#September11: Remembering the Sixth Graders on Flight 77

#September11: Remembering the Sixth Graders on Flight 77

#September11: Remembering the Sixth Graders on Flight 77

Their names were Bernard C. Brown II, Asia S. Cottom, and Rodney Dickens. They were all eleven years old. They were in sixth grade. They were headed for a special field trip to California with their teachers, which was being put on by National Geographic. And they all died aboard Flight 77 when it slammed into the Pentagon on September 11th.

(left to right) Bernard C. Brown II, Asia S. Cottom, Rodney Dickens
(left to right) Bernard C. Brown II, Asia S. Cottom, Rodney Dickens

Bernard was remembered as “clever, a quick wit, the kind of boy who kept his teachers on their toes” who loved basketball. Asia was called “kindhearted” and helpful, who loved school and Tweety Bird. Rodney “loved reading, playing computer games, and playing with his siblings” as well as being a huge fan of professional wrestling. All three were good students, which is why they were chosen to take this special field trip. Teachers Sara Clark, Hilda Taylor, and James Debeuneure were going along as chaperones. National Geographic employees Ann Judge and Joe Ferguson were also on board Flight 77, accompanying the students and teachers to California.

And this special field trip, a reward for these three bright 11 year olds, ended in the most horrible way possible. Bernard’s death was particularly terrible for his family, as his father worked at the Pentagon.

“Everybody was calling me at my job because they knew my husband worked at the Pentagon,” Sinita Brown told NBC News. A golf outing had Bernard Sr. out of the office that day. But Sinita Brown’s relief quickly turned to grief when she learned it was her son’s flight that hit the Pentagon.

Back in 2014, my husband, daughter and I all stood within the Pentagon at the memorial chapel, which is placed at the exact spot where Flight 77 hit the building. In that sacred, sad place, the lives of these three bright children were cruelly ended. As I write this now, my daughter is the exact same age as Bernard, Asia, and Rodney – an eleven year old sixth grader. I cannot imagine putting her on an airplane for a school trip, all happy and excited and nervous, only to have the airplane hijacked and used as a weapon.

At the America's Heroes Memorial and Chapel inside the Pentagon (official photo - no civilian photography is allowed in the Pentagon)
At the America’s Heroes Memorial and Chapel inside the Pentagon (official photo – no civilian photography is allowed in the Pentagon)

Often, the stories of the children get lost in all of the other stories of the day. Other children perished with their families, like Dana and Zoe Falkenberg, who were killed with their parents aboard Flight 77. Bernard, Asia, and Rodney were not traveling with their families – and they left immense holes in the lives of parents and siblings that never can be filled.

Remember these three sixth graders, and the other children, and the intelligence and potential and futures that were lost to due to a monstrous evil. Remember their faces. Never forget.

Featured image: original Victory Girls composite art by Darleen Click

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  • OC says:

    Very nice tribute Deanna, and yes, you’re right, the children who died that awful day are rarely remembered.

    RIP all youngsters who died that day. May you romp with the other angels.
    Never forget………


  • Gwen C. says:

    May these and all of the young children who died on that dreadful day RIP…….

    • Colleen says:

      Omg, is there seriously ppl out there that really don’t know what happened with these hijacked planes???
      Where have you been the last 18 yrs of the talks & documentaries of that horrific day….that’s sad. Then to come up with some crazy stories like I just read.

  • ZINA Litt says:

    Rest little angels

  • Mary Webster Moore says:

    I am much more saddened by the remembrance of this day because we did NOT remember the children sooner. It was from the mouth of a seventh grader who arrived at school and asked her classmates and those of us who were already in our classrooms that morning, whether we had heard the news of a plane crashing into the twin towers. Somehow I missed this story in the aftermath of the grief and sorrow. May God continue to comfort the families of these precious children and their teachers, as fellow teachers, classmates, and colleagues remember. And may we never forget.

  • Robert Johnson says:

    This is so sad….so young, so innocent….God had need of them in heaven!!!!
    Continue to sleep in peace and may God continue to comfort their parents and all of the families and friends of those who were lost on that infamous day!!!

  • Judith E. Small says:

    RIP Angels!!!!

  • GMcGrew says:

    and live our lives in a more productive way to help the people
    who can’t help themselves in the memory of the people killed
    may God have mercy on their souls.

  • Nicole says:

    Ths is so sad…..

  • Heidi says:

    So sorry for the loss of these little ones. May I ask who sang the song in the video. It was beautiful.

