Remembering The 8 Kids Who Died On 9/11 And Their Stories

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children who died on 9/11

This weekend is the 20th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 attack on the United States, a day that changed the country forever.

Almost 3000 people died in the 9/11 attacks on The Twin Towers, The Pentagon, and from Flight 93, which crash-landed in Pennsylvania. 

September 11th is known as a day of mourning and sadness because so many people died, including eight children whose stories are often forgotten.

The children's age ranged from 2 to 11 and one can only imagine what their last moments were like as they came on the flight innocent happy children and died in horror and fear. 

These are the stories of the 8 children who died in the 9/11 attacks.

 

Christine Lee Hanson

Christine was 2-years-old when she headed onto United Airlines Flight 175 in Boston towards California. She was from Groton, Massachusetts.

Christine was said to be a bright and busy toddler, as she was often found helping her father in the garden as he was an active gardener. She would talk to the flowers and trees they planted together.

She was headed to Los Angeles as her parents Peter, 32, and Sue Kim Hanson, 35, were planning her first trip to Disneyland. It was also her first trip on an airplane.

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Her father Peter was able to call Christine's grandpa World War II veteran, Lee Hanson, and say his goodbyes on behalf of his family and him.

Little Christine was the youngest of the children to die. 

David Gamboa-Brandhurst

On the same flight, 3-year-old David Gamboa-Brandhurst was traveling home to Los Angeles, California with his 'daddy' and 'poppy' after a fun trip visiting family in Cape Cod.

David loved Legos, his cousins, and attending his weekly swim class. He was a lover of vegetables as he even opted to eat cherry tomatoes over cake and ice cream at a cousin’s birthday party according to his aunt Jeannie Merwin. 

He was on flight 175 with both his fathers Daniel Brandhorst, 42, and Ronald Gamboa, 33. 

RELATED: I Was In The North Tower When The First Plane Hit On 9/11 — Here's How I Survived

Juliana Valentine McCourt

4-year-old Juliana Valentine McCourt was from Newton, Massachusetts. Her mother Ruth McCourt was a former model who emigrated to the U.S. from Ireland in 1973 and married her father David McCourt in 1994. 

Juliana was traveling with Ruth on vacation in Southern California. Ruth had planned to divide their week between The Deepak Chopra Center for Well Being and Disneyland. 

McCourts brother Ron Clifford, a software salesman, was in the North Tower when Flight 11 crashed and he managed to stumble out of the building to witness Flight 175 crash into the South Tower. He didn't know at the time, but that plane had his little niece Juliana and sister Ruth inside.

"I think when I was on the floor saying the Lord’s Prayer … when the second plane hit, just in a strange way maybe Ruth guided me out of there," Clifford told ABC News at the time.

Ruth's best friend Paige Farley-Hackel was on Flight 11 to Los Angeles which was the first plane to crash.

The three of them planned to meet in California because Paige and Ruth had planned to surprise Juliana with the trip to Disneyland.

According to Juliana's father's obituary, David McCourt worked with the Cuomo family to help found B.R.A.V.E. Juliana, a program of HELP USA, that's purpose is to teach children to live without hate and non-violence and conflict resolution.

Her father became a recognized voice appearing on TV with Diane Sawyer, Larry King, Connie Chung, and many others, keeping the memory of the beloved Juliana and Ruth alive. 

Bernard Curtis Brown II

11-year-old Bernard Curtis Brown II was one of three brilliant students to be chosen by National Geographic as one of three sixth-grade students in the Washington, D.C. area to go on an educational adventure to the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary off the California coast.

The middle-school students were accompanied by their teachers and National Geographic Society employees on Flight 77, which crashed into the pentagon, where his father also worked but was at a golf outing that day.

Bernard was praised for his spelling and drawing. He was said to have had a zest for living.

According to his mother, Bernard "lived to go to school," and loved basketball. During the same year, he had just purchased a pair of Air Jordan sneakers and was wearing the shoes on Sept. 11.

His father says his son was apprehensive about flying before the trip and the pair even talked about what could happen on the plane.

"To be honest, we talked about death. And I just told him, 'Don't be afraid. … Just listen to what the people tell you, and the instructions. You'll be all right; you'll be fine.' He said, 'Daddy, I’m scared,' and I said, 'Hey, don't be scared; don't be afraid to die. Because we are all going to die someday."

Asia Cottom

Also a 6th grader and 11-years-old, Asia Cotton was another student selected by National Geographic to go on the educational trip. 

Asia's father, Clifton Cottom, said that she was a real charmer who was trying hard to grow up.

Asia had a passion and talent for science and math. She dreamed of becoming a pediatrician and enjoyed dancing, jumping rope double-Dutch style.

Her mother Michelle says, "God had a much higher calling for her. He took a child that just loved Him and had blind faith in Him. Like most children believe in Santa Claus, this child believed in God. Who better to show the world Jesus than through a child?" 

In 2014, Asia's family coauthored a book in her memory titled "Asia’s New Wings" about people Asia touched in her time on earth. In the book, Asia's family remembers her being always busy, always positive, and always involved in this activity or another. 

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The Cottom family also established a scholarship program to help children get excited and learn about education and science. Clifton Cottom also began to coach and mentor other school-aged girls from the community after Asia's death.

RELATED: Former Head Of Logan Airport Explains How She Moved Forward After Being Blamed For 9/11 Attacks

Rodney Dickens

Rodney was the last of the three children chosen to go on the trip to California. He was also 11-years-old. This trip was Rodney's first time on an airplane.

The Washington Post reported that Rodney was a smart kid, always making the honor roll, reading, and liked playing computer games and playing with his four siblings. 

According to his aunt Cynthia Dickens, his favorite thing in the world was to watch professional wrestling on TV. He would watch in his family and his grandmother. 

One of his classmates at the time Angelo Bynum, who went to Ketcham Elementary said that Rodney was "a kind, nice person who loved Pokemon" and "helped other people with their homework if they didn't understand it."

Dana and Zoe Falkenberg

3-year-old Dana and 8-year-old Zoe died on Flight 77 with their parents, 45-year-old former NASA engineer, Charles Falkenberg, and mother, 45-year-old Economic Professor, Leslie Whittington.

Zoe was said to be a top student in her school University Park Elementary School, in University Park, Maryland. She was an active young girl in Girl Scouts, who also loved ballet, was a devotee of the Harry Potter books, and a member of her school's swim team. She had lots of people like her friends and teammates who loved her greatly.

Dana was an adorable curly-haired child and family friends said that as she was born a bit later in her parents life she was seen as a miracle child. 

Dana also loved nursery school and was an aspiring swimmer like her sister taking swimming lessons at a local YMCA. 

The family was on the first leg of their trip to Australia, where the girl's mother would be pursuing a semester’s research fellowship at the Australian National University in Canberra for two months.

The family had missed their connecting flight so they boarded the American Airlines flight 77 in D.C. not knowing the devastation to come.

The girls had an impressive stuffed animal collection and most of their toys had been consigned to storage in anticipation of the family’s stay abroad.

Their grandfather Dr. Horace C. Whittington held onto two stuffed animals from the girls and when he passed away, Zoe's aquamarine-hued Dad Dinosaur and Dana’s Teddy Bear. His wife Natalie Whittington set them aside for the 9/11 museum in 2015. 

Even though we don't know all the details about these inspiring and bright children, we can honor their memories every year on 9/11 and make their names known. 

RELATED: Remembering 9/11 On The 20th Anniversary Of The Attacks And The People Who Still Suffer Today

Megan Hatch is a writer at YourTango who covers zodiac, love and relationships, and pop culture.