NPR : Tell Me More

Sept. 11 Birthdays ... Symbols Of Hope

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All week, Tell Me More is observing the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks with the series "Where Were You?"

On Sept. 11, 2001, a small group of Muslim extremists hijacked passenger jets from major U.S. airports and flew them into landmarks. In New York City, it was the World Trade Center. In Washington, D.C., it was the Pentagon. Another hijacked plane was forced down in a field in Shanksville, Pa., a tiny village now standing for the enormous sacrifice brave passengers made to wrest the plane from the hijackers.

Colleagues and listeners are recalling that day. Some were among key responders who played critical roles in the aftermath of the attacks. Some were bystanders who mourned in the wake of the attacks.

And yet amid the extraordinary grief of the tragedy was the joy of new life. Christine Naman gave birth to a son and later chronicled the optimism she wishes for him in the books Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11, and Faces of Hope 10 Years Later: Babies Born on 9/11.


CHRISTINE NAMAN: When people think of 9/11, nine times out of 10, it is the end of innocent life that comes to mind. But when I look at my son Trevor — like the other moms in my books who gave birth on that day — I think of new life, new beginnings and more than anything, I think of hope. It's probably hard to imagine, for most, what a paradox the date September 11th is to me: a day of contradictions but one that forever lives in my heart.

Months ago, as the kids approached their 10th birthdays, I wondered where they were now and what they thought of the world in which they live. I reached out to the families again, and then, instead of relying solely on parents, I asked the kids. And their contributions tell the story that makes up my second book. Through their colorful and spirited drawings, we can see the very things I prayed for: what they saw most in our country was hope.

Sometimes we feel guilty for celebrating a day that carries so much weight, and we all know that a certain responsibility goes with having a 9/11 birthday. We want our kids to understand what went on in our country on that fateful day, yet be comfortable in their skins and just be kids.

It's my intention to make sure that my son Trevor's birthday is a happy and joyous occasion. At the same time, it's important that he has proper respect for the victims of that day. Truly, for him and the other kids in the book, being born on 9/11 makes them a part of history.

The world is very tuned in to the positive message the children share in my books, and that makes me feel good.

When I look at the baby pictures of these amazing kids in the book, and now the wide-eyed grins they all wear, I see the future. I see faces of hope.

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