9/11 anniversary: Scholarship named for young Pentagon victim, allows her legacy to live on


Michelle and Clifton Cottom had to deal with a tragedy that no parent should ever have to deal with. 

Their daughter, Asia, had her whole life ahead of her, but the 11-year-old, who won a National Geographic essay contest for D.C. public school students, was one of the children on board the flight that crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, WVEC reported

Asia was on her way for an educational trip to the Channel Islands in California on the day that would change everyone’s lives.

“I took her to the airport on September 11. Dropped her off. Said my goodbyes,” Clifton told WVEC.

He was listening to the radio on his drive to work. He heard that two planes had flown into the Twin Towers in New York City, then the Pentagon. 

He knew that it was his daughter’s plane

Asia was on American Airlines Flight 77.

>> Read more trending news 

According to the Pentagon Memorial, the flight had taken off from Dulles International Airport at 8:20 a.m. en route to Los Angeles. Radio communications with the flight ended at 8:51 a.m. Shortly after that time, it is believed that the hijackers took control of the plane over eastern Kentucky. It turned south, then east. The plane’s transponder, a tracker that relays the course, speed and altitude of the plane, was turned off at 8:56 a.m.

At 9:33 a.m., the Secret Service Operations Center in Washington, D.C. was alerted by the tower at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport that “an aircraft is coming at you and is not talking with us.” A minute later, the plane turned south, below Alexandria, Virginia, circled northeast, flying toward Washington D.C. At 9:37:46, Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon killing 184 people on the flight and those at the country’s military command. The youngest victim was 3 years old. The oldest was 71, according to the Pentagon Memorial.

As people looked for anything they could do to help families of victims, The Cottoms said they would get letters from around the world. Some had donations. and the donations were usually in some sort of denomination of 11. 

Asia was 11 years old when she died on 9/11.

Some contained as little as 11 cents. Others had much more, with Michelle and Clifton getting thousands upon thousands of dollars. 

A friend suggested starting a memorial scholarship in honor of their daughter, since Asia wanted to go to college.  

“For me to watch students grow was my way of being able to send Asia to college. Over and over and over again,” Michelle told WVEC.

In the 17 years since the Attacks on America, the Asia SiVon Memorial Scholarship Fund has helped 96 students get an education in science, math engineering and technology. It has given more than $260,000 so far.

For more on the scholarship, click here.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

Junk food linked to higher risk of cancer, study says
Junk food linked to higher risk of cancer, study says

It’s no secret junk food is bad for your health. In fact, too much of it can increase your risk of several diseases, including cancer, according to a new report. >> Read more trending news  Researchers from health institutions in France recently conducted a study, published in the PLOS journal, to explore the link between cancer...
Trooper on I-70 Fatal Crash: ‘You have no chance against a car like that’
Trooper on I-70 Fatal Crash: ‘You have no chance against a car like that’

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is asking anyone who has information about the fatal pedestrian strike on I-70 near South Vienna — to come forward. The accident killed a 51-year-old Columbus man, identified as Bradley Liebling. OSP Springfield Post Commander Lt. Brian Aller, said they do not have a description of the suspect or a description of...
Jury awards boy $30 million in botched circumcision; award could increase
Jury awards boy $30 million in botched circumcision; award could increase

A jury in Clayton County, Georgia has awarded a boy $30 million for a botched circumcision, and the award could rise even higher as deliberations continue. >> Read more trending news  The verdict came down in the first phase of deliberations Friday, and the jury is expected to deliberate over whether to grant punitive damages, according...
Man suspected of threatening President Trump arrested after 3-month manhunt
Man suspected of threatening President Trump arrested after 3-month manhunt

A fugitive suspected of threatening President Trump has been arrested by police after a three-month manhunt. Shawn Christy, 26, was taken into custody Friday afternoon, the U.S. Marshals Service told WPXI. The federal agency said Christy was arrested in Mifflin Township, near Columbus, by marshals and task force members from Ohio and Pennsylvania...
Springfield CultureFest: Festival’s foods offer taste of the world
Springfield CultureFest: Festival’s foods offer taste of the world

CultureFest offers a slice of more than 20 cultures in one location. To really experience it, just take a bite. Hot dogs, Hungarian cabbage rolls and mango lassi are just a sample of the diverse foods available at the 22nd annual CultureFest, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22 at City Hall Plaza. “Food is very much a part of CultureFest,&rdquo...
More Stories