Two sisters who were rescued from the Pentagon’s daycare centre on 9/11 are both now serving their country as members of the United States military.
Hanna and Heather Born were two of approximately 140 infants and toddlers playing in the Defense Department’s Child Development Center when a plane crashed into the Pentagon building just 200 yards away on September 11, 2001.
Heather was only four months old when the attacks took place and as such has no recollection of what took place that day, though her older sister Hanna has a few more memories.
In an interview with CBS News, Hanna, who was three at the time, said: ‘I was in the day care center playing and dancing with some of my classmates. We were playing with those dance ribbons, and then the next thing I can remember was kind of being in the hallway.’
Hanna described experiencing ‘sensory overload’ as she saw a ‘groundswell of people’ rushing out of the Pentagon, as well as hearing noises from fire alarms and ‘basically every type of emergency vehicle’ alongside the ‘really acrid smell from the burning jet fuel and smoke’.
The children at the daycare centre were evacuated by service members, and though Hanna said she doesn’t know the names of those involved in the efforts, she expressed her hopes that ‘they know how their actions have inspired’ herself and her sister, and how they both hope to ‘pay it forward’.
You can hear more about their story below:
Second Lieutenant Hanna graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2019, while Heather is a midshipman in the Naval Academy’s class of 2023.
Discussing their decision to join the military, Hanna said:
There’s been so many lives that have been forever changed by the events of that day and everything that has ensued afterwards, so I think for us, it’s just constantly about remembering and figuring out what we can do to best honor them.
Hanna and Heather were born to parents who both also have military backgrounds, but thankfully they were not in the Pentagon on 9/11. In the days after the attack their father, a retired marine, took the young girls to a hill overlooking the Pentagon so he could try to explain what had happened.
Hanna attempted to process her understanding of the situation through drawings, with her mother, retired Brigadier General Dana Born, explaining that ‘the more she drew, the less anxious she appeared, since she was gradually piecing things together from that horrific day that was difficult for even adults to comprehend’.
Following her graduation from the Air Force Academy, Hanna is in graduate school at Georgetown University and has hopes in the future to fly search-and-rescue missions.
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Topics: News, 9/11, military, Now, Pentagon, September 11 attacks