When Boston College graduate Natalie Metz looks back on her early childhood in Connecticut, she remembers her father being the outdoorsy type, so she learned to ski and rollerblade at a young age.
But there was also the girl-dad aspect of Raymond Metz, which meant he was very willing to play dolls with his two daughters.
Unfortunately, aside from a few personal videos and photos, this is mostly what remains of Natalie’s memories of her father.
Twenty years ago, Raymond Metz was killed in the September 11 attacks; he worked at Euro Brokers. Natalie was only 7 years old when her father passed away; his sister was four years younger.
Now the 20th anniversary is about to come, and thousands of people are preparing to remember those who were lost on that tragic day.
Recently, Natalie’s sister began to digitize family films from their childhood.
âThere was a lot of videography going on in my house, normally filmed by him,â said Natalie, now 27.
But sometimes the cameraman puts the camera down, and Raymond Metz appears on video, frozen in time.
Although he worked in New York, Raymond Metz was an avid Boston sports fan, something he would be teased by others. While Natalie has said she isn’t such a devoted fan, she has her father’s 1997 Patriots jersey on.
In the years since the attacks, Natalie, her mother and sister lived with the aftermath of what the day swept away. As children, the siblings lit their Connecticut hometown Christmas tree a season in his honor.
On the 10th anniversary of the attacks, Natalie and her family traveled to Ground Zero to see the memorial that had been built.
When she reached adulthood, Natalie chased her dreams. She graduated from Boston College with a degree in International Studies and now works in Belfast, Ireland for a charity that gives advice and helps older people with construction services.
There is a parallel between the lives of Natalie’s parents and that of her and her sister. While Natalie began her college career at College of the Holy Cross, she ended up transferring to Boston College, her mother’s alma mater, between her freshman and sophomore years.
âMy parents, one went to BU, the other to BC,â she said. “And me and my sister, I went to BC and my sister went to BU.”
Natalie attributes her educational opportunities to where she is today, and part of that was made possible by the Families of Freedom Fund, which offers scholarships to students who have had someone killed in the attacks that day or who have suffered loss since due to illnesses some of them suffered that day. Almost 3,800 students have received $ 178.7 million in scholarships over the years. There are still 3,000 students who need help.
âMy mom told me about the scholarship when I first applied to colleges,â Natalie said. âIt wasn’t the solution for me, we would have found another way to do it, butâ¦ the peace of mind of knowing it was an option was really great. “
Also being a transfer student, Natalie was grateful that the scholarship, which paid part of her tuition, followed her to her new school.
âWhen I was looking to make a change, I knew I would always have this wherever I ended up,â she said.
Thinking back to the day itself, Natalie said she didn’t remember much. Her mother also worked in New York City and she remembers being picked up from school by a friend’s mother.
Nowadays, when the anniversary looms every year, she tries to keep it low-key and “get through the day,” she said.
Despite her loss, Natalie acknowledges that the scholarship program has helped her achieve her educational goals. With her adjustments and change of mind, the fund was there to help support her.
âI love where I am now, and a lot of things wouldn’t have happened otherwise,â she said.
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