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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America Recovers: Dreaded Duty

Aired September 27, 2001 - 06:48   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Some of the families of those missing and presumed dead have begun the difficult task of filing for death certificates for their loved ones. This is a critical and it's an important process, because that certificate allows relatives to claim paychecks and life insurance benefits and gain access to checking accounts, and of course, there are the bills to pay.

CNN's Bill Hemmer was there when the first families arrived to perform the duty that they were dreading.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As they trickled into the Family Assistance Center, one person said today was the single, hardest day of their life.

Warren Fidel (ph) would not disagree. He lost his daughter and a good part of his heart.

WARREN FIDEL (ph), FATHER OF VICTIM: Just emptiness, emptiness. How else can I say it? I have two boys and a girl, and my youngest was my girl, and she's gone.

HEMMER: Some say they came to start the painful process of closure, emotionally and legally. Still others refused to believe all hope is lost. Luis Perez (ph) still prays for his sister and a miracle.

We also ran into Matt Seleto (ph). He lost his oldest son, but through the pain, he says, has now found peace.

MATT SELETO (ph), FATHER OF VICTIM: I'd love to get his body back to bring it home and put it there. But, yes, I think we can pretty much say that. The best we can hope for is to find the body.

HEMMER: For three days, there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of Warren Fidels (ph) and Matt Seletos (ph) slowing walking toward a new and lonelier life.

Bill Hemmer, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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