20 Years Later: Meet the Children Who Were Born After Their Fathers Died on 9/11

Told through the lens of four families PEOPLE has followed for nearly 20 years, Rebuilding Hope: The Children of 9/11 will stream on the Magnolia Network beginning Sept. 7

The children of 9/11 never knew their fathers, and yet in the face of unthinkable loss, they have shown us how life — and hope — carries on.

Beginning on Sept. 7, the Magnolia Network will be streaming Rebuilding Hope: The Children of 9/11, a documentary chronicling the past two decades of four children, now 19 years old, who were born after their fathers died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The film, produced by Talos Films in association with PEOPLE, is told through the lens of the four families PEOPLE has covered for nearly 20 years.

Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning director Ellen Goosenberg Kent made the film, which follows the children as they near adulthood, leading up to the 20th anniversary this year.

"I find that I'm constantly reminding myself of the balance between grieving, but still moving on and moving forward," says Nicole Gartenberg Pila in the film's trailer.

She and her younger sister Jamie, 19, lost their father, Jim Gartenberg, who was killed in Tower 1.

RELATED VIDEO: Former Flight Attendant to Honor Late 9/11 Colleagues by Pushing Beverage Cart from Boston to NYC

The children not only share stories of their fathers' bravery, but also reflect on how they've found hope for the future and inspiration in the fathers they never met.

"I'd definitely like to follow in his footsteps, and leave an impact on people in a good way," says Ronald Milam, Jr. whose father, Army Maj. Ronald Milam, was killed at the Pentagon.

"What happened to my dad," says Alexa Smagala, whose father was firefighter Stan Smagala, "made me who I am today — and I want people to know that."

Rebuilding Hope: The Children of 9/11
Magnolia Network

The film is executive produced by Julian P. Hobbs and Elli Hakami for Talos Films and Liz McNeil, Cynthia Sanz and Dan Wakeford for PEOPLE.

Rebuilding Hope: The Children of 9/11 will debut on Magnolia Network on Tuesday, Sept. 7, streaming exclusively on discovery+ and the Magnolia app.

Related Articles