It’s important to remember that good things can sometimes be born of tragedy, especially at a time when so many Americans are dealing with so much adversity. Storms in the South. Wildfires in the West. A nationwide opioid epidemic. And, of course, Monday was the 16th anniversary of 9/11.
On that day, Victor Saracini, 51, was the captain of United Flight 175, the airplane that hijackers directed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Inside that building, on the 84th floor, Patrick McGuire, 40, was working at Euro Brokers Inc. His plan to evacuate had been interrupted by an announcement that the situation was under control.
Each man left behind a wife and children — the Saracinis have two daughters, the McGuires have two sons and two daughters.
On Sept. 9, Victor Saracini’s youngest daughter, Brielle, and Patrick’s McGuire’s oldest son, Sean, wed in Austin, Texas, in front of a gathering that included their mothers, Ellen Saracini and Danielle McGuire. It’s the second wedding this summer for the Saracinis. Brielle’s sister, Kirsten, was married in June. Ellen Saracini said she is certain that Victor, whom she describes as a “real participating father,” would have been thrilled with their daughters’ choices.
“Victor joked that he had an application to date our daughters,” said Ellen Saracini, whom I met while she was helping create the Garden of Reflection in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to remember the victims of 9/11. “He teased about how anyone who would date his daughters first needs to fill it out and pass, in his opinion, with 100 percent. I mentioned this at both of my girls’ weddings and also told both of my sons-in-law that they didn’t have to worry, they were preapproved!”
Nevertheless, Saracini said she felt a great void not having Victor at her side, not sharing a cry and a smile or watching her husband walking his daughters down the aisle before coming to stand next to her as the girls professed their love and commitment to two “wonderful” men.
“I wondered what would be his last words to his unmarried little girls,” she said. “There are no words to truly express the multitude of emotions, but as you look at the smiles on the girls’ faces, as you feel the love of this young couple and all those attending, you cannot help but feel love in your heart, and that is what Victor and I always wanted for our girls.”
For Brielle Saracini, last Saturday was “inevitable.”
“It felt like a fairy tale — a dream wedding that was absolutely perfect, destined by fate,” she said.
And the missing fathers were never far from anyone’s thoughts.
“We had a nice moment of silence in our ceremony to recognize their presence in our relationship and in our lives,” Brielle said. “It was important for us to do so, to properly honor them and pay respects to how they raised us and shaped us. I also wanted to keep a seat open for my dad, so I placed his captain hat on a seat in the front row.”
Brielle and Sean were only 10 years old when they lost their fathers. They met as kids at Camp Better Days in New Jersey, established by Amy Callahan, who lost her fiancé on 9/11, to provide support for the children who lost a parent that day.