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Children who lost parents in 9/11 attacks share how their love — and grief — live on

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A year after 9/11, a group of Long Island schoolkids whose mom or dad died in the World Trade Center gathered to tell The Post their stories. They reunited on the 3rd, 5th and 10th anniversaries. Now, 20 years after the terror attacks, we catch up with some of these parents, homeowners and professionals who continue to grapple with their loss and to honor their parents’ legacies.

Jacquelyn Hobbs

The horror of September 11 confronts Jackie Hobbs whenever she arrives at her Manhattan workplace.

“My office is right next to the World Trade Center,” said Jackie, 32, an associate media director at an ad agency whose headquarters overlooks the void where the North Tower once stood. Her father Thomas Hobbs, 41, worked on the building’s 105th floor as a broker for Cantor Fitzgerald.

Unanticipated glimpses of the 9/11 Memorial Plaza from a conference room or a colleague’s office have sometimes left her reeling.

“It’s like — oh! I wasn’t expecting that,” she said. “I’ve needed to take a step back, take a breath.”

But over time, the plaza became a place of solace.

“On days when I’m really stressed, that’s where I walk,” she explained. “It reminds me that life is precious. It puts everything into perspective.”

The three Hobbs siblings all live in Long Island and remain close. Steven, now 30, is an attorney; David, 28, recently founded a business-services firm. Jackie and her husband Anthony bought a home of their own last year in Bellmore, a few miles from her mother’s house.

“My mom’s been seeing someone for years,” she said — a man who stepped up to fill a crucial role at Jackie’s November 2019 wedding reception.

“He danced with me at my wedding,” she recalled. “It was nice. But not the same.”

(Second from back row) Lyndsay Herold, 10 , Ashley Herold, 13, Lauren Erker, 13 Center row) Steven Hobbs, 11, Jacqueline Hobbs, 13 and Drew Erker, 10. (Front) David Hobbs, 9.
This 2002 photo shows children who lost their parents on Sept. 11, 2001: (Back row) Chris Wieman, 13, Jennifer Herold, 17, Tommy Gies, 19, Bobby Gies 15, Ronnie Gies, 17. (Second from back row) Lyndsay Herold, 10, Ashley Herold, 13, Lauren Erker, 13. (Center row) Steven Hobbs, 11, Jacqueline Hobbs, 13, Drew Erker, 10. (Front) David Hobbs, 9.
New York Post

Jennifer and Ashley Herold

“Pop-Pop was a hero. He helped people get out of the tower when bad men crashed the planes.”

That’s how Jennifer Herold explains 9/11 and their grandfather’s death to her three young children. Gary Herold, 44, a risk management supervisor at Aon Corp., worked on the 98th floor of the South Tower.

Jennifer Herold tells her children Lucas, 6, Ashlyn, 5, and Declan, 3 about their grandfather Gary's heroics on September 11, 2001.
Jennifer Herold tells her children Lucas, 6, Ashlyn, 5, and Declan, 3 about their grandfather Gary’s heroics on Sept. 11, 2001.
Tamara Beckwith

Soon after the attacks, a co-worker called the family. “She said my dad walked her to the stairwell, gave her a hug and said, ‘I’m going to go back and make sure everyone else is out.’”

Jennifer, now 36, has overcome her anger that dad didn’t escape when he could.

“In the beginning, it made me very mad. But as the years went on, I realized he wouldn’t have it any other way. He wouldn’t run away. He would have tried to save someone.”

Her father never met his grandkids — Lucas, 6, Ashlyn, 5, and Declan, 3. They lovingly hug his gravestone on visits to St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale, L.I., where Herold raised Jennifer, Ashley and Lyndsey — ages 16, 13 and 9 on 9/11. “When it came to us kids, he was so funny and had such a big heart,” Ashley said.

He also gave life lessons that molded them. In the 7th grade, when her dad took Ashley to school, a girl with pink hair walked by. “I expected him to laugh and make fun of her. Instead, he said, ‘She’s trying to be who she wants to be, and doesn’t care what anybody else thinks. That’s how you should be.’” Six years ago, the sisters and their mom, Angela, all moved to Florida.

