On Wednesday, members of the Port Authority came together to discuss their experiences and remembered the heroes of that fateful day.
The original Newark airport administration building was the hub of activity when operations began in 1935. It was then known has Newark Metropolitan Airport before its name was eventually changed to Newark Liberty International Airport.
The "Liberty" was added in honor of the victims of 9/11. Officials recently placed a steel remnant that was salvaged from the southwest corner of the South Tower in its forever resting place: the 9/11 Memorial Courtyard in front of the original building.
It's where Steven Quatt-Rochi and his son Phillp took a quiet pause Wednesday. Quatt-Rochi is a survivor of the South Tower attack.
"I never thought I'd never have kids but luckily after 9/11 I survived and was able to," Quatt-Rochi said. "Now we have four wonderful boys and it's been just so much fun."
His 17-year-old son Phillip won an award for an essay he wrote on thriving and resilience in the decades after the attack that happened before he was born.
"It's taught me resilience and it's helped me overcome a lot of challenges in my life," Phillip said.
Several essay writers received awards Wednesday and were all touched by the book "Reclaiming the Sky" by Tom Murphy. He gathered stories from airline and Port Authority workers who stoically had to keep their wits about them and respond to the crisis as hijacked planes gripped our hearts in death, injury and fear.
"We move forward by doing for others, and so that became the theme of the book," Murphy said.
Giovanna DiBernardo was 12 years old during 9/11.
"I kept on going into the city three days after 9/11, I continued going in every day and that's what I do here," DiBernardo said.
She now works for Alaska Airlines and is also an essay winner.
And Christopher Matteo is a student at Farmingdale State College. He too read "Reclaiming the Sky," wrote an essay and switched his major to aviation. He was only 1 on 9/11.
"And I really would like to work for the NTSB, investigating different accidents in aviation," Matteo said.
Twenty years later, the heroics from that day are pressing others forward to remember and soar.
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