Message from Robert Pycior, 9/11 and Gold Star Family Member
My father, Joseph J. Pycior, Jr., was killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks while working in the Naval Command Center at the Pentagon. He was due to retire from the military and had completed his bachelor’s degree in the hopes of working as an educator.
To lose my father when I was only 8 is something no one could have prepared me to handle. Being so involved with Boy Scouts, our church, and within the military community, he was an inspiration to me, and everyone that knew and loved him. As a family man, he made sure to fill our weekends with fun and culture, with trips to historic sites and areas of nature, and I hope to continue that legacy with my own family.
September 11th has become a defining moment of the last 21 years and continues to impact families and communities. I am so proud that Tuesday’s Children has grown with the 9/11 families and has adapted as the children impacted that day have grown into adults. As one of those children, my involvement with Tuesday’s Children’s programs and events continues to grow, both as a family member as well as a social worker and advocate.
Tuesday’s Children is one of only a few organizations that are still providing vital services to 9/11 families and continues to expand its service population to help those in need of long-term healing. They share their knowledge and assist others to overcome the same hurdles by providing meaningful connections with peers. I am grateful for their programs, and I embrace their mission in my own career as a school social worker, especially at a time when trauma and grief are top of mind after two years of the pandemic and with mass shootings plaguing our society.
Through Tuesday’s Children, I have been able to give back to others impacted by grief and tragedy, share my story of not just loss but growth, and they have allowed me to be a voice for the 9/11 community and others impacted by terrorism and trauma. I have had incredible opportunities, such as speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, addressing dignitaries and member states on the needs of victims of terrorism.
Creating meaningful relationships with peers with whom I have a common bond has greatly helped with the personal grief of losing my dad. They also inspired me to be involved as a chaperone for participants during Take Our Children to Work Day, and I’ve connected with other 9/11 children and family members in workshops, peer support programs, and family engagement events. I have met people from across the globe through Project COMMON BOND and have forged lifelong friendships with others who have a shared experience of loss. While our cultures, beliefs and backgrounds may be vastly different, we feel the same pain.
Most recently, I became a founding member of Tuesday’s Children’s Survivors of Tragedy Outreach Program (STOP), which has brought me together with others impacted by mass violence and extremism. We are drawing from our combined experiences to inform response efforts for the growing number of communities facing trauma and loss at home and abroad. I hope that, by sharing my story, I can inspire others or at least show them that they are not alone and that there is hope.
Please consider joining me in supporting this wonderful organization. Your generosity will aid a legacy of growth and resilience and helps me honor my father’s legacy. I recently welcomed my first child, and I hope that should the need arise, she will have access to the programs that have helped me to grow into the man I am today. Visit here to make a donation.