On Sept. 11, 2001 Jason Walters was renting a posthole driller when he saw the television set. The Minneapolis police officer, who lived with his wife, Rebecca Kress, in St. Michael, knew his world had changed.
Little did he know, it would change again in less than 10 hours.
“We were in the middle of drilling the holes, and she hollered out the window that it was time,” Jason remembered. “I said, ‘Can it wait? We’re kind of in the middle of something.’ I was in shock from the whole series of events.”
Rebecca and Jason watched the events of 9/11 unfold on a television set in a hospital room, as Rebecca delivered their second child, Madelyn.
“It was surreal,” Rebecca said. “We focused on the joy of our day. But the grief for New York, it was there.”
Now set to celebrate her 10th birthday, a milestone, Maddie said she knows why here day is special, but not really why it all happened.
"I know they flew planes into buildings," she said.
“I kind of like that she’s naïve to it,” Jason said. “We never forget. She’s a constant reminder of that day. But she’s shed a positive light on Sept. 11 for us.”
Jason, of course, went back to a completely different job once he returned from a short paternity leave.
"It was unbelievably different," he said. "You had to train in all of these counter-terrorism things we hadn't had to do before. Then you had the anthrax scare soon after. It was a totally different world."
The family's situation has changed, as well. Rebecca and Jason have each since divorced, and both have found new partners. Both families live in the St. Michael-Albertville area, so they are able to spend time together with their kids.
"It's a big, blended family," Rebecca said. "We all work together to make the day special. I've always tried to make it her day, as much as I can."
Coverage from around Minnesota Patch:
Eagan: Eagan Resident Mike Ferber Hopes Memories of 9/11 Won’t Fade
Edina: Retired Army Vet Spurred to Re-Enlist Following 9/11 Attacks
Fridley: Demand Soared for Speakers on Islam after 9/11
Inver Grove Heights: VFW Commander: Sept. 11 Changed the Country
Lake Minnetonka: Remembering Wayzata Native Gordy Aamoth
Lakeville: Lakeville VFW Post Manager's Wife Working at Pentagon on Sept. 11
Minnetonka: 9/11 Memories From a Former New Yorker
Mendota Heights: Retired Mendota Heights Pilot Recalls ‘Paradigm Shift’
Northfield: Northfielder Will Never Forget His Birthday in Iraq
Oakdale: Terror and Joy Came Together for Oakdale Family
Richfield: 9/11 Aftermath: Richfield Couple Waits for Possible Deployment
St. Louis Park: 9/11 Attacks Made Being Muslim ‘More Difficult’