Columbia family celebrates daughter’s birthday on 9/11

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Blue Springs High School/Kansas City, Mo.
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COLUMBIA — Most associate 9/11 with tragedy, but the Byergo family of Columbia has fond memories of that day.

It was the day Anna Byergo was born.

When Anna grows up, the 9-year-old wants to be a horseback riding instructor, elementary school teacher and photographer. Anna seems shy at first, but when her little sister, Ella, starts goofing off and imitating animals, Anna opens up. She follows her mother’s positive outlook on life with a carefree attitude and a smile.

Amy Byergo, Anna’s mother, said when people hear Anna’s birth date, their initial reaction is “Ohhh…”

Family and friends from 10 years ago call when Sept. 11 rolls around.

“People remember her birth being a really special moment; everyone was watching the news, and when I called with the news of

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Anna, it was a bright point in their mornings,” Amy Byergo said.

Many special events that fall on 9/11 are not celebrated as often as they once were.

“Not too many people I come across plan their wedding on that day because it is still such an emotional day,” wedding planner Michelle Dobbins said.

Travel habits also changed for a while. Travel agent Paula Thomas said it took some time for Americans to feel comfortable flying the week of 9/11 again.

“The first two years people were very conscious about flying around Sept. 11,’’ Thomas said. “Now, 10 years later, people are feeling more secure about it.”

Steve Boyd of Lari’s Fernwood-Park Manor flower shop said that although weddings tend not to be on 9/11 anymore, people continue to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays that fall on the date.

“People aren’t just going to stop living; if that is their birthday or anniversary, they will continue to celebrate it that day,” Boyd said.

In the Byergo household, Ella has a birthday that falls on Oct. 3.

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The girls usually celebrate their birthdays by sharing a party in late September.

Amy Byergo’s former co-workers and friends remember to tell Anna happy birthday almost 10 years later.

The Byergos were consumed in the birth of their first child and didn’t know the events of Sept. 11 were occurring until their obstetrician, Elizabeth Wilson, walked back into the room.

“[Wilson said] ‘I will never forget where I was when the Byergo baby was born,”’ Amy Byergo said.

Shortly after a nurse came in and shared with the Byergos the terror that was unfolding, Amy Byergo wanted to stay positive, so she didn’t allow the news to be on in her hospital room. Her family lives in Columbia; her husband, Scott, had family in Tipton, and all came to see Anna.

“They were in the waiting room watching this tragedy take place live,’’ Amy Byergo said. “I’m sure by the time they got to see baby Anna, they

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all had mixed emotions.”

On 9/11, America experienced a stunning tragedy. But that day also brought joy to the Byergo family.

“I think Anna’s birth really just reminds me, our family and people we know that even though 9/11 was such a tragedy, there are still beautiful blessings that come every day,” Amy Byergo said.