NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — As terrible as it sounds, the most horrific day in American history also happens to be the happiest day for some people.
“I was in a hospital in labor, and it was definitely, you know, you always remember that day,” says Connie Goldsberry. “You always remember the day you’re giving birth to your kids, but it was doubly unique.”
In New York City, on September 11, 2001, at 8:45 a.m., the first plane hit the World Trade Center.
In Plano, Texas, on the same day, at about that same time, Goldsberry gave birth to her son, Cooper.
“Having him, we didn’t know anything going on,” says Goldsberry. “I was very well cared for, but, like, like I said they, the mood of the hospital was, I mean everybody, everybody everywhere, was was definitely affected by it.”
She says a nurse explained why no one turned on the TV. “She just said this is supposed to be a happy day so we didn’t let you know anything that was going on.”
BABIES BORN ON 9/11/01
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Cooper and more than 13,000 other babies were born on September 11, 2001.
Overtime, their parents documented the historic day in baby books. They raised them taking patriotic pictures. Along with terrorist attacks, school shootings became another fear in their lives. And just last year, the 9/11 babies and voted in their first presidential election.
Now, as they prepare to celebrate their 20th birthdays, Cooper Goldsberry says he tries to separate his birthday from this deadly date.
“It’s always in my back of my head on my birthday, but I try not to present it as the main thing,” says Cooper Goldsberry. “I just treat it like a birthday, but I also do the remember that lost lives that day as well.”
In Arlington, Manny Campos can not treat it as a birthday. Campos says he’s never gone out on his birthday. Also born on September 11, 2001, in Peru, he says he saves his celebration for the day after.
“It just doesn’t feel right,” says Campos who sent the I-Team video of his 13th birthday showing how he celebrated with family and friends on September 12 rather than September 11.
“I mean, I’m happy every day, but it’s definitely like an off balance thing. While I’m like excited I get another year of life, meanwhile, that day years ago, people lost their lives,” says Campos. “I mean I definitely keep that message alive.”
Year after year, instead of balloons, “9/11 babies” see flags flying at half staff. Instead of birthday songs, they hear moments of silence.
Manny’s mom is proud of her son for honoring the historic day, but she also wants him to enjoy his day.
“It’s his birthday. And, as a mom, I want you, I don’t want him to feel guilty, because he doesn’t have anything to do with it. …so many people were born that day and I will be sad if they feel the same feelings. They need to be happy. They need to celebrate their day,” says Lourdes Canos.
Canos is not the only parent who struggles with the mixed emotions.
BOOKS FOCUS ON HOPE
Faces of Hope was published in 2002. It’s a small, inspirational picture book which features one baby from each state. Each one was born on September 11, 2001. Each picture contains two inspirational wishes from the author, Christine Naman.
“I hope you live free.”
“I hope you paint with your fingers.”
“I hope you shed few tears of sadness and many tears of joy.”
Naman wants the world to find hope in each of the black and white baby faces pictured in the book. “It’s a patriotic feel good hug,” she tells the I-Team.
“Hopefully the reminder of good always triumphs over evil. It was supposed to be a tribute to those lost. It was supposed to be a tribute to those who were suffering and have lost loved ones.”
10 years later, Naman did it again. She wrote a second edition after going back to the same 50 kids. Only this time, they helped her write and illustrate how they would “make the world a better place.”
In their own writing, the book contains passages from the 10-year-olds stating they will “cure cancer,” “recycle,” “end hunger,” and “keep our country safe.” They’re plans are accompanied with colorful drawings of people helping people, hearts, hands, and the American flag.
Last year, Naman wrote the last edition with help again from the then 18-year-old writers. This time she called it Faces of Hope at Eighteen.
“They wrote the third book,” says Naman. “I wanted to give the world an opportunity to see them as adults. …The kids express themselves beautifully in their, their essays, their poetry, their letters. Yes, so I’m very proud of them for becoming the people they are.”
Christine Naman related to the parents in labor on that tragic day, because she was also there.
Her son, Trevor, is baby Pennsylvania.
And Trevor Naman has also become quite the author.
In the final book, he writes: “I hope that I will use the abilities that I was blessed with on the fateful day of September 11, 2001 to better the people in my life …I want to leave my own positive imprint in our world.”
Just as Cooper Goldsberry, Manny Campos, and thousands of others, Trevor Naman hopes their hopes today help make a happier tomorrow.
Naman’s three books are now housed in the 9/11 Memorial Archives in New York.