Born on 9/11/01, students entered the world just miles from Ground Zero

The worst day in American history was also the first day in the lives of Ashley Hyatt and Thomas Kling. They were both born on September 11th, 2001.

Hyatt was born at a hospital in Brooklyn.

"She had me at 7:15," said Hyatt. "She's looking out and she sees smoke."

Kling was in Manhattan.

"I was in the hospital, newly born, for about two hours in this world," he said. "A bunch of nurses, all the staff at the hospital had come in looking really panicked."

Both hospitals were just under five miles from Ground Zero.

"She said she picked me out of the bed and was holding me tight."

They'll turn 18 on Wednesday as students at Freedom High School in Tampa, which is named in the memory of 9/11. They're two of 49 Hillsborough County students born Sept. 11, 2001.

"It is my day, but it is not my day. Because we lost so many lives," said Hyatt.

All her life, she's heard stories of firefighters running up staircases, of soldiers taking fire in Baghdad and of Navy SEALS landing in a terrorist's compound. 

She plans on being an attorney, and helps lead Freedom High's ROTC.

"They were so brave and strong," said Hyatt. "I want to be as brave as them, and help other people."

Thomas loves music, but isn't sure exactly what he wants to do. He is sure what he wants to teach.

"It taught me a lesson of, even if there is a tragedy that is out of our control on an individual level, there is still a way we can at the very least spread kindness," he said.

Generation 9/11, the first that can't say it feels like yesterday, has officially grown up. They will turn 18 just as the list of names is being read at Ground Zero.

"When we hear how they talk about it, we can see how it kind of changed a lot in this country," said Kling.

Their school was being built when 9/11 happened, so plans for the original name were scrapped, and it became Freedom.

"It touches me," added Hyatt. "I cry all the time, every year, it gets harder and harder."