Those born on 9/11 reflect on life 20 years after WTC attacks

9/11: 20 years later
9-11 babies

Hillary O’Neill (left) and Josh Tauber (right) were both born on Sept. 11, 2001 (PIX11)

NEW YORK — How do you remember the attacks on the World Trade Center?

Many people recall what they were doing and where they were on the worst day in American history.

For some, it was the first day of their lives.

Josh Tauber took a look back at his earliest days from the pages of his baby books.

One book tucks away the New Jersey man’s most cherished keepsakes.

The other is filled with memories of the tragic day Josh was brought into the world.

“It always gives me a bit of a stomach ache looking at it, it’s just crazy,” said Tauber. “I seriously can not believe this was the day I was born and will forever be my birthday and forever be remembered as the day of 9/11.”

His mom, Nicole Tauber, remembered how quickly the excitement of delivering her first child turned into fear, from a hospital bed.

“I was beyond a panic attack, just out of my mind,” she said.

Parents of 13,000 children born in the U.S. on 9/11 share similar stories as the Taubers.

Twenty years later, these babies, now young adults, continue to grow, while the memories of the fallen live on.

For some, closer to the heart.

Sebastian Bass, originally of Long Island, was 18 months old when the towers collapsed.

He never saw his mom again.

“They had been searching for her body for a couple weeks, and they actually found her body. I have her ashes in my room,” said Bass.

The SUNY Purchase graduate’s dad, Andrew Bass, raised him as a single parent.

Sebastian Bass developed a passion for photography at a young age. 

He attributes his talent to the loss of his mother. He even portrayed the life he’s lived without his mom, through a lens, as part of his senior class project. 

“I really try to keep my photography as raw as possible so people can really feel and be on the same emotional plane as me,” said Bass.

Dr. Peter Bernstein is the Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center. 

He said the ability to find purpose is a healthy way to navigate through pain.

He could have been delivering babies on 9/11, but instead he was rushed to treat victims near ground zero. 

Dr. Bernstein encouraged babies born on this dark day to find light by helping others.

“The more you can find common ground with others, connect with others, help people be the best they can be, all of those things make everybody’s lives better and the world a better place,” said Dr. Bernstein.

Hillary O’Neill was also born on 9/11.

The Connecticut “Gen Z” is a volunteer EMT, because she’s inspired by the heroic actions of first responders.

At Villanova University, O’Neill is studying psychology and peace and justice.

With a big birthday approaching, the soon-to-be 20-year-old will do what she always does on 9/11 — she’ll team up with the organization “9/11 Day”, and feed the hungry.

“My family views it as me being born that day as a symbol of hope, that emerged out of something so tragic,” said O’Neill.

The babies born on 9/11 have their own unique story, signaling hope for a brighter future. 

“I feel if I can do something to make people smile, that will put a smile on my face as well,” said Tauber.

In the aftermath of the attacks, babies who lost a loved one received emotional and financial support.

Twenty years later, many still benefit from resources, academic scholarships and assistance through federal programs like the Victim Compensation Fund.

In New York, children of those killed or permanently disabled in the attacks, can receive free college tuition at all SUNY or CUNY schools.

Correction: The spelling of two names in this report have been updated.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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