If My Dad Were Still Here

Article excerpt

Byline: Max Giaccone

I was 10 years old on 9/11, when the towers fell and I lost my father. Here's what Osama bin Laden's death means to me.

I was in the fifth grade when it happened. I had just arrived at school. My teacher picked up the phone in our classroom, and I could tell something wasn't right. He hung up and told me to go to the office. My mom was there, hysterically crying. That was 10 years ago, but I still remember her face. She said someone had flown a plane into the World Trade Center and we hadn't heard anything from Dad. By the time we got home, Tower Two had just fallen.

My dad worked on the 103rd floor of the first tower. He was the director of global infrastructure at Cantor Fitzgerald. The day before he died, I remember, we had a really good night. He was quoting from the Pink Panther movies that we used to watch and chasing me around the house. Then he had to pick up my sister from somewhere, so I went to bed. That was the last time I ever saw him.

It took me awhile to accept he was gone. It was all so surreal. At 10 years old you don't understand that much. My mom said the thing she'll never forget was when, about two weeks after the towers fell, she finally came to me and said we're going to start preparations for a memorial service. I told her, "Absolutely not. I know where Dad is: he's walking home." She said that broke her heart.

After Dad died, I kind of started latching onto things. Baseball was my thing, because it was one of the sports my dad and I did together. He coached me from when I was little. He came home from work -every day to see me play. After 9/11, my mom begged the coach not to hesitate to let me play. I was back playing a few days later. That helped tremendously.

I also latched onto music. That was one of my dad's other passions. His favorite band was Yes, and my parents grew up listening to them, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin. I started a band with my friends last year, and I write a decent number of songs. Writing has helped. I have a tattoo on my back of my dad holding me as an infant, and another on my forearm that says "Sowing Season," which is the name of a song by the band Brand New. …