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11 generation finds its voice Rutgers students studied 9/11 and interviewed children who lost a parentKids who had never told their stories opened up to someone close to their ageThey described paralyzing loss and a struggle to return to normalThe stories appear in New Jersey media outlets on the 10th anniversaryNew Brunswick, New Jersey (CNN) Megan Schuster grew up with September 11. Like others of her generation, particularly kids from the suburbs that surround New York City, she learned too soon about fear and loss.At home and at school, where she was in the sixth grade, she saw adults sobbing and didn't know why she felt so scared. But 9/11 was a terrible event that happened around Schuster, not to her.She would have to wait until she was nearly grown, a junior in college, to really understand how September 11 changed lives and tested the human spirit.The lesson came through three sisters and a snapshot. Schuster still gets goose bumps when she tells their story.Taken during the summer of 1982, the image of the wiry young man on the steps is fading now. He has curly brown hair, sparkling dark eyes and a mischievous smile. He was Timothy J. to his brother and friends, "T" to Patty, the girl he'd been sweet on since grade school and later married.Hargrave was 38 and a vice president at Cantor Fitzgerald when he died at the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The company lost the most workers that day 658 and many of them left families behind in New Jersey.Read a behind the scenes take on putting together this storyWith her dark curls, Corinne, the oldest of his three girls, resembles the man in the picture. She was 10 when she found it in a box of family photos a couple of years after his death."This picture haunts Daddy," she told her mother."What do you mean?" Pat Hargrave asked. Hargrave was one of hundreds of New Jersey dads who went to work in the city on a gorgeous fall day 10 years ago and never came home. Their loss is a shared wound never far from the minds of the people who live in the bedroom communities of northern New Jersey.The three Hargrave sisters Corinne, 18, Casey 16, and Amy, 14 had never shared their story with anyone outside their close circle of friends and the families they met at America's Camp, a Massachusetts retreat for kids who lost a close family member on 9/11. But they agreed to talk to Schuster, a Rutgers University student from their prosperous hometown of Readington Township, to keep the memories of their father from fading.For the two oldest, Corinne and Casey, those memories come back in bits and pieces. Ten years later, it's hard to tell what's truly recalled and what's suggested by family stories, photos and home movies. Amy, who was just 4 when her father died, relies on her sisters for her memories.Before she met the Hargraves, Schuster spent a semester learning everything she could about the terrorist attacks as one of 20 students enrolled in The Rutgers University 9/11 Project. She and her classmates were coached on how to question people who survive traumatic experiences. They read books about September 11 and listened to speakers, including former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, who chaired the 9/11 Commission.And then they were told to find someone's story to tell. It was harder than they'd imagined. Many of the children of 9/11 were reluctant to talk about it. Some dreaded the 10th anniversary and the repeated replays of the planes, the impacts, the fireballs and the collapsing towers."It was like ripping off a Band Aid," recalls Sarah Morrison, a junior who talked to a young man whose dream of a college soccer scholarship in California vaporized when he lost his mother at 17.Jennifer Lilonsky sensed the young man she interviewed was telling her what he thought she wanted to hear. She could feel the protective presence of his mother in the next room during their first interview at his house in Marlboro. Later, when she talked to him at his dorm room in Maryland, he was more animated, even if he seemed incredibly sad.It was different at the Hargraves' house. Schuster arrived for lunch and stayed until dinner. Pat was engaged in the conversation, and the family's closeness and good humor was evident. Schuster told the sisters they could stop talking if they felt tired or emotionally upset. They never did."I got lucky," she says. Not only did the Hargrave sisters share their story without reservation, they taught her lessons in love, dignity and resilience."If I were have to have something terrible happen to me, I would want to live my life like the Hargraves did," she said. "You can pick up the pieces, and even though there are a couple of pieces missing, you can hold yourself together and not have something bad stop you from living your life. That doesn't mean you're going to forget. It's in your heart. It's not going to go away."Those are among the lingering questions of the tragedy because the stories of the children of September 11 have been so difficult to tell. Many resent the media for relentlessly bombarding them with the images of their parents' deaths. Kids who lose a parent to cancer or a car accident don't have to share it with the world, much less see it replayed over and over on television.But would they open up to another member of the 9/11 generation? The current crop of college undergraduates was in middle school when the towers fell old enough to remember, young enough to relate as peers.The Rutgers University 9/11 Project was born out of a brainstorming session by three members of the New Jersey Press Association. Why not use the association's charitable arm to fund a grant to train journalism students on narrative storytelling and compassionate interviewing techniques? They could get top journalism students at Rutgers to interview children from 9/11 families and create stories for New Jersey's media outlets to include in their anniversary coverage.