As soon as he was old enough to blow out candles, Lauchlan Ferris knew he had a special kind of birthday.
When he turned 1, in September 2002, he had an American flag cake. By the time he was 2, he knew that on the day he came into the world, bad people knocked down the two tallest buildings in the United States.
Every year since, he’s learned a little more. The boy who calls himself a wonder kid — “I always wonder why things happen” — watches shows about 9/11 on the Discover and History channels. He’s looked up stories online with Mom and Dad.
And every once in a while he pulls out the newspaper that his parents keep in their room, the one covering the events that unfolded the day he was born.
“I tell everybody, ‘I have a really, really special birthday,’?” says Lauchlan, a fourth-grader at Chouteau Elementary School in Kansas City, North. “And I tell them about that day, what happened to the towers.”
In September 2001, Tonya Hunsaker-Ferris knew she’d deliver her second child by C-section. Initially, the procedure was scheduled for Sept. 7. When that Friday wouldn’t work, a nurse called and said, “How about the 10th?”
“Then they said they couldn’t do it on the 10th and changed it to the 11th,” Hunsaker-Ferris says. And because that day is her dad’s birthday, she was good with that.
Lauchlan came into the world at 6:59 a.m.
Before long that morning, with her mind and eyes still groggy from the operation, she could see a commotion on the television. She remembers telling her husband, Ted, she didn’t understand what was going on.
“Honey, planes are crashing into buildings,” he told her.
For several hours, as they held their newborn, they kept their eyes on TV reports. Tonya also took calls from panicked employees at the Casey’s convenience store she managed. Cars were lined up into the streets waiting to get gas.
Around noon, the doctor came in and turned off the television.
“You know what, guys?” he told them. “I want you to focus on nothing but him and focus on the joy that did happen today.”
For the next several hours, there were no media reports, no talk of towers or terrorism. Just laughing and relaxing. And photos, lots of photos.
Lauchlan’s parents tell him he’s an angel, a child born on a day when other people died. He thinks about that.
“One thing I want to do in my life is meet someone who had someone die that day,” Lauchlan says. “Meet them and tell them, ‘I might have been his angel.’?”