Area boy takes part in 9/11 program

WELLSBURG – For many, Sept. 11, 2001, is the day on which terrorists flew airliners into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, killing thousands while many others aboard Flight 93 were killed while thwarting an attempt at a third attack.

For Max Camilletti, a sixth-grader at Wellsburg Middle School, it was the day he was born.

Max and children from throughout the U.S. who share the same birthdate appeared at a dinner in New York to raise funds for a planned 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and he was chosen to present an award to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, who has lent $15 million for the project, was presented the 9/11 Memorial and Museum Visionary Distinction Award at the event, which was held in the grand ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

“It was fun but nerve-racking at the same time,” said Max, who delivered a brief speech as he presented the award before hundreds of people.

He said he didn’t know until a few days before the program that he would be speaking at the ceremony and memorized the speech with the help of his parents, Steve and Judi.

Max and the other children on hand were among 50 pictured in “Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11,” a book compiled by Christine Naman of Monroeville, Pa.

Naman, whose own son was born on 9/11, has said in various interviews that she got the idea to produce the book to show that not everything was dark on that day.

Though his family is from Wellsburg, Max actually represents Ohio in the book because his parents were living in Hilliard, near Columbus, then.

Judi said she had given birth to Max early that morning and was calling family to announce his birth when she learned of the terrorist attacks, the first of which occurred at about 9 a.m.

“I knew something was going on because all of the doctors and nurses were at the nurses’ station, watching TV,” she said.

Judi said she is among parents of children born on 9/11 who believe “there’s a special reason they were born that day.”

Naman has said she used the Internet to seek out other children born on 9/11.

Judi said when Naman approached her about including Max in the book, “Right away I said, what an honor because she said she wanted it to be a positive thing.”

In Naman’s first book, she wrote hopes for each child, from the routine – “I hope to do somersaults” – to the more spiritual – “I hope to help others.”

Judi said Max and the other children were asked to share their future goals for a follow-up book, “Faces of Hope: 10 Years Later.”

Max, who enjoys playing football and wrestling, said he would like to become an engineer and develop an automobile that runs on alternative fuel, a goal he still has.

The Camillettis have donated copies of both books to the Brooke County Public Library.

Sadly, not all of the children in the book will fulfill their goals. Christina Taylor Green of Tucson, Ariz., was killed in the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting in which Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot.

Judi said attending the event in New York was a positive experience. Among the many guests were actor Robert DeNiro, who is a member of the 9/11 Memorial board; and a firefighter and two others who were inside the World Trade Center when it collapsed.

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