9/11 20th anniversary: Man who lost pregnant wife in terror attack left 'with scars for life'

For the first time since 2003, a man who lost his pregnant wife in the 9/11 terror attack in the United States, has said he will travel to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania on its 20th anniversary.

Jack Grandcolas said: "This anniversary is big because it's 20 years, but every year it's a gut punch."

"There's no question. We'll live with the scars the rest of our lives. There's chapters of closure, but the first few years going back to the memorial was important to be there, to be at the site. But it was extremely difficult and and hard to take."

"And for my own health, I decided I would not return for the memorial anniversary until it was completed. Ironically, it's completed and it's the 20th anniversary. They coincide and I will go back this year," he added.

Lauren Grandcolas was on Flight 93 which crashed in a field in Pennsylvania during an attempt by the passengers and crew to regain control of the plane after it was hijacked by four al-Qaeda terrorists.

All 44 people on board were killed.

'We'll live with the scars the rest of our lives', widower who lost his pregnant wife during 9/11 says

Almost 3,000 people died in the terrorist attacks in 2001 when al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four planes, crashing two of them into the World Trade Centre in New York, a third into the Pentagon outside Washington and a fourth near Shanksville in Pennsylvania.

Ms Grandcolas, who was 38-years-old and an advertising sales consultant, was returning home to San Rafael, California after attending her grandmother's funeral in New Jersey.

From the passenger cabin, she managed to place a call recorded on the couple's home answering machine after the aircraft had been hijacked, saying: "We're having a little problem on the plane. I'm totally fine. I love you more than anything, just know that."

A memorial plaque in Pennsylvania dedicated to Lauren Grandcolas and her unborn child. Credit: National Park Service-Flight 93 National Memorial-Grandcolas

Mr Grandcolas said he tried going to the annual memorial ceremony in Pennsylvania the first two years but found the experience too overwhelming.

Instead, he said he would do something in nature like go for a walk on the beach, which his wife loved.

Over the past 20 years, Mr Grandcolas eventually remarried and moved to Pebble Beach. He said he knows Lauren would be happy that he moved on with his life.

On the 20th anniversary, Grandcolas said he wants Americans to remember how the country came together right after 9/11 and hopes the US can overcome the current divisiveness he says is plaguing the nation.