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Clay County woman’s relative was killed on 9/11, same day her son was born years later

For Sabina Escalada, the tragic date brings mixed emotions

A family from Oakleaf who in addition to losing a loved one on 9-11 are now celebrating a birthday on the same day.
A family from Oakleaf who in addition to losing a loved one on 9-11 are now celebrating a birthday on the same day.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Sept. 11, 2001, is a date that impacts all Americans, but the annual reminder is perhaps most painful for families that lost a loved one in the tragic events as they unfolded 20 years ago.

Sabina Escalada, a mother who lives in Oakleaf, lost her godfather on 9/11. John Cahill was on the jetliner that crashed into the second tower of the World Trade Center.

Escalada was living in Texas and at a high school band practice when it happened.

“Our band teacher came out and he was very somber,” said Escalada.

Escalada said Cahill’s death devastated her family. She said he was a frequent traveler and was going to visit his nanny, who was aging.

Cahill’s family was very close with her own. She has pictures of him holding her during her baptism in 1986.

Sabina Escalada at her baptism in the early 80s.

“Ever since then, it’s just been a tough day because now I have that personal connection to it,” Escalada said. “I always cringe when I see that video, because I know who’s on there. It’s my godfather.”

And as the years went by, the annual date was a painful one for their family. The date, however, took on a new meaning in 2019.

Escalada, who had gotten married, was expecting a baby.

The doctors told her the due date was Sept. 9. Escalada said they spoke with Cahill’s widow and there was concern the baby could be born on Sept. 11.

Escalada was determined to have her son before then.

But baby Raphael had other plans.

Escalada said she was ready to push on Sept. 10 at 11 p.m., but nurses told her to wait for the doctor.

The baby was born shortly after midnight on Sept. 11, 2019.

Sabina Escalada with her baby born on Sept. 11, 2019.

Escalada said her family has come to terms and now the date signifies two things for their family: remembering Cahill and celebrating Raphael’s birthday.

“Since then, that’s what 9/11 has meant to me,” Escalada said. “It’s a day of a lot of sadness but great joy, because we finally welcomed our baby boy into the world.”


About the Author:

Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.