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Remembering 9/11: An Otsego Girl’s Significant Birthday

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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OTSEGO, Minn. (WCCO) – Each September, we are reminded of the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, that killed nearly 3,000 people and devastated a nation.

While many Americans are getting ready to honor the 10-year anniversary of that tragedy, a family from Otsego is preparing a celebration.

Sara Parent is like any other 9 year old with a big day coming up.

“It’s a very special day for me,” she said. “Because it’s my birthday and I get to celebrate.”

Sara’s birthday is different than most, though. She was born on Sept. 11, 2001, just three hours after the Twin Towers came down. Her parents faced the same worries we all face when a baby is born, and a new set shared by an entire nation.

“Here we were sitting there in the hospital having a baby,” said Mike Parent. “And other people are at work, and things change in an instant.”

Sara is now old enough to understand the significance of her birthday.

“The Twin Towers were very special buildings,” she said. “A lot of people worked in them, and a lot of people died.”

Lisa is a scrapbooker who put plenty of time and thought into matching her story with history. It’s filled with patriotic images of a little girl growing up, and the newspaper headlines from the day she was born. And 10 years later, reminders of that bittersweet link are never too far away.

“When we’re driving in the pickup,” said Mike. “Allen Jackson’s song comes on, ‘Where Were You,’ and the kids know it’s Sara’s song. Because that was the song that he came up with the night after the tragedy.”

“She always asks why,” said Lisa. “Why would somebody do that?”

It’s a question that really doesn’t have acceptable answers. Not for a girl who’s still too young to have learned much of anything about 9/11 in school, or for a mom who still struggles to balance her emotions.

“Every year after you watch it on TV,” she said. “You’re like ‘I’m going to cry again.’  Every year I cry on her birthday.”

It’s something we’ve all struggled with over the last 10 years, and Sara has grown up in a world so much scarier than the one that preceded her.

“Bad things happen,” said Mike. “And people have to understand it. Because along with the bad, there’s definitely a lot of good. Sometimes great.”

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