Almost immediately after Wade Cliett watched his son, Anthony, come into the world, he was called back to work.
In 2001, Wade was a police officer for the City of Lincolnton. He had taken Sept. 11 off so he could be at University Hospital, where Anthony’s mother, Amy, was getting ready to deliver.
The tragedy would soon divide his attentions.
The couple spent the night before in the hospital. Amy was past her due date, and doctors planned to induce labor. The next morning while she was delivering, a news flash on the hospital room TV showed planes crashing into the twin towers.
“It kind of changed everything,” Wade said. “I had one eye trying to watch him being born and the other eye watching the TV.”
When the first tower fell, everyone’s head turned. Wade said a prayer for the people on the ground. Twenty minutes after Anthony was born, Wade got a phone call. Everyone was being ordered back to work.
Officers held a department meeting to review local targets that could be attacked. They patrolled until after midnight. Once the immediate threat was thought to have passed, Wade was released. He headed straight back to the hospital.
“I couldn’t get the picture of him out of my mind,” Wade said.
Anthony is his dad’s hunting and fishing buddy and has already collected stories about the big buck they spooked, the 9-pound catfish he caught and the gar that got away.
His older sister, Holly, 15, bickers with him when he’s there, misses him if he’s gone and “doesn’t let anybody mess with him” either way.
Anthony wants to be an Army sniper or special operations officer when he grows up “because I need to protect my country,” he said.
Anthony’s grandmother, Louise, said being born on Sept. 11 means great things are in store for him.
“I feel that God had given him to us during that terrible time,” she said.