Hillary O’Neil rings in the New York Stock Exchange on 9/11


Hillary O’Neil ’19, who was born 14 years ago on 9/11, rang in the opening of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, Sept. 11, at around 9:30 a.m.

O’Neil, along seven other children born on 9/11, appeared at the exchange as a representative for the 9/11 Day organization.

Her presence served to commemorate both the tragic events that unfolded on that day as well as the spirit of unity that brought the country together in its aftermath.

“[When I was younger] I knew that something bad had happened on that day, but I did not realize the big impact it had,” O’Neil said. “I didn’t realize that everyone who had died had a family with them just because I was so young.”

The 9/11 Day organization was started in 2002 by David Paine and Jay Minuk with the goal of encouraging people across America to do at least one good deed on 9/11 in memory of the people lost on that tragic day. This good deed, according to Paine, could be anything from volunteering to simply helping out a sibling or a friend.

This year, the organization started to look for children who were born on 9/11 for a PSA they were putting together. After an application process, which included a Skype interview, they found O’Neil.

“The idea is to pass the torch on to the next generation of Americans who were born on or after 9/11,” Paine said.

O’Neil, for her part, has not only appeared in the organizations PSA, but also volunteered at City Harvest bagging Apples and ran a lemonade stand that donated all its profits to the local charity Al’s Angels.

“I feel like if [my birthday] wasn’t [on 9/11] I would not feel eager to take advantage of so many different opportunities,” O’Neil said.

As far as ringing in the stock exchange goes, O’Neil described it as simply, “really cool.”