Asia SiVon Cottom
Asia SiVon Cottom was born on January 13, 1990. Asia started at a young age packing in as much living as possible. As a toddler, she crawled only briefly – so briefly that Michelle (her Mother) can’t even remember-because she started walking early, at nine months of age. Asia was an extremely active child. She loved bowling, dancing, putt-putt golf, swimming, jumping rope, biking, skating, rollerblading, and soccer. She also loved all the girly-girl things such as nail polish, dresses, purses, lip gloss, perfume, jewelry, Barbie dolls, and Tweety Bird. Her parents describe her as a wonderful child, a born leader, who was very outgoing and had many friends. Her parents knew she was destine for success. At only 11 years of age she loved reading, math, science and computers and hoped to be a pediatrician when she grew up.
Her parents, Clifton and Michelle Cottom, were so proud that Asia had been chosen to go on a four-day National Geographic field trip to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in Santa Barbara, California. The plan was for her to take part in one of the America’s premier undersea projects-the Sustainable Seas Expedition. It was an incredible honor to be chosen. Asia was selected for the trip because she was a good and eager student, she had a bright and energetic personality, and she possessed excellent communication skills.
In the days leading up to her departure, she asked her parents several questions about the National Geographic Society, its projects, marine biology, and pacific ecosystems. If they were unable to answer her questions, she turned to the Internet to search for the information. That’s the kind of girl she was: inquisitive, intelligent, energetic, and full of life.
Asia was one of three exceptional students who had been chosen to go on the four-day National Geographic field trip. Accompanied by her teacher Miss Sarah M. Clark, they were flying from Washington, DC to Santa Barbara, California to go to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Asia and her teacher never made it to their destination. Asia SiVon Cottom, 11, was one of three DC Public School students who died on American Airlines Flight 77 when it crashed into the Pentagon on the morning of September 11, 2001.
The Cottom’s whole world changed on that day. No parent imagines losing a child and no parent is prepared to move on in life without them. Dealing with the loss of their daughter was indescribable for Clifton and Michelle Cottom. In the days and weeks following 9/11 they were amazed by the outpouring of support, even from complete strangers, in the form of cards, letters and money. They began to wonder what to do with the funds, and finally decided to honor their daughter’s memory in a way that highlighted her academic achievements: by establishing a scholarship in her memory.
As part of their healing and Asia’s legacy, they are very proud of the establishment of the Asia SiVon Cottom Memorial Scholarship Fund (ASC). Because of generous contributions, the scholarship awards have helped numerous students on their journey to becoming our future leaders and innovators. Their goal is to continue to grow the Scholarship Fund and assist as many aspiring students reach their dreams of attending higher education as possible. Asia Cottom’s family believes that by helping today’s youth become tomorrow’s leaders, they are helping to preserve Asia’s memory as well as make the world a better place for the future. Asia’s death is not in vain; her life continues to touch others through this scholarship program.
Isiah Batey, Asia’s Brother
The day my sister passed, I thought the world ended. I was coming home from school on the bus, and with the unusually heavy traffic, it took me five hours to get there. When I get home, I see everyone in front of my house and I am thinking we are having a party. I didn’t know what was going on. Then my mom and dad took me upstairs and told me what happened.
I said, “I don’t want to hear no more.” I dropped to my knees and started praying.
Asia and I had fun with each other. I’m six years older than her, but we played together a lot. We also fought like normal brothers and sisters. She made me do things with her I didn’t want to do … like playing dress up and playing with Barbie dolls. She would even get me dressed up like a princess, complete with pink clothes and a crown on my head! If I would protest, she would say, “You gotta do this now or I will call Mommy.” But, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it every time. We would play house. We would put the Barbies in the cars and ride them around. We played Double-Dutch. We also played hide-and-seek in the house and outside.
When Asia passed, I created music for her. I had to do something because at the time I was mad. I was mad at the whole thing that happened. Creating music was a way for me to deal with my pain. I didn’t want that to happen to her. I didn’t want my sister to die.
A couple of months after 9/11, I was just sitting in my house one day and I overheard something on the news about that awful day. The news reports come on unexpectedly, and it brings me right back. Those feelings of being right back amidst the awful tragedy.
