As a thirteen year old girl, Francesca DeVito had no idea the heartache that September 11, 2001, would bring. On this 20th Anniversary of 9/11, we as a nation pause to reflect on that horrific day. But for Francesca it is yet another year to relive the childhood loss of her father, police Lieutenant Robert Cirri, who died saving others when the North Tower collapsed.
I have known Francesca for a few years and I knew part of her story, but I didn’t know it all. I didn’t know her father defied orders and went back in to save a trapped woman. I didn’t know that she spent years blaming God for taking her father, and I didn’t know that her last words to her father were “I hate you,” because he had grounded her. I had to know how she got past that and where she is with all of this today, twenty years later at 33.
This is her story!
If you can’t commit to watching the video right now I get it but there is one important thing I had to know. Maybe you have even found yourself wondering the same thing. I asked Francesca if people remembering 9/11 and celebrating the anniversaries was painful because it forced her to relive the worst event of her life or was it healing because her dad and his sacrifice was not forgotten?
A little of both. Not many people lose a parent the way I did. Not many people, when your dad passes away in a car accident or cancer, has it replayed every year on TV. It’s legitimate emotional torture.
I don’t turn the TV on that day, but I try to use it as a time to honor him. I try to turn it into a positive like he always would.
If his story, especially in the climate of the world with how some people view police officers, if I could give a humanized version of what’s really behind the badge and bring people closer to Jesus, if I can use my pain for a purpose that unites people and bring people closer together, I think that’s the best way I can honor him.