As the World Trade towers were crumbling, Peter Lopez of North Babylon was coming into the world. On Friday, the 14th anniversary of the attacks, he turns 14 -- and he's been invited to help ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange to mark a nationwide 9/11 Day of Service.
Two dozen teens who share the birthday of 9/11/2001 were called upon this year to serve as "ambassadors" for the Day of Service. In addition to eight of them ringing the Stock Exchange bell, they are all featured in a public service announcement airing at 911day.org, the website for an event that encourages everyone to do a good deed.
More than 13,000 U.S. babies were born on Sept. 11, 2001. Peter was born at 9:51 a.m. in Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip. Having 9/11 as a birthday has been good -- how can a birthday be totally awful? -- and bad, Peter says. "It could be bad because it was a sad day for a lot of people," he says.
Jay Winuk, who grew up in Jericho and whose brother, Glenn, was killed trying to help on the day the towers fell, is a co-founder of the 9/11 Day of Service. He says involving the kids who were born that day helps show "the other side of 9/11."
"We want future generations to know about not just the attacks but all the good that rose up. I don't mean for days but for months and months after," he says. "The kids born that day -- and future generations -- aren't old enough to remember the devastation, but they can carry on the kind of selflessness that that day sparked," he says.
For more information, visit 911day.org.