9/11 family members honor loved ones in song and in charity

By Amber Sutherland, Lia Eustachewich and Sophia Rosenbaum New York Post

Francesca Picerno, 22, wrote a song for dad Matthew, who was a Cantor Fitzgerald bond broker. Photo: Robert Miller

Francesca Picerno, 22, wrote a song for dad Matthew, who was a Cantor Fitzgerald bond broker. Photo: Robert Miller

Hundreds of thousands [sic] of family members of 9/11 victims will trickle into the memorial’s plaza Thursday for the 13th anniversary ceremony of the devastating terrorist attacks.

Their ages vary, from now-elderly parents remembering their lost children to teenagers who were just babies when their mother or father perished in the Twin Towers.

Francesca Picerno was just 9 years old when her dad, Matthew, a Cantor Fitzgerald bond broker, never made it home that September day in 2001.

Some of her favorite childhood memories include him singing Frank Sinatra, badly and off-key. And now her dad lives on through her own music.

Budding musician Picerno just released her first single on iTunes called “Turn It into Love” — a tune she penned about her dad and the emotional aftermath of losing someone on 9/11.

“[The song] says, ‘This will never define me’ and ‘Take the tragedy, all of the above, and turn it into love,’ ” said Picerno, 22, of Holmdel, NJ. “It is to all the people who experienced this kind of situation, whether it’s stress in your family or terrorism. You live through it.”

The plucky brunette and her dad were inseparable, going to Disney on Ice and to the Jersey Shore. She had a hard time coping with his death.

“My mom just told us Daddy isn’t coming home,” Picerno said. “I didn’t understand the gravity of the situation.”

Making an already difficult week even tougher is celebrating Picerno’s birthday, which falls on September 10.

These days, Picerno said, she’s on a mission to live the life her dad couldn’t.

“My father was the best guy you could ever know. I want him to know I do it all for him,” she said. “I intend to live my life to the fullest because his life was cut so short and he didn’t get to.”

Jim Giaccone, 53, holds a photo of his brother Joseph, who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald.Photo: Dennisthephotog.com

Jim Giaccone, 53, holds a photo of his brother Joseph, who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald.Photo: Dennisthephotog.com

Jim Giaccone also has a legacy to fulfill. Five years after losing his brother Joseph, who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, in the tragic attacks, Giaccone, of Bayview, LI, became like a big brother — and father figure — to brothers Nicholas and Matthew Reda, whose dad, Gregory, also died in the North Tower.

Nicholas was 2 at the time, while Matthew was just 2 months old.

Tuesday’s Children, a support group for 9/11 families and kids, paired Giaccone with the two boys.

The trio bonded instantly.

“We all have the same maturity level,” joked Giaccone, 53, who’s mentored the boys since 2007.

Also giving back to fellow 9/11 victims is Michael McPhillips, then a NY Waterway ferry captain who helped thousands evacuate from lower Manhattan, even pulling those who had jumped into the Hudson River onto his boat to safety.

“I just felt like what we did on 9/11 was expected of us,” said McPhillips. “We had to do it, we didn’t have much choice.”

Now McPhillips is a director with the FealGood Foundation, which helps ailing 9/11 first responders and victims with medical and financial assistance.

This entry was posted in Families in the News. Bookmark the permalink.
  • One World Observatory

    Learn more about the One World Observatory complimentary ticket program.

  • Categories

  • From the Newsletter

  • Upcoming Events

    1. COVID-19 testing sites in the NYC area

      October 13 @ 8:00 am - December 31 @ 5:00 pm
    2. Application period open for the LeRoy W. Homer, Jr. Foundation Scholarship

      November 1, 2020 @ 8:00 am - January 31, 2021 @ 5:00 pm
    3. Buy a beer on Mondays and support the Terry Farrell Foundation – Fort Collins, CO

      November 7 @ 11:00 am - December 31 @ 8:00 pm
    4. NYPD Officer Chris Bramwell needs a kidney urgently

      November 10 @ 8:00 am - December 31 @ 5:00 pm
    5. Warren Fire Department fundraiser for their 9/11 ceremony next year

      November 17, 2020 @ 8:00 am - January 31, 2021 @ 5:00 pm