Remembering the Heroes of Sept. 11 each and every day. We Will Never Forget!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Today We Remember Bernard Curtis Brown II
Today we remember 11-year-old Bernard Curtis Brown II of Washington, D.C., who was aboard American Flight 77 on Sept. 11.
Bernard was one of three exceptional middle-school students headed for a four-day educational adventure to the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary off the California coast, accompanied by their teachers. Each youngster was a star student. This unique adventure was a reward for that. They had a schedule full of exciting things to do: A boat trip to search for marine mammals and seabirds; the island hike to study native and introduced species; the kayaking above kelp forests to view sea caves, and much more.
Bernard Brown along with 2 classmates, Asia Cottom, and Rodney Dickens, from Leckie Elementary, climbed aboard the jets high on life, as only innocent children can be. Their last moments were filled with ghastly horror. Too young to comprehend evil, the Pokemon fan, the basketball fanatic and the Tweety Bird lover, were assassinated by terrorists on Sept. 11.
Bernard, praised for his spelling, drawing and zest for living, was one of 64 people aboard American Airlines Flight 77 that slammed into the Pentagon – the workplace of Bernard's father. He was clever, a quick wit, the kind of boy who kept his teachers on their toes. Estella Cleveland, who taught his fifth-grade class a year before Sept. 11 at Leckie Elementary School in Southeast Washington, loved him. "He was fun-loving," she said. "He was the joy of the class."
Bernard just loved basketball. He’d been playing since he was 7. He tried football, but he couldn’t, because of his asthma. He played soccer at 5. As he got older, he would just go out and shoot baskets. He usually got up Saturday morning, about 8 in the morning, and he’d just go outside and dribble, shoot. The goal was right outside our neighbors’ bedroom window. He would play by himself in the mornings, or his dad would go out and play with him. Sometimes his mother would, or his sister. The neighborhood kids would come and play once they got up. He always said he was going to be a star; that he was going to play professional basketball some day.
Sinita Brown, Bernard’s mother, recalls September 11:
"Everybody was calling me at my job because they knew my husband worked at the Pentagon”. A golf outing had Bernard Sr. out of the office that day. But Sinita Brown's relief quickly turned to grief when she learned it was her son's flight that hit the Pentagon.
As it turns out, Bernard Sr. had a serious heart-to-heart with his "happy, loving child" who was apprehensive about flying.
"To be honest," Brown told NBC, "we talked about death. And I just told him, 'Don't be afraid. … Just listen to what the people tell you, and the instructions. You'll be all right; you'll be fine.'
He said, 'Daddy, I’m scared,' and I said, 'Hey, don't be scared; don't be afraid to die. Because we are all going to die someday.'"
Unlike many 11-year-olds, Bernard "lived to go to school," according to his mother.
The ambitious basketball player had just purchased a pair of Air Jordan sneakers. He was wearing the treasured shoes on Sept. 11.