It’s 9/11. It’s also my birthday. Freshman Gabi Rivera was born on Sept. 11, 2000.

15min

w.Crawford.Sept15min
These are support beams from the original Twin Towers that fell on 9/11. The beams stand in downtown Indianapolis at the location shown on the map graphic below. KYLE CRAWFORD // PHOTO

Born on Sept. 11, 2000, freshman Gabi Rivera celebrated her first birthday on the day of the infamous 9/11 attacks.

The black location icon shows where the tower beams are located in Indianapolis.
The black location icon shows where the tower beams are located in Indianapolis.

“What I know was (that) me and my mom were just at home, and I was a baby, and we were just celebrating, and my mom said that she got all these calls that something was happening, so she said that we just sat in front of the TV and watched the news about what was going on,” Rivera said.

She said even though her birthday is on Sept. 11, she still celebrates as if it were normal by going out to dinner with friends but still takes a moment to reflect upon the significance of 9/11.

w.Jacko.911bdaysgraphic.9.11“Most of the time, whenever I have my friends over, we’ll go out to dinner and then right before we eat, we’ll always pray, so then during that we always to remember the ones that were lost in 9/11,” Rivera said. “Every time that I do have my birthday, we always take just a moment to recognize that even though we are celebrating, we need to remember what happened on that day.”

According to her, people have made fun of her in the past for her birthday.

“Sometimes people think it’s weird, and sometimes people make fun of it just because that’s my birthday. They just laugh and say, ‘You must never have a good birthday,’ and stuff like that,” she said. “One time when we went out to dinner on my birthday, (people there) always ask if there’s any birthday celebrations, and when they said it was me, I just remember me and my friends were getting weird looks because we’re celebrating my birthday on such a sad day.”

Rivera said 9/11 should not be a hindrance to still celebrating her birthday.

“Some teachers in the past have said even though my birthday is on a sad day, it’s good that I can still have fun and that the tragedy doesn’t affect how I celebrate,” she said. “People shouldn’t judge me because even though my birthday is sad, I hope that people can recognize that I like to celebrate it because that’s the day I was born.”

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