The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

The People News
Special Report






The Children of September 11
Let us not forget the eight beautiful children who died during the terror of 911

by Alexandra Edwards

This September 11th will mark the 5th year since the day America stood still, watching in horror as our country was viciously and cowardly attacked by several heartless terrorists from the Middle East.

Hundreds of innocent civilians awoke to what they thought was going to be just an ordinary sunny September morning. America was not at war, there was no reason to be on alert of danger other than the usual every-day occurrences. Some had just arrived at their office or place of work or were having their first cup of coffee before the commute to work, and yet others were on planes anticipating a family vacation, adventure, or business trip. Suddenly, everything changed  that day when  lives were brought to an abrupt and violent end.

Time is said to heal and curiously enough, despite the profound aching hurt and anger inside, time seems to ease the pain somewhat. However, time does not and should not erase the memory of the ghastly atrocity committed against us.

Hundreds of innocent lives were tragically taken on September 11, 2001. Fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters,  sisters, brothers. All should be remembered, no matter how much it hurts.

Alexandra Edwards

Asia Cottom

Bernard Curtis Brown

Rodney Dickens

Christine Lee Hanson

In the December 2001 issue of  The People News this page contained a tribute to the eight youngest victims of the most tragic day in our history. Though so very heartbreaking to write at the time, it was felt they at least, should be pictured and remembered with prayers as 2001 drew to a close.  The The People News did not have it's online edition at the time the tribute was written so it appeared in newsprint only. This time however, the tribute will be posted on as a lasting salute to the little ones who died that day.

In remembrance of those eight innocent young lives that were savagely stolen on September 11, 2001, an extract  from the December 2001 tribute titled "Terror's Youngest Victims" follows:

Three bright young students with great potential and big dreams had been chosen by their teachers from three schools in Washington D.C. to go on an adventurous field trip sponsored by the National Geographic Society to the Channel Islands National Park in California. These inner city children who had probably never traveled out of their home state, were given the opportunity to explore, hike and even go ocean kayaking. Sadly they were among the passengers on American Airlines Flight 77 which crashed into the Pentagon.

David Gamboa Brandhorst

Juliana Valentine McCourt

Zoe and Dana Falkenberg.

Those three students were:-

Asia Cottom,
an 11 year old student of Backus Middle school had a talent for science and math and dreamed of becoming a pediatrician. She loved "Tweety Bird," so much so that she was dressed in her Tweety Bird gear on the morning of her trip. She also liked Barbie dolls, jump rope and loved to swim. Asia's mom said of Asia, "Like the way most children believe in Santa Claus this child believed in God." She also said, "I believe Asia was a gift, she wasn't mine in the beginning, she belonged to God. She was on a loan to me and I bless God for the time that he allowed me to nurture his flower. I have a peace that even I can't explain."

Bernard Curtis Brown,
an 11 year old student of Leckie Elementary School, known to be quick on the basketball court and sharp in the classroom. His parents said he was a happy, loving child and were heartbroken at their loss. Bernard will also be missed by his best friend Derian, who said he was like a brother to him. Now he's left with the memories of the good times they had playing basketball and football together and of how Bernard had taught him to skate.

Ironically, Bernard's father, a Navy Petty Officer would normally have been at the Pentagon on the morning of September 11 but had taken a rare day off so that he could take his son to the airport. It is said that prior to the departure, Bernard and his dad had a serious father to son talk about dangers he may encounter during the trip and even touched on the possibility of death. His dad told him not to be afraid because we are all going to die some day, he also assured him that as long as he followed instructions and listened to what the tour guides told him, he would be safe.

Rodney Dickens,
a smart 11 year old honor student of Ketchum Middle School. Remembered by his teacher as the gentleman of the class. Rodney loved reading, playing computer games and playing with his two brothers and two sisters. He also liked to watch professional wrestling on TV and was very close to his mother. It was his first time on an airplane and he was said to be so excited about the trip.

Also traveling on American Airlines Flight 77 with their parents were sisters Zoe and Dana Falkenberg. The family were from University Park, Maryland and were starting a two month vacation in Canberra, Australia. They were a family well known to the people

of University Park and were active members of the community. Dana was a charming little 3 year old who attended pre-school. Zoe was an 8 year old student that loved to play soccer and ride on her scooter. She was also a talented singer and had appeared in a community musical production. She collected snow globes and Beanie Babies.

Juliana Valentine McCourt
a 4 year old said to be a "happy lovable child with blond ringlets and blue eyes." She was traveling with her mother to Los Angeles to visit Disney Land. She was one of three young children that were on board the fated United Flight 175, the second plane to hit the World Trade Center towers. Juliana was from New London, Connecticut and attended Mitchell College Learning Center. Juliana's classmates planted a pink dogwood tree on the school grounds in her memory.

Also on board Flight 175 was Christine Lee Hanson, a bubbly little 2 year old from Groton Massachusetts. Christine's mommy and daddy were taking her to Los Angeles to visit with relatives and had promised her a trip to Disney Land. Christine was said to have radiated affection and truly loved her whole family. So much so that at her last family gathering that year, she brought with her a big bag of lollipops to share with her many cousins.

David Gamboa Brandhorst, 
a cute little 3 year old who charmed everybody he met with his big blue eyes and chestnut curly hair was from Los Angeles. He was returning home from a vacation in Cape Cod with his  father and friend onboard United Airlines Flight 175 that crashed into the World Trade Center.

These children should be remembered as eight little heroes. As Bernard Brown's father said after the tragedy, "All these kids died for their country, you don't have to be in the military to die for your country."

Yes, it hurts to remember  September 11, 2001 but let this date not become the  mere  number  911, dedicated to a day in history. Remember those that were taken from us were countrymen and women, real people living real lives and the children who were so brutally murdered could have been ours. 

Take a few moments to look at the faces of these eight beautiful children, and if you are connected to the Internet please do a search of each of their names to visit the wonderful websites constructed in their memory. Let them know in your prayers that their short lives will never be forgotten. Ever.