The 9/11 Kid
It’s been 10 years since the terrorist attacks on America and the birth of Anabel Granger. Not that anyone needs to remind her and her parents.
No one ever forgets Anabel Granger’s birthday, even though she wasn’t born on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve. Anabel arrived on a date seared into the collective consciousness of every American old enough to remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard a passenger jet had crashed into the World Trade Center.
There is absolute certainty of Tobi Granger’s activities on September 11, 2001: She was in labor at Arnold Palmer Hospital with her husband, Bob, by her side. Anabel arrived at 9:35 EDT, about 49 minutes after the WTC’s North Tower was hit and 32 minutes after United Flight 175 plowed into the South Tower. Three minutes after Anabel was born, American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, followed by United Flight 93’s nosedive into a Pennsylvania field at 10:10 a.m.
The Grangers didn’t know the extent of the chaos outside the hospital until later in the day when they watched a TV newscast. Tobi wanted to leave the hospital and go home as soon as possible.
“It took a few days for it to really sink in, but then it hit me,” says Tobi. “Not only was she born on that day but at that moment. She was taking her first breaths just as so many people took their last.”
Naturally, angst set in as she thought about the world her child had just been born into. “I remember gazing at her, daydreaming of all the possibilities ahead for her. Then, I would glance back at the news and snap back into reality,” says Tobi.
9/11 would forever be remembered as the day America was attacked by terrorists, but the Mount Dora parents try not to have mixed feelings about it. The date has always been a happy occasion for them, starting with Anabel’s first birthday.
“Some people thought we should have been more respectful and done it on another day,” recalls Tobi. “But my thought was, and I put a lot of thought into it, that the people who lost their lives would have wanted us to celebrate life.”
Over the years, Anabel has slowly come to understand why so many people make such a big deal of Sept. 11. “When she was little, she thought it was cool that everyone on TV would be talking about her birthday.
But she understands now,” says her mom.
Now that Anabel is older, Tobi and Bob talk often with her about what happened the day she was born. “We talk about how just a few angry people could impact the world so horribly,” says Tobi. “But my husband and I always tell her that the opposite can happen as well. A handful of smart, honorable people can heavily impact the world for the better.”
For her 10th birthday, Anabel isn’t asking for world peace. She wants a Labradoodle. Her mom says that’s about as likely as world peace.