To Asia, A Poem from your brother Isiah
Alicia Keys sings songs from the heart
America is falling apart
I wonder why people going to war
It remind me that happen before
I fell in basketball got a sore
We need to stop it make me sad
I think of Jesus it makes me glad
I will never forget Asia SiVon Cottom
My mom had to sit her on her bottom
Sometimes I can’t watch TV anymore
Because it’s an eyesore
I PRAY FOR IT TO BE OVER!!!!
Back then, to be honest, during that moment of time I didn’t know how to express myself. I kept saying why is this going on? I would say to God that I wished He would fix this. I would ask my mom the same thing, and she would tell me there is no answer for it. This is just something that we can’t do anything about.
My sister Asia was a loving, caring person. She was never afraid to do anything. She was happy with herself. And the best part is that she loved me just the way I am. If Asia were still here I would want her to go to school and to do whatever she wants to do. I’m still here and I get to do all of those things that she never got to do. Sometimes I just want my best friend with me. No one knew her like I did.
LOVE FOR ASIA
Asia had many friends in her short life, a few of those friends share their thoughts and memories about her.
I believe that in that last hour, or however long it may have been, the real Asia that none of us knew stood up and out of that human body and declared that all who believed Jesus Christ to be the Son of God shall be saved. For as it was given to me, so have I given unto you that if you would confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, you shall be saved. Yes, I believe today on that plane, at that time, the real you that was only “given once for all” stood as did Christ on the cross and was salvation to one, if not some, of the terrorists who said “I know that we are about to die, but when you come into your kingdom, remember me.” I believe that maybe one of the terrorists knew who you really were and said surely this was a true child of God and others also said that she is being once given for all. For on that day, thousands got saved. On that day what satan intended for evil, God intended for good. And now as I look back on this whole situation, I am left to wonder if satan had really known that you were on that flight, would he had changed his plan. And if he knew it, did he really know truly who you were and what your mission on earth was. I wonder if your parents, family, and church family were like Jesus’ family, not knowing who you really were and that on 911 you were to be about your Father’s business, the given, once for all.Bishop Earl A. Ross
Asia was the same age as my oldest son Lawrence but she was partners-in-crime with my youngest son, Matthew. They both loved to tease their older brothers and they were good at it. My sons spent Asia’s last summer with her at Backus so we saw her every day. She loved my Venture with the automatic sliding passenger door. Every day she would jump in and say Ms. Deborah I am going home with you. At night she really did not understand why she could not sleep with the fellows. September 11th changed how we feel about this country and took away the security we felt about the safety of our home. It took the life of a precious young girl, on the verge of becoming a woman with all her dreams and aspirations from us….I was Ms. Deborah to Asia but to me she was one of my children.DEBORAH Y. PULLIAM
I remember our Youth & Young Adult choir days. The Three Musketeers: Natalie, Asia and Myself, all anxious yet excited to sing our Soprano note during the bridge of Rock of Ages “…The Lord God Is My Rock, He Is The Hope Of My Salvation!” I remember our stories, our secrets, our giggles and our laughter, but most most importantly I’ll ALWAYS remember her. She was beautiful, she was pleasant, she was entertaining and above all, she was a child of God. I love you Asia!!!!!MONEICK TABRON
Many children have passed through New Smyrna but none have touched lives the way Asia did. Yes we do remember the way she died. But more significantly we remember her because of the way she lived. She was ever present; she flitted about with purpose, always going from one person to another laughing, talking, and making herself known. It was as though she was engraving her memorial personally in our minds and in our hearts. One moment you would see her with her own age group; then you would find her sitting among the teens and young adults; then listening and helping the Mothers of the church; and finally running out the side door having been summoned by one of her parents so that they could make their way home. And this is the way I remember her… preparing to take the trip of a life time.D.L. ROSS
What I always remember is when Asia and I went to the skating ring on Branch Avenue, she was younger then and we had the best time ever skating and laughing and just enjoying each other, yes at the age of xxxxxx I was still skating, I am just sorry that I did not have a chance to spend more time with the greatest great niece in the whole wide world. Love you baby girl.MITZI THORNTON
I remember Asia smiling and laughing she was a happy little girl who was taken away to soon. She is missed and never will be forgotten.Beverly Page
