September 11, 2001, was a big day for Alex Bortz. She lived on the Upper Westside in New York City and it was her first day of high school. She was sitting in her second-period class that morning when her teacher arrived late with news that would change her life forever. The World Trade Center had been hit by an airplane. Her father, Victor Wald, had recently started a job on the 86th floor of the WTC, and was making his way down the stairwell in the north tower when the building collapsed. His body was found that Thanksgiving, and Alex and her family buried him on what would have been his 50th birthday. He was one of an estimated 3,000 people killed on 9/11.
"I want people to know that those numbers, the 3,000, are all associated with people. That's why I like to talk about my dad because it gives you somebody to think about when you think about those attacks," Alex said. "I hear people kind of brush off 9/11 or make jokes about it, and I don't know if they would do that if they really understood the human cost of it." Learn more about Alex’s life after losing her father, what he meant to her, and how she honors him to this day as we reflect on this 20th Anniversary of 9/11.
Hear how Alex's father still plays a big role in her life: