The Pentagon 9/11 memorial (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

While thousands of the relatives to those lost in the attack mourn, the tragedy is not theirs alone. Instead, it became a tragedy for the whole country. People clamor to remember an event they experienced only on television. Politicans have used it as a battering ram. Millenials mark it as the defining moment of their generation. Somewhere in the shuffle are the people who actually lost someone that day.

“Public attention to the most personal of tragedies is inescapable, incessant, and unnerving,” science writer David Kroll said on Twitter.

Amid all the memorials and tributes and recollections, one group has been toiling since 2005 to give the story back to the ones who lost the most that day. So far, StoryCorps has recorded 1,193 Sept. 11 stories that tell the tales of 583 individual victims. Three of the stories have been turned into short animations.

A cartoon does not seem, at first glance, the best medium for a story about death and loss. The personal recollections are devastating to hear — people sharing the most personal tragedies of their lives — yet they are also immaculately respectful. And, somehow, even hopeful. The wide-eyed caricticures offering up a smile with the pain:

Always a Family:

John and Joe:

She Was the One