  • Sherry says:

    The loss of these children makes the atrocities of 9/11 stand out even more in my mind. It is incomprehensible how ANYONE could hate SO MUCH, that not only do they kill themselves, but indiscriminately take the lives of innocents, who have yet to live. I will never understand how a religion that is supposed to promote PEACE, has done nothing but propagate HATRED toward any person who is not of the same faith. This is AMERICA. We may be a melting pot of nationalities, but many of us believe this religion has no business here. I’m sure the family members of these children, would agree. If you come to live in AMERICA, you come here to BE AN AMERICAN. We are a proud nation and we will not change our laws or our constitution, to suit ONE nationality. Either be like us or leave. These kids deserved to grow up, get an education, get married… Hatred took all that away from them. We won’t forget them. We won’t forget ANYTHING about 9/11. I believe it will be taught in history books as the largest Mass Murder that ever occurred in America. The youngest victim being two years old. And that the terrorists who took over their airplane, didn’t care. I didn’t personally lose anyone on that day but like the rest of the world, I felt the grief, the utter sadness and the confusion as to WHY. I still don’t understand. I probably never will and I know I’m not alone. I hope the families and friends of these children, know, that they, too, are not alone. May all these children rest in the arms of FATHER. And may HE have mercy on the souls that took them. Personally, I hope they are ALL burning in Hell.

    • Jenny B says:

      We are a proud nation and we will not change our laws or our constitution, to suit ONE nationality. Either be like us or leave.

      Can you see the irony in your statement?

      Of course the acts of 9/11 were horrible. These terrorists represent Muslims and Islam just like the Westboro Baptist “Church” represents you as a Christian.

      • Brenda Reger says:

        All Muslims are taught the Koran. They are taught to hate and kill infidels. Which by the way is anyone that doesn’t agree with them. They are taught to overrun countries and take over. The Westboro Baptist Church is just that. A small church filled with hate but not trying to take over the world.

    • WOB says:

      Well said, Sherry…may many, many more of our citizens come to understand.

    • Jen says:

      Are you for real? 911 had nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with American foreign policy. It was a terrible tragedy – and I wonder, how do you think Iraqi’s felt after George Sr was done and George Jr came back for seconds?

      And pray tell me – how would you feel about a country that gives billions in aid to a foreign country so they can steal your house, occupy your lands, tear down your olive groves, arrest and blindfold your children, and keep some of you locked up in the worlds largest open-air prison? You ever wonder why there was a conspiracy about Israeli involvement in 911? (I personally don’t subscribe to that theory, but the reasons behind that conspiracy are actually sound when one considers how America reacted to 911)

      Put away your knives. You didn’t adopt Indigenois values when you came to settle in their territories. So long as people are peaceful, who cares what they wear or how they address their creator?

      So tired of ugly, hypocritical Americans. You think you’re the only people who have a right to live on earth.

    • Nan says:

      Don’t forget the children who died in the Murray Building in Oklahoma City. That was done by a white American terrorist. Those babies were important too.

    • JoyKaren says:

      Thank you for saying this. I wanted to reply also but was afraid I’d be accused of being insincitive which I’m not. I am so sad to learn of these children but Bush & Cheney started a war with Iraq over this just for money. Google “HALLIBURTON”. Yet the terrorists were from Saudi Arabia and NOT Iraq. 100,000 Iraqui citizens died including women and children. The first person to die in Iraq was a black soldier whose dad said right on national TV that he blamed Bush & Cheney for this unnecessary death. But the war went on until nearly 6,000 Americans had been killed while Bush & Cheney would not permit the NYT or any media to report on or show any photos of returning coffins draped in the US flag. And we wonder why we have a monster in the White House right now.

      • Scott says:

        Put your tinfoil hat back on sweetie.. We narrowly avoided a monster in the Whitehouse you simpleton! While this one tweets far too much, your projection is showing.

        Here’s an idea to all you leftist / conspiracy retards. How about you save it for an appropriate thread, not one meant as a memorial to those lost 18 years ago. I understand that as a group, you don’t have the slightest bit of class, but try, just for a second to have some here.

        • Jimmy McCully says:

          You are an idiot! It did happen. My parents and my sister were on a plane on that day. Fortunately, they were not hurt or killed, because they were coming from British Columbia.(Canada) The pilot announced the attack and they had an emergency landing in Utah. My sister lives in the D.C. area; I am sure every time she flies, she worries. Get some help. Your wild conspiracies are an embarrassment and particularly troublesome to the victims’ families of 911.

      • Purple Red says:

        Stuff it ! No, we had monsters in there previously. This president is amazing ! If you don’t see it then you are almost as bad as his predecessors. Sad

    • Dmos says:

      No doubt this is sad tragedy. How can people be so evil it’s called sin. As a Christian there are tons of people that use the title Christian but lack wisdom and understanding. For instance a child can think they are a princess and really desire to be because of a Disney character. However that child is not a princess and I’m talking about a real princess. Just be cause people want to associate with a group doesn’t mean they are a truly apart of that. Though I am not Muslim I am Christian right is right wrong is wrong. Love is love and hate is hate. Anybody can claim a group and do evil. Singling out any group for the sins others is wrong. The problem is most people are ignorant and hateful and take evil acts like 9/11 and divert it to innocent groups like Muslims or people who look Muslim. In my eyes that’s equally evil it’s just geared to one group it’s geared toward another unjustifiably. To say how can people target children in war people do it all the time. To say this will probably be the biggest tragedy marked in history it’s not but most people will think it is. Truth is Truth even if people know the whole truth or not.

    • Sally Cottrell says:

      I think you’ll find the mass slaughter of the indigenous people is America’s biggest mass murder

      • Kate says:

        Hi Sally
        I see you are from the UK. Welcome! Feel free to share some of your country’s own history of slaughtering indigenous people groups.


