here for you whenever you need it. Rest in peace Uncle Jeff. God Bless.

    • Claudia says:

      Dear Keenan, thank you for your comment. I agree, it is beautifully written. This letter will always stay with me and I feel privileged to have been given permission to share it with other children. These are two incredible girls.
      Claudia, Founder, Here There Everywhere News for Kids

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