9/11: ‘Something good that happened’: 9/11 birthday boy turning 10Written by Jason Mack | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Angie Kromenacker spent more than 22 hours in labor on Sept. 11, 2001, bringing her son into the world while watching destruction unfold and fear spread across the nation.
Her son Kyle was born at 8:03 p.m.
“It was good to think of something good that happened,” Angie said. “Out of all the people that lost their lives and the tragedy, we still had a miracle happen that day. We still had something good that came out of it.”
Angie and her husband Steve haven’t had an in-depth discussion with their son about the events of 9/11, but Kyle has the basic facts down.
“I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “The Twin Towers came down, and I was born on that day, so it was a special day. Osama bin Laden, the person that did it, has died. Since it’s the 10-year anniversary, they are thinking someone that was following him might have something planned on the day.”
Turning on the TV
Kyle was due on Sept. 10. Angie started feeling labor pains that evening, and they headed to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in the middle of the night. The next morning, Angie asked the nurses if she could turn on the TV.
“I knew that ‘Regis & Kelly’ was going to be on, and I don’t normally get to watch it because I’m at work,” Angie said. “We turned it on and it had just happened, one of the planes. Then the next plane hit. The rest of the time, that’s what the whole focus was on. The nurses kept coming in to check the TV and we talked about it all day long.”
“You just didn’t believe it,” Steve said. “‘What show is this? What’s on TV? What is happening?’ For the next 10 minutes, that whole floor was dead quiet, just silence. People were astounded. I’ve never seen a hospital that quiet. It was eerie.”
Steve and Angie met while working together at Owens Corning and have been married 11 years. She grew up in Defiance and is a help desk coordinator and he is a building engineer from Toledo. They also have a 7-year-old daughter, Paige and Steve has a 19-year-old daughter named Alexis. Kyle’s birth was a cause for joy, but it never felt like a day of celebration.
“It definitely wasn’t the happy mood of having a baby,” Angie said. “Everyone was much more subdued than what they would have been. You couldn’t believe it was happening. It took my mind off of everything else that was happening with the baby and all. The nurses kept mentioning that something good was happening on that day, too, besides all the tragedy that was going on. For me, it was kind of a whirlwind of watching the news and trying to focus on what was happening with him.”
“It was very surreal,” Steve said. “It set the tone for the day. We were just in awe. We were stuck in this hospital room, waiting for Kyle, and this whole event was going on. It was amazing how the hospital shut down.”
One year later
When Kyle turned 1, Angie reflected on the births of children whose fathers died in the attacks.
“A year later, they showed all the babies born from people who were killed in the buildings,” Angie said. “I’ve always wondered what you have to tell those kids as they grow up and explain what happened to their parents. It’s sad.”
The family has never let the tragedy of the day affect their celebration of Kyle’s birthday, but there was a different feel surrounding his first birthday.
“That first year was a special year,” Steve said. “That was a big year to a lot of people when they remembered it.”
“It was still fresh in everybody’s minds,” Angie said. “A year is not very long. You’re still trying to weed out what all happened and still getting the counts of all the people. You hear all these stories that come out. The first year really flew by. You couldn’t believe it had already been a whole year since it had happened, and you have a kid who is on the verge of walking. Every year when his birthday rolls around you think about how long ago that happened, but it still seems like yesterday. It’s hard to believe.”
Angie knows her son’s birthday will forever be linked with the events of that day.
“His birthday rolls around and that’s what people talk and reminisce about,” Angie said. “We saved a ton of newspapers and things. I had Steve go out and gather stuff so that we could have stuff to show him when he gets older. We saved a couple books on it. Those two things are always going to be tied together. He’s never really going to get away from that. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
Steve and Angie are starting to teach Kyle more about the events of 9/11 as his birthday and the 10th anniversary approach.
“He doesn’t know a lot about the details,” Steve said. “He hasn’t seen any movies on it and things like that, but that’s coming.”
It could come as soon as this weekend after Kyle’s curiosity was piqued during the interview.
“Do they have a movie on that day?” Kyle asked his parents. “Can I watch one of those?”
Kyle attends Kateri Catholic Academy, where his favorite subject is math. One of Kyle’s favorite hobbies is coin collecting. His uncle Rob Giesige gave him a commemorative silver coin with the World Trade Center towers on it for his birthday last year.
“I collect a lot of coins and two dollar bills and stuff like that,” Kyle said. “I was really excited when I got it. He got it at a coin convention. I’d like to go to one of those.”
Kyle also collects baseball and football cards and enjoys playing both sports, along with soccer and wrestling. He is the quarterback this season on a flag football team.
“I want to play tackle, but I didn’t want to play for a different school so I had to play flag this year,” Kyle said.
His favorite football team is Ohio State. After having a patriotic theme last year, Kyle’s party will be filled with OSU football decorations.
As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Angie keeps looking back on the attacks and her son’s life.
“It gives you a chance to reflect back on everything that happened,” Angie said. “At work, it’s always something that you talk about. We always come back to the part that, even though all those horrible things happened, we still have Kyle that happened on that day.”