CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Interview with Pat, James Racanelli; Frankie, Jerry D'Amadeo
Aired September 11, 2002 - 11:48 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, we are going to go to Gary Tuchman, who was one of our first correspondents to get to that area a year ago. He has had time to spend with some of the families there today, trying to reflect with them, and Gary, I'm just wondering if you could share a little bit of what you have experienced so far today.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, we will be able to do it firsthand, because the fact is, while people all over the world watch this ceremony, this ceremony was especially designed for the family members, those who lost loved ones in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
With us right now is one of those family members, or four of the members of a family. This is Pat Racanelli. Pat lost her brother, Vinnie D'Amadeo. The two children -- the smallest kids right here, this is 8-year-old Frankie D'Amadeo, this is 11-year-old Jerry. They lost their dad. And this is James Racanelli, who lost his uncle -- I want to ask you, Pat, did this give you comfort being here today?
PAT RACANELLI, VICTIM'S SISTER: It did give me comfort. My brother died alone, he was with none of his family. We are a very close family, and I told him that evening, I said, Vinnie, you were all by yourself, and all year long that haunted me. So I said I'm coming here, and I did. And I was scared to, very scared to, because I loved him very much. When I got down into the pit, I felt him. I really did.
TUCHMAN: Tell me how you felt him.
P. RACANELLI: He loved working for Cantor Fitzgerald. He loved the World Trade Center. He has been down here 18 years. I felt his joy, I felt his love of life. His boys were with me. They were talking about their dad -- they used to come visit him all the time here. It was very, very comforting. I felt he was with me in a very special way, and I'm thankful for today.
TUCHMAN: And I want to talk to these boys for a second. Jerry, you are 11 years old, in sixth grade. Has sixth grade been tough for you this year without your dad?
JERRY D'AMADEO, VICTIM'S SON: Yes.
TUCHMAN: Tell me what kind of dad your dad was. I bet you he was a great guy, right?
J. D'AMADEO: Yes. TUCHMAN: Tell me why he was such a great guy.
J. D'AMADEO: He always played sports with us.
TUCHMAN: What sports do you play?
J. D'AMADEO: Basketball, soccer, baseball, football.
TUCHMAN: You must miss him a whole lot.
J. D'AMADEO: Yes.
TUCHMAN: Let me talk to your little brother. This is Frankie. Frankie is in third grade, he just started third grade the other day, right?
F. D'AMADEO: Like three days ago.
TUCHMAN: Tell me what kind of guy your dad was.
F. D'AMADEO: A nice one.
TUCHMAN: Why was he so nice to you?
F. D'AMADEO: He used to buy me lots of stuff.
TUCHMAN: See, that's what makes a nice dad. It must be hard for you right now. You have your brothers, you have your mom at home, you have your aunt and your uncle, right? What would you say to your dad if you could talk to your dad right now?
F. D'AMADEO: I love him.
TUCHMAN: And you miss him, right?
F. D'AMADEO: Yes.
TUCHMAN: And I think that's the most important message you could give him.
Before we go, let's talk to the elder statesman of the youth group here. This is James. He was your uncle. What kind of uncle was your dad -- uncle?
J. RACANELLI: Uncle Vinnie was great. You know, he always took us to Yankee games, he was always there when you needed him. He was just -- he was the greatest person, he would do anything for anybody at any time, and it is hard without him, because as my mother said, it was such a close family, and now that he is gone, it is hard to just move on without him. But I mean -- we see him in his four boys. And -- it brings me comfort when I see them, because I see Uncle Vinnie in them.
TUCHMAN: And you were telling me that just last month, they found the remains of your brother.
P. RACANELLI: Yes.
TUCHMAN: Did you have a funeral?
P. RACANELLI: Yes, we did. We had a mass -- we had a memorial service back in October, and we had mass, full church, everybody came to the mass. It was a beautiful tribute to my brother at church. It was very hard, because that put the reality -- that was reality when we buried him. So, it has been a tough month for all of us. A very tough month, as well as a very hard year.
TUCHMAN: I'm very grateful that you talked to us on CNN.
P. RACANELLI: I thank you.
TUCHMAN: We wish you all the best.
One thing we want to mention about, this is a lifetime of heartache for family members who lost loved ones in the World Trade Center. We hope today's service provides some comfort for people who did end up coming here today -- Paula, back to you.
ZAHN: Gary, I had the opportunity to spend some time with a couple of the families last week who actually ventured out to the Statue of Liberty to look back on the city and remember family members they had lost, and the one thing they said to me was that they didn't think the rest of America really understood that there was no such thing as closure, that their pain is not fleeting, that they endure it around the clock. I'm just wondering -- hang on one second.
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