Many families impacted by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are still dealing with a heavy burden 20 years later.
Samaria Braman; her husband, Chris, and their three daughters were among those affected.
“9/11 was a really difficult day for us,” Samaria recalled. “It’s followed us for the last 20 years.”
The day a plane struck the Pentagon, she waited hours to hear from Chris, who was working inside as an Army Ranger. He was badly injured.
“He was diagnosed with chemical pneumonia and later on with RATS — restrictive airway disease,” Samaria said. He still struggles with PTSD.
She took on the responsibility as his caretaker, as well as raising their girls.
They eventually heard about the Army Emergency Relief, which provided help along the way and put the girls through college.
“It took such a weight off our shoulders. I don’t think that they would’ve done so well and just focused,” Samaria Braman said.
Their oldest daughter recently graduated nursing school; their second-oldest is pursuing her master’s at Georgetown University, and the youngest recently earned a bachelor’s degree and is beginning work on her master’s.
Raymond Mason, a retired Army lieutenant general and the director of Army Emergency Relief, said the group has provided nearly $4 million in scholarships for families affected by Sept. 11.
“Some goodness came out of this,” he said. “College education is one of the tough things people save for. This just warms your heart.”
Samaria Braman said her family is grateful for the support.
“It was just such a burden lifted off my husband and I,” she said. “I thank everybody; my family thanks everybody.”