Inspired by a high-school staffer who helped her get through the trauma of 9/11, Jennifer became a guidance counselor. Ashley, 33, became a teacher, recently taking a job in West Virginia. Lyndsey, 29, who had the shortest time with her dad, works in a restaurant and still struggles with grief.

But the sisters keep their dad’s legacy alive. Five years ago, they launched the Gary Herold Memorial Scholarship in Spring Hill, Fla., raising funds to give out $1,000 and $500 to teens who write the best essays on “why it is important to never forget 9/11.”

“Students also have to demonstrate selflessness and generosity, the characteristics my father embodied,” Jennifer said.

This photo taken in 2011 shows children who lost their parents on September 11, 2001: (Back row) Chris Weiman, Jennifer Herold, Tommy Gies, Bobby Gies, Ronnie Gies (Second from back) Lyndsey Herold, Ashley Herold, Lauren Erker. (Center row) Steven Hobbs, Jacqueline Hobbs, Drew Erker (Front row) David Hobbs.
This photo taken in 2011 shows children who lost their parents on Sept. 11, 2001: (Back row) Chris Weiman, Jennifer Herold, Tommy Gies, Bobby Gies, Ronnie Gies. (Second from back) Lyndsey Herold, Ashley Herold, Lauren Erker. (Center row) Steven Hobbs, Jacqueline Hobbs, Drew Erker. (Front row) David Hobbs.
Tamara Beckwith

Chris Wieman

“They tell me I can take the day off,” Chris Wieman said of the anniversary of the terror attack that killed his mother, Mary Lenz Wieman, 43, a marketing executive at Aon Corp.

“But it’s just better if I work,” the 32-year-old said. “It’s better to keep my mind going.”

Chris has formed a “tight family” of colleagues at Greek Xpress, a Long Island-based restaurant chain. He spends six days a week at its Great Neck store, where he takes great pride in his work and doesn’t have to retell his family’s 9/11 experience.

“The owner knows my story,” he said. “The people here know my story. Everyone’s there for each other.”

The sudden loss of his mother at age 12 haunts him. “It just never leaves you,” Chris said. “You still remember where you were, what period in school you were in … you remember that moment, and the day after, as if it was yesterday.”

Healing “has been a process, year after year,” he said. “Especially when my dad got remarried” in 2009, adding two step-siblings to the family.“That was a process for me and my sisters” — Alison, 29, an attorney who announced her engagement this year, and Mary Julia, 27, a physical therapist in Boston. “Now everyone’s close as can be.”

“Mom would be happy that everyone’s working hard and doing the right thing,” Chris said. “I just know it in my heart.”


Follow our 9/11 20th Anniversary coverage here:


Lauren Erker

August is the cruelest month for Lauren Erker.

“His birthday is Aug. 7, so I remember that every year,” she said, speaking of her father Erwin Erker, 41, a vice president at Marsh & McLennan.

“And then everything about 9/11 starts,” she said. “You turn on the TV, it’s there. You turn on social media, it’s there.

“You don’t want people to forget,” she said. “But for everybody that was directly affected by it, we’re reliving it over and over, every year.”

After attending college in Rhode Island, Lauren settled in the Ocean State. She works in marketing for a major mortgage lender – a handy connection when it came time to buy a home of her own.

“I still don’t understand mortgages, but the marketing side of it I got down,” she joked.

Her cherished townhouse adjoins a 130-acre nature preserve, perfect for the athletic, outdoorsy 32-year-old. Her brother Andrew, 29, a supervisor at a large sporting-goods store, recently got a place of his own in Long Island.

Lauren, who was 12 when her father died, clings to memories of traveling with him on his meticulously planned family vacations. “My dad was all about us,” she said, tearing up.

“My mom’s my rock, and I had a lot of amazing men in my life — uncles and family friends who stepped up,” she said. “But nothing replaces Dad.”

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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