Fruita girl understands why not everyone happy on her birthday

Maggie and Ken Ehmann.

Mariah Hanson of Fruita will turn 10 years old on Sept. 11 of this year. She was bon the day the World Trade Center towers were demolished by terrortists. When she was 1, she and her family were featured in a Daily Sentinel Westlife, which is on her lap. Mariah is holding a photo of herself as a newborn.

Little Demecio Avila turns 4 on 9/11. His mother Angela cringed when the doctor induced her on that date. Here he plays at Long Family Park.

Sweet and innocent, with freckles and a row of braces, Mariah Hanson just wants to have a fun birthday, but she knows not everyone is happy, particularly this year. Her mother has told her why.

On this day 10 years ago, not only was Mariah born with a full head of red hair, but “in New York, I think, a terrorist crashed into the Twin Towers, and a lot of people died or were injured and taken to the hospital. Then, they died at the hospital,” Mariah said, remembering the story she was told.

Mariah’s mother, Jonna Hanson, remembers the events of Sept. 11, 2001, vividly.

At 2:30 a.m. she was overcome with happiness at the birth of her baby girl. Several hours later, she awoke from a nap to horrific images on the television of people running from burning buildings.

“I couldn’t understand what was happening,” she said.

For the rest of the morning, reports indicated hijacked airplanes had crashed in New York City, Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania field. Thousands were dead. It was the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil.

“Some people ask me when my birthday is, and I tell them, and then they are a little weirded out,” Mariah said.

The Fruita girl is one of many people in western Colorado and eastern Utah who celebrate a birthday or anniversary on Sept. 11, a date forever linked to tragedy.

Not only does Loma’s Maggie Ehmann celebrate her 69th birthday today, she and husband, Ken Ehmann, also celebrate their 12th anniversary. Despite the fact today’s date is no longer synonymous with parties and celebration, Ken said he’ll never forget his wife’s birthday or their anniversary.

Grand Junction’s Michael McKinnon turns 30 today, but he remembers his 20th birthday like it was yesterday.

He awoke when his mother came into his bedroom and told him, “We are under attack.”

McKinnon turned on his TV and saw United Airlines Flight 175 crash into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

McKinnon rushed to class at Mesa State College, but it was “like a ghost town. I had never seen campus like that.”

Someday, 4-year-old Demecio Avila’s mother plans to tell her son about the historic event that happened on his birth date.

Angela Avila was home with her two oldest children when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a rural field about 30 miles away in Shanksville, Pa. In March 2002, the family of four moved to Grand Junction for a slower pace of life.

By September 2007, Angela was nine months pregnant with Demecio. However, during her exam several weeks before her Sept. 28 due date, Angela was told her high blood pressure was going to force doctors to induce labor.

A check of the schedule showed Sept. 11, 2007, was the only open date. Angela cringed.

“I didn’t want him to have the stigma with that date,” she said.

But what Angela quickly realized was that maybe a Sept. 11 birthday doesn’t have to be negative. Her husband taught her that.

“It was a blessing,” Angela remembers her husband telling her because, “This shows life goes on.”


Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Search More Jobs

734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050; M-F 8:00 - 5:00
Subscribe to print edition
eTear Sheets/ePayments

© 2017 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy