WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As a nation, September 11, 2001, will always represent a dark day in our history. But for a member of the WWAY family, it has a much different meaning.
For “5th Quarter” co-host Trot Nixon and his wife Kathryn it was the day their lives changed forever in a good way, even though the terrorist attacks kept them from sharing a very special experience.
In September 2001, Nixon was about to wrap up his third full season as the Boston Red Sox starting right fielder. Trot and Kathryn were also about to become parents for the first time.
Having just finished off a three-game series against the rival Yankees in New York, the Red Sox headed south to Florida for a series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
“Just as I got to my hotel room, Kathryn called me,” Trot recalled recently. “I knew when the phone rang it had to be her. She said, ‘I think it’s time. I think it’s time.'”
Kathryn said, “He said, ‘Are you sure? Are you sure?’ Because we already had a false alarm with me rushing over because I thought I was in labor. He was like, ‘Are you sure?’ ‘Yes. It’s time.'”
That time came the morning of September 11, 2001. Without any hesitation Trot decided to fly to Boston to be with Kathryn.
“We’d been looking forward to this day, so I got something to eat and boarded the plane,” he said. “Excitement was in the air.”
But there was far more than the Nixons’ excitement in the air.
“The pilot come on the air and said, ‘We’re going to have to have an emergency landing. We’re going to have to land in Norfolk,” Trot said.
The unplanned stop in Virginia meant Trot would likely miss the birth of his son Chase.
“I knew Kathryn was in good hands at the hospital with the doctors,” Trot said. “Some of my teammates’ wives were even there with her.
“I broke down, because, I remember even talking to my mom, I was like, ‘I’m not even gonna be there for the birth of my son.’ Then I started to become angry, because you started hearing things that this was a terrorist attack with Washington, New York and over the skies of Pennsylvania. People were attacking us, and now I started to get furious, because now we have people who hate America coming in and doing this stuff. I was probably being selfish, because I wanted to be there for the birth of my son and these guys prevented me from doing that.”
Other than military planes, all flights were grounded. President George W. Bush shut down air traffic across the country.
“They hadn’t told kathryn anything,” Trot said. “I told the doctor that I had to tell her what was going on because she will wonder why I’m not there.”
“When Trot called me, I could sense something was really wrong, because he was crying, and I was like, ‘What is going on? What’s happening?'” Kathryn said. “He told me there was a terrorist attack, but he didn’t tell me the magnitude of it.”
Trot ended up driving from Virginia to Boston on September 11. That meant driving through Washington, DC, and around New York City. Roads leading into New York were all closed.
For kathryn, an already emotional day intensified. Early in the afternoon of 9/11, Chase nixon was born.
“God really gave me the strength to get through it,” Kathryn said. “My mom was right there with me, and Bitsy (Hatteberg, wife of Red Sox catcher Scott) was with me, my good friend.”
But Trot missed the birth arriving around 4 the next morning.
“There were tears,” Tort said. “There was relief. There was anger. There were a lot of emotions to go through that day.
“What people don’t realize is the kids that were born on 9/11, not just Chase, were like a bright light in people’s lives, because of all the horror you saw on TV and read in the papers. I think every kid born on this day and every day are going to have an impact on this world whether we realize it or not.”
While the nation came to grips with what was lost, the Nixons welcomed their 7 pound 11 ounce baby boy.
As the country commemorates the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Chase Nixon turns 10 years old.
“Just recently we talked to Chase about it,” Trot said. “I wanted him to be able to ask us what really happened on that day and what we’ve done about it as a country.”
“It was hard to tell him,” Kathryn said, “but him knowing that’s he’s very special and such a gift made all the difference.”
“A lot of people have asked us, ‘Do you think he’s gonna feel like why did this have to happen on my birthday?'” Trot said. “But Chase, if you know him, you realize that would be the last thing he would ever think about. He’s a great kid. He plays well with others. He loves sports. A good kid in school.”
“We’re really blessed,” Kathryn said.
Chase Nixon made a grand entrance into the world 10 years ago. Today he is a big brother. Luke will be 7 years old soon. His nickname is “Lukey Charms,” because the Boston Red Sox won the World Series four weeks after his birth.
For the Nixons 9/11 has a dual meaning. They even have a few reminders in their Wilmington home about this important day in our country’s history.
“One of my favorite gifts that a friend gave to Chase a couple weeks after he was born was this little firefighter, and it just was a precious little toy, but it was a little firefighter,” Kathryn said. “It made you think of those who lost their lives and had done that for us.”
“It woke some of us up,” Trot said, “saying this was our home, and this is our country and I’m very proud and blessed to be here.”