Henderson Baker in the press briefing room at the Pentagon. (Photo: Suzanne Freeman)
Henderson Baker III's parents are in the Army his dad's a Lieutenant Colonel and his mom's a Major. So you'd think the 14-year-old from Fredericksburg, Virginia, would be destined for military life, right? Wrong, says Henderson.
"I just never really cared for it," he says. "I like what they do, and it's really interesting. It's just not for me."
Instead, buoyed by a love of airplanes and a knack for debating, Henderson says he wants to be a lawyer or an aerospace engineer. When he's not hitting the books, Henderson hits the gridiron as a member of Chancellor High School's junior-varsity football team.
During his first-ever visit to the Pentagon as a Scholastic News
reporter, Henderson got to drop in on his mom, Wanda, who works as a U.S. Army-Reserve personnel policy integrator. She's held the position since January, when she was hired to replace one of the several people in her office who was killed on September 11.
"The focus is on everyone healing, moving beyond what occurred on 9/11, but at the same time, taking time to continually remind the families of those who were lost that they are not forgotten," says Wanda.
Henderson admits that he worries about his mother's safety. After all, his family has already had a close call. His father was in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995.
"My husband was in the Oklahoma City bombing," says Wanda. "He was on the fourth floor and fell down to the first floor and was able to get up and walk out. He was a survivor."
Henderson's visit to the Pentagon is one he will not soon forget. As he walked through the building's countless corridors, the high school freshman received a valuable history lesson about America's military might.
"I liked when we went through the hallways for each of the branches of the military," he says. "It was very interesting. I learned a lot."
Read more about Henderson's visit in Inside the Pentagon Post 9/11