Mallory Whaley's most vivid memory of 9/11 is something that never happened. Her father, Tony Medved, was a firefighter in the New Lenox Fire Department. He had been trained in collapsed building search and rescue. He and a number of co-workers were going to head to New York after the buildings were hit by the planes.
But then he got an email from the New York Fire Department asking them to not come because they had enough help and no where to put anyone else.
"I remember going, six months later, to a memorial service at that he and a bunch of other firefighters had put together," Whaley said.
Perhaps nothing more than her age is what impacted Whaley the most.
She was a senior when the planes hit the towers and she was a freshman when Columbine happened.
“I feel like that was kind of a defining moment for people my age,” she said. “We were seniors in high school and we were supposed to be going out into the world and we were realizing that the world wasn’t that safe for us.”
The events of 9/11 and the days that followed might be part of the reason that she became a journalist.
"I had always liked and enjoyed reading newspapers," she said. "I would say that you sit at home you feel so helpless when bad things happen. I would say being a journalist helps you to go in there and get information."
One of the things she did in the days following the attacks was create a collage of newspaper headlines.
“In the days after it happened we were getting all the newspaper special editions,” she said. “I wanted to preserve them, but I wasn’t sure I would have the room to save all this stuff.”
“I figured making this collage would be the best way to preserve the memories of that day and the day after without cluttering my room.”
Editor's note: This story originally appeared in Channahon-Minooka Patch.