StoryCorps is a independent non-profit organization founded in 2003 with a mission to “provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.” Over 30,000 interviews from 60,000 participants have been collected by way of fixed and mobile story recording booths and later preserved for posterity and study by future oral historians at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
Of those 30,000 interviews, a choice few get animated. For the 10th anniversary of 9/11, StoryCorps selected three poignant stories to bring to commiserable cartoon life.
There’s the story of Jon Vigiano Sr., a retired New York City firefighter whose two sons followed him into service and whose two sons both were killed on September 11, 2001 after responding to a call from the World Trade Center. And the one about Richie Pecorell and Karen Juday, who were engaged when Juday, who worked as an administrative assistant at the WTC, died in the terrorist attacks. And the one about Michael Trinidad, who “called his ex-wife, Monique Ferrer, from the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower to say goodbye.”
Maybe it’s because we’re not used to seeing cartoons depict things so sad, or maybe it’s that these stories are told with the voices of the people that actually lived them and aren’t intercut with emotionally indulgent voiceover from local or national broadcast news reporters, or maybe it’s simply the subject matter, but these animated StoryCorps are particularly moving. If you watch any more 9/11 memorial videos, these should be them.