September 11, 2015 marks 14 years since the terrible destruction the world witnessed at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania. No one could possibly soon forget the horrific tragedy that 9/11 was; over 3,000 people lost their lives at the World Trade Center alone, including first responders who were going into a scene while people were running away. However, for around 13,000 teens, 9/11 marks their 14th birthday, and many celebrate it in a unique way.
Parents were well aware of the heartbreaking tragedy that was unfolding while they were trying to bring new lives into the world, and some admit that they could have easily been more than a bit worried at the time. Tammy Tomlinson went into labor September 10, but by the time 12:23 p.m. on September 11 rolled around, she was cuddling her firstborn son Jake and embracing the excitement of new motherhood.
“I just had a beautiful baby and was more excited about that than worrying about, oh gosh, what did I do, bringing this child into a world like this?” she said in an interview.
Some are marking the occasion with acknowledgement that these teens do hold a special place in history, while others accuse the media of taking advantage of the tragic day in order to score website hits or sell newspapers.
More than 13,000 babies born 9/11/01 are sassy teenagers. Think on that. One will ring the NYSE opening bell to promote the day of service.
— Mary Dixon (@MaryLDixon) September 11, 2015
"9/11 Babies Turn 14"? Yeah… some news outlets just might be milking 9/11 a little bit. Time to move on.
— Fiona Black (@Princess__Fiona) September 11, 2015
Regardless of society’s perception, teens born on 9/11 are choosing to do good on the day that holds so many terrible memories. Jake Tomlinson, for instance, could not attend 9/11 Day today in Manhattan, but will be going to a homecoming football game and plans on baking cookies and brownies to honour volunteer firefighters in Bemus Point, New York.
Hillary O’Neill of Norwalk, Connecticut was born at 2:55 p.m. on 9/11, and her mother Heather said she could not help but question how she could have been able to give birth on a day that ended up in such tragedy for so many.
“I thought, ‘What am I doing bringing a baby in the world this day?'” she admitted.
Glenn Winuk, an attorney who died on 9/11, is being honored by his brother Jay and David Paine with MyGoodDeed.org – a website that has now been transformed into 911day.org. Jay Winuk said he wanted his brother’s memory to stand for something positive, and Hillary is being featured in a video designed to reach out to the thousands of teens born on 9/11.
Hillary said in an interview that she thinks of her birth date as a gift.
“Being born on that day made me realize you really need to enjoy the little things and make good out of what you have because there is so much awful that could happen at anytime,” she said, adding that she feels that she shares a kinship of sorts with those that perished on 9/11.
“I feel like I have the spirit of all the souls who were lost that day,” she said, “and me and the other kids born that day carry on their spirit and soul as a reminder.”
[Photo by Martin H. Simon-Pool/Getty Images]