Hanna Born was barely three at the time, while Heather was about four months old when the American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.
Hanna Born and her younger sister Heather were two out of the 140 children playing in the Defense Department's Child Development Center, located approximately 200 yards from the Pentagon, on September 11, 2001. Hanna was barely three at the time, while Heather was about four months old when the American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.
Fast forward to 2021, and both girls are now serving their country after they were inspired by the sheer bravery and heroism around them. According to CBS News, Second Lieutenant Hanna Born graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2019. She is now in graduate school at Georgetown University studying data science and analytics and hopes to fly search-and-rescue missions, while her younger sister Heather is a midshipman in the Naval Academy's class of 2023.
While Hanna has a vague memory of that fateful day, Heather doesn't recall anything. "I was in the daycare center playing and dancing with some of my classmates," Hanna said in an interview in Washington, D.C. "We were playing with those dance ribbons, and then the next thing I can remember was kind of being in the hallway."
In the Pentagon day care center on 9/11, now they're in the U.S. military— Travis Akers (@travisakers) September 7, 2021
2LT Hanna Born, just 3 years old at the time of the attacks, graduated from the Air Force Academy; her younger sister Heather is a midshipman in the Naval Academy's class of 2023.https://t.co/eW50YegN6z
"I began to feel sensory overload, especially after exiting the building. Because that's when you really saw just a groundswell of people coming out of the building," Hanna remembered. "Obviously, you had the noises from the fire alarms, you had basically every type of emergency vehicle, the sirens from that, and you had jets and helicopters from overhead making noise, and on top of that, just a really acrid smell from the burning jet fuel and smoke."
Hanna then recalled how service members arrived at the daycare to help evacuate, because some of the workers were elderly, who needed help moving the kids as they couldn't do it all themselves.
The Child Development Center was housed in a building on the Pentagon campus, across from where the plane crashed. People in the Pentagon and its auxiliary buildings were overcome with fear and panic after the plane hit, engulfing the west side of the Pentagon in flames. Even though none of the children died that day, the Child Development Center closed in 2004 over fears about the children's safety.
Second Lieutenant Hanna Born, just three years old at the time of the attacks, graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2019; her younger sister Heather is a midshipman in the Naval Academy’s class of 2023.https://t.co/nQqaIA2pID— WTOP (@WTOP) September 7, 2021
There were countless hands at work, that day, trying to save everyone possible. Many of those kind souls still remain anonymous, but they've made a difference in the lives of countless people, including the Borns.
"I don't think we know really any of the names of anyone involved," Hanna said. "Despite not getting any public recognition for what they did that day, I just hope they know how their actions have inspired my sister and I and how we hope to pay it forward."
"There's been so many lives that have been forever changed by the events of that day and everything that has ensued afterward, so I think for us, it's just constantly about remembering and figuring out what we can do to best honor them," Hanna said.
Cover Image Source: YouTube | CBS Denver