  • Priscilla coe says:

    Rip 3 beautiful angels

  • john avery says:

    what kind of people would kill babies , now that is sick . just for a moment think about that . they say they are doing it for the name of there god, well you can keep your god .

  • Jen says:

    911 was not about Islam. It was a reaction to American foreign policy. Doesn’t make it right – it was a horrible tragedy. Please stop making this about Islam, because lying to yourself isn’t constructive. Americans really need to wake up and acknowledge what America has been doing around the world instead of looking for someone to blame.

  • Carol says:

    I was a docent at the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial for 3 years, and I can assure you these 3 children are remembered there, as well as their adult chaperones. The Memorial is set up chronologically with a pair of sisters as the youngest and therefore first 2 to be memorialized. The next 3 are these children. Many times when I arrived for my shift, there were flowers, notes, and pictures left on their markers. Most people who visited were moved, I think especially by the tragedy of the children, and the lives they never got to live.

    • ZAJ says:

      Very well said I would like to add to your statement that the jihadists beliefs which claim to be apart of Islam or Muslim religion, have their own separate beliefs that entail the suicidal bombings etc, and killing of others then receiving a reward of ten or 12 virgins in heaven concept. Its wrong to group all muslims with this particular sect! I agree with you that there is evil linked to any religious group because we are all imperfect human beings.

  • harold says:

    hate in the world is of the devil people who are of God on hurt people in self defense these folk had no feeling of anyone and these kids hate must be attacked no matter who or what religion

  • Pamela says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this story;I never knew there children on this flight. Their stories and lives were beautiful; may God continue to watch over these angels and their families

  • Brat says:

    Breaks my heart……such innocence lost, and such huge holes left in the lives of all who love them.

    God Bless the children…..


  • Lynne says:

    I think of these 3, as well as the kids with their parents, every year. I did some work at a DC school in 2002, and there was a student-made banner honoring the 3 DC kids and their teachers and it was heartbreaking to see.

  • Maldine Wallace says:

    I lost my sister that day at the World Trade Center and I guess in my own grief I didn’t know know about the children. I pray for their families and all those who suffered a loss on that day

  • Cindy Mount says:

    As I set here and keep asking myself why just why. I don’t think no one will understand our neighbor children and grandchildren and families and friends father’s and mother’s aunt’s uncle’s Grand parents all had to be killed in such a horrible way all I can do is ask God please take care of our love one’s that they had to leave behind and every one remember our love one’s that has left us to be with God .

  • Misguyana says:

    Has a teenager I arrived in myc on September 11th a day that I used to celebrate until 9/11 happened. I did not loose any family members or friends but my heart still aches for the families who has lost love ones. This was tragic and it has left me shaken to this day with fair of a lot of things. But I know that is no way to live so I move on. I no longer celebrate that day it is too painful.

  • Scott says:

    This is so sad about 911 but this is the first time i am hearing about 3 kids why .God calls his Angels RIP

  • Cassandra says:

    Rest sweet angels. You will never be forgotten. One day you will be reunited with those who love you.

  • PetuniaH says:

    They were just babies really and all I can think about is how scared they must have been in their last moments. But, yes, now they are with God and no more pain. You can say it wasn’t Islam, but the fact is it came from Islam. No regard for who they killed and there was regard for how many, that’s for sure. They were protesting Foreign Affairs?? So what? Look what they did, look what they did! And tough if you think Americans only think of America. You all messed with the wrong people. You think it’s ok to kill hundreds, even thousands? We think it’s wrong to kill even one. So, the killing will not get you into the Kingdom of Heaven you so falsely believe in. Anyone who kills will go to the darkness of Hell. I am praying for Peace in Earth and I know when it will happen.

  • Pixie says:

    Ok, it bugs me when people say Americans are self centered.
    I’m sorry. But most people I know are barely getting by.
    What do you think we are supposed to do for the rest of the world when we are struggling to keep a roof over our own family’s heads?
    That’s stupid. And I’m willing to bet most of the people who died that day and because of illnesses of that day where in the same boat.
    Not to mention the people bitching about “self-centered Americans”

  • GWB says:

    It’s amazing how this three year old piece has drawn so much comment this year. And by now much derp it’s attracted. Just astounding.

  • Antonina Watson says:

    This is the remembrance for three children. He shouldn’t be getting any attention on stupid weak comments (exactly what he wants)
    9/11 were so sad and still sad…I pray for the families that’s going through this and the pain never stops

  • Catina says:

    I think the article is well written but the video is insensitive. Showing the actual impacts triggers very traumatic emotions in people. Please be thoughtful of the effect it has on people.

  • Ruth says:

    So sad and Heartbreaking sweet innocent kids taken to soon from their familes.May the RIP

  • Rachel Carroll says:

    Wow such disgusting profanity and just outright disrespect to these children’s memoir sick as the terrorists

  • Zena says:

    Thank you so much for this tribute. We shall never forget.

  • Janice says:

    My prayer to any of the family members of these kids and parents. Everyday and every year.

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