Nearly 3,000 people were killed on September 11, 2001.
Another 13,328 Americans were born that day.
They were just 1 year old in 2002, when on the 1st annual 9/11 Day of Service millions of people turned that horrific tragedy into something good.
Now they’re 14. They’re old enough to act themselves, and make their birthday into something more than a date no one will ever forget.
A special “Born on 9/11” project involves those youngsters who came into the world that fateful day. Those teenagers urge everyone to do at least one good deed on their birthday. After all, they say, “hope was born that day.”
The face of that project — and the centerpiece of an inspiring video that gives it special poignancy — is Hillary O’Neill.
She was born in Norwalk Hospital. Today she’s a Staples High School freshman. Her father, Glenn O’Neill, is a very popular Coleytown Middle School social studies teacher.
In the video, Hillary notes how dramatically the world changed the day she was born — and how much more it’s changed since.
Still, she says, “I like looking at the best of things. I have the power to change things.” Because of the volunteer work done by so many — more than 40 million last year alone — the 9/11 children call their birthday “a blessing.”
On Friday, Hillary will ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, with the founders of 9/11Day.org.
Because she’s busy that day, she got a head start on service. On Sunday she set up a lemonade stand near her home, benefiting Al’s Angels.
Kids are supposed to get gifts on their birthday. Thanks to her video — and her wonderful, life-affirming spirit — Hillary O’Neill has given us one of the greatest birthday presents of all.
If your browser does not take you directly to YouTube, click here. For more information on the 9/11 Day of Service, click here. The Facebook page — with lesson plans for middle and high school teachers — is called “9/11 Day.” Twitter hashtags are #onegooddeed and #911day. )