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Children of 9/11 Firefighter Honor the Hero They Never Knew

by Melanie Bencosme /

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Looking at his shiny, new driver's license, Declan Halloran remembers the people who helped him practice for the big road test — his brothers and his mom. But he also thinks about who wasn’t there, his dad.

“There’s milestones in a boy’s life where their father would’ve been around to watch or celebrate,” said Declan. “It just became the normal.”

Declan was 2 years old when he lost his firefighter father, Lt. Vincent Halloran, in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Vincent Halloran left behind five children and a pregnant wife. Phelan Halloran, now entering her first year in high school, was born after her father died.

Related: Full coverage of the 9/11 anniversary

“I hear all of these stories that I’m like him, but I never got to have any memories,” said Phelan Halloran.

"Elementary school, they introduced this new thing: A father-daughter dance for fourth and fifth grade," she said. "Fourth grade year, I didn't go. Mostly because, 'Oh, yeah, I don't have a dad.'

The next year, Phelan asked one of her older brothers to stand in and take her to the dance. With an ice cream bar and dancing, Phelan had a great time.

“Up until that point there was an empty hole," she said, "and I just realized that it doesn’t have to be empty anymore.”

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