#September11: Remembering the Youngest Victims of 9/11

#September11: Remembering the Youngest Victims of 9/11

#September11: Remembering the Youngest Victims of 9/11

Bernard Curtis Brown II would be 28 years old today. He’d likely have graduated college, perhaps have married the person he loves, or be planning children of his own. But we’ll never know, because his life, and the lives of seven other precious children, were stolen from them on 9/11 by a group of radical Islamists hell bent on pushing America to her knees, at whatever the cost.

On two planes bound for various destinations including Disneyland and a scholastic convention, eight children found themselves face-to-face with an unspeakable evil. None would make it home alive. They are:

From United Airlines Flight 175:

Christine Lee Hanson, 2. She was headed for her first Disneyland visit. Christine was the youngest 9/11 victim. (Photo Credit: Love912Dance on YouTube)

David Brandhorst, 3. He was the adopted son of Daniel Brandhorst and Ronald Gamboa, and was on his way home to Los Angeles with his parents. (Photo Credit: andrejkoymasky.com)

Juliana Valentine McCourt, 4. She was also bound for Disneyland, with her mother and godmother, both of whom perished on separate planes. (Photo Credit: fanpop.com)

From American Airlines Flight 77:

Bernard Curtis Brown II, 11. Bernard was one of three extraordinary students headed for the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary off the California coast for an educational conference. In the cruelest of ironies, his plane crashed into the Pentagon, where his father worked, but who was away that day. (Photo Credit: Fantastic Flags)

Asia Cottom, 11. Asia was also headed to the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary along with her two classmates. A memorial scholarship fund honors her short life for students seeking degrees in STEM. (Photo Credit: Bracelets for America Remembers)

Rodney Dickens, 11. Rodney was traveling with classmates Bernard and Asia. He reportedly enjoyed helping other students with their homework, and loved Pokemon. (Photo Credit: Fantastic Flags)

Sisters Dana Falkenberg, 3, and Zoe Falkenberg, 8. The girls were traveling with their parents on a family trip to Australia. They were reportedly the apple of their community’s eye. (Photo Credit: HollieJaneBaby on YouTube)

Every year, around its anniversary, I imagine being on one of the 9/11 flights, and the terror those aboard must have felt. And then I imagine it through the lens of childhood. The nightmare is inconceivable.

They are forever young, and I like to think there’s a Disneyland somewhere in Heaven where these eight precious angels are spending eternity in happiness and light.

My daughter was born the February following the attacks of September 11th. Some of my child’s classmates wonder out loud why her middle name is borrowed from that of a little girl murdered on 9/11. And my answer is this: Juliana, and all of the other children, all those years ago, died at the hands of a seething hatred most of us will never know. They didn’t deserve what happened to them; they deserved to live; they deserved to reach every potential imaginable; they deserved every opportunity that every person who lives in this great nation enjoys. And we must never forget what America lost on September the 11th of 2001. And why. For if we do, we’ll find ourselves repeating the same mistakes we did back then; we’ll let our guard down; and we’ll find ourselves once again remembering those lost to an evil that never, ever, sleeps.

Far too many of us either have no memory of that day, or are quickly forgetting what evil can do. So on this seventeenth anniversary of one of the most horrific attacks on our nation in its history—an evil that showed no mercy to the most innocent amongst us—please honor the children we lost: remember their names; imprint their faces in your memory; mourn what their lives could have been; share their stories with your own children; and vow never to see it happen again.

The memory of these eight irreplaceable children deserves no less.

 

Feature Image Collage Photo Credit: Author, via images credited above, as well as Winking and AsicCottom.com.

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