Project 2996, Part Deux
Asia SiVon Cottom knew that she was the luckiest girl on planet Earth. Life had been just about perfect from the time she was born on January 13, 1990.
She was eleven years old.
She had just started sixth grade at Bertie Mack Middle School, and that was perfect for two reasons. One was that her school specialized in computers, science, and math, all of her favorite subjects. The other and best reason was that her daddy worked in her school! He coached the basketball team and worked as an aide in the library and patrolled the halls. Some of her favorite times during the day were when she would walk down the hall with her best friend Natalie, and she would see her daddy and they would share a wave and a smile. It was even better because the other students liked him, too. She loved all of her classes, even the ones that were difficult, because that just meant she had to try harder. It was fun to get up every day, looking forward to school.
Then there was church. Randall Memorial Baptist Church. She loved God and she loved Jesus and she loved church. Every Saturday she had dance rehearsal and choir practice. Every Sunday she had Sunday School in the morning, and then for evening service, she would usher before service and then perform with the chaurch dance group and the choir. She loved her week-ends filled with God and singing and dancing.
She had the best family, ever. Her parents were her heroes. They were strict, but she knew they loved her. Her mom had a beautiful voice and always sang around the house and in church. She even loved her brother Isiah. She didn't always like him, especially when they were walking to the bus stop for school, but she loved him.
But absolutely the best thing, the thing that made her know that she was the luckiest girl on the planet Earth, was being picked for the National Geographic Society field trip to California! She was one of only three students chosen. They were going to the Channel Islands off the coast of Cailfornia to be part of the Sustainable Seas Expedition. They were going on a boat trip to look for marine animals and birds. They were going hiking on the island to study animals and plants. And they were going kayaking to look explore kelp forests and sea caves. She had to look kayaking up on the computer to find out what it was.
She was going on a plane, for the first time in her life. She was going to fly far away from her family for the first time. The thought was scary and exciting, but she wasn't really afraid, because mom and daddy were in her heart.
She was the first one up on Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001. It was a beautiful day outside. She skipped around the house singing to herself. She was all packed the night before. She dressed carefully in her favorite Tweety Bird shirt, and made sure she had her Tweety Bird purse. On the way to the airport she chattered nonstop. Her parents hugged her, kissed her, waved good-bye, and watched her disappear down the hallway.
American Airlines Flight 77 took off a short while later.
Asia Cottom was an intelligent, articulate girl who loved science and math and dreamed of becoming a pediatrician. She was adored by her close-knit family, and loved by her friends, schoolmates, and teachers. Her voice is still missed in the youth choir of her church.
Her mother told one of her teachers, "My baby got her wings today."