Tag Archives: 911day.org

Hillary O’Neill’s 9/11 Birthday: The Sequel

Earlier this week, “06880” told the remarkable tale of Hillary O’Neill. The Staples High School freshman — born on September 11, 2001 — has become the face of 911Day.org, a national effort led by the 13,000 boys and girls who turn 14 today. They hope to inspire everyone else to make this a day of not only remembrance, but service to others.

Yesterday, Hillary was interviewed for People Magazine’s TV show. Looking and sounding as poised as a pro, the 9th grader noted that when she was younger, her parents did not know how — or even if — to celebrate her birthday.

Hillary O'Neill

Over the years, she said, she’s learned to embrace her birthday. She’s learned an important lesson from it — to live life to the fullest, because it is precious — and she’s proud to be able to inspire others.

So how else is Hillary spending today?

This morning, she rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

Hillary O'Neill (front row, far left) and other 14-year-olds born on September 11, 2001, at the New York Stock Exchange this morning.

Hillary O’Neill (front row, far left) and other 14-year-olds born on September 11, 2001, at the New York Stock Exchange this morning.

And then — because a volunteer’s work is never done — Hillary helped out with City Harvest, New York’s great feed-the-hungry group. She packed apples with another volunteer. Guy named Kevin Bacon.

Hillary O'Neill with Kevin Bacon

To see Hillary’s interview with People Magazine, click here.

Hillary O’Neill’s Very Special Birthday Gift

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.

9-11 Day of ServiceThose 9/11 babies were only 10 in 2011, when the 10th anniversary was honored with the single largest day of service in US history.

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.

Glenn and Heather O'Neill, with Hillary.

Glenn and Heather O’Neill, with Hillary.

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.”

Hillary O’Neill

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. )