At the Shanksville Memorial for Flight 93, a young boy shook the president’s hand. It was a day of rememberance, the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. It was also the boy’s ninth birthday.
“I shook his hand!” Steven Shamtpon said as he ran back to his parents. He had been at the front of the crowd when PresidentBarack Obama arrived. Steven jumped up and down. “I’m never washing it.”
Older brother, Johnny Shampton (12), and Darren Popp (11) also shook the President’s hand and said, “His hand was cold, but really cool.”
For many Americans, 9/11 is not just a day for tragedy. Steven, who was not alive ten years ago, only knows of the attacks via parental guidance and school teachings. Still, for others, it is a day of mixed emotion.
Our own reporter, Katy Snyder, turned 10 and was eating her birthday cupcakes when the planes hit the World Trade Center. “I still remember those cupcakes,” said Snyder.
She described how some students teased her the following weeks, saying her birthday had caused the attacks. Ten years later, she still works to find a balance between respectfully remembering and celebrating a birthday.