When I think of Asia I see joy, sunshine, and excitement. A beautiful flower dancing in the garden bringing forth light.Betty Tanner
Asia, a bright star. I will always miss her smile, her laughter and her playfulness. I will never forget the hugs of welcome when ever enter the house, “Hi, Uncle Vic.” I miss that, and I will always miss her, with much love.Uncle Vic
9-11 took my niece Asia, a special child who always greeted me with a broad smile and those bright eyes behind those glasses, “I miss that. “She was what I called a ”Little Old Lady”, because she seemed to know so much at her young age and was always inquisitive and seeking more knowledge and on 9-11 she was taking a trip to seek more. She spent her last Thanksgiving at my home.Uncle Reggie
Asia represented the optimism and hope that children who have been loved, nurtured and untainted by society possess. She always wore a smile, thought nothing in life was beyond her grasp, and understood that the sometimes stern nature of adults was only for her benefit. She was joy, hope, promise, and happiness. That big smile represented the reason every teacher, coach, mentor, and/or sponsor has chosen to work with children.Staci ‘Thomas’ Payne
The first thing I noticed about Asia when I met her in church was her big smile and bubbly personality. I instantly knew she was going to be a part of my life and be one of my best friends. From singing right next to each other in the choir, ushering, riding together to all church engagements and trips, we were stuck to each other like glue. Asia always considered me in all of her plans even outside of church. She made sure that I met and knew who her school friends were because she considered me to be a true best friend, and not just a church friend. Asia was such a thoughtful and caring person. Even when we had sleepovers and played with our Barbie’s in her doll house, she would always let me have the biggest room in the house and let me drive her Barbie’s corvette! I will always love and cherish Asia, and will miss that big smile of hers, and the laughs we shared. I’m just thankful to have met her and grateful for the memories I have to keep. But above all, I’m honored that God allowed me to be her best friend.Natalie Washington
Asia was a very sweet and a very loving little girl. She always greeted you with a great big old smile on her face. She meant as much to me as my own daughter, not to hear her play and laughter anymore has left a hole in my heart. I loved to see her interact with her father, it seemed like they were in a world of their own when they shared play time together. She and her mom were inseparable, (she didn’t always like getting her hair done though)…. My thoughts on 9/11, was a day of awaking, a day of the entire nation coming together to grieve for those they didn’t even know, a day you really learned the true meaning about the hearts of men and women in America.Sabrina Neal
Hello Angel, this is your aunt Jackie who misses you so much. Missing your pleasant and sweet smile. Your presence is forever close to my heart even though you’ve been gone for so long. I longed very much for the day I see you, my mother and all family members who are already there with you. Love you always, Aunt Jackie West.Jacqueline West
“I will ALWAYS remember Asia’s smile and welcoming personality. She genuinely loved children and provided my niece with many happy Sundays.
Asia inspired many to excel and embrace one another’s uniqueness. Her life exemplified the fruit of the Spirit. What the enemy thought he took will NEVER die! The lessons of acceptance and truth will be echoed through my Ministry work and in daily life.”Seretha Renee Pearsall
Some time ago while I was sitting at my desk at work, Asia’s face flashed before me. I was startled at first because it wasn’t her birthday or the anniversary of her death. I’m not really sure why out of nowhere did she come into my spirit. The only explanation I could possibly give is because God knew I would have to take the time to think about her and everything she meant to me and put it all on paper. Asia was the type of child you could not ignore. She was going to make sure you saw her and that you acknowledged her. She was wise beyond her years. Some would say she had an “old soul”. I was dubbed her unofficial “godmother” and she made me live up to that title. She would follow me home from church not even caring what her mother or father had planned. She made sure that where I was so was she. That girl was something special to me and even as I pen this the tears are welling up in my eyes because I miss her so much.Nicole Green
I used to live in Germany with my wife Ingrid and my daughter Maxine. When I would come back to the states I would fly to Washington DC first to see my sister and her family then on to my home state of Ohio to see my mother. Asia would always meet me at the door yelling at the top of her lungs, UNCLE MICHAEL!! And the entire time I was there she wouldn’t let me out of her sight which kind of made my daughter jealous. They would argue then be friends the next minute, I took her to Ohio with me and the whole way she was learning to speak German from Max and Ingrid. She was ten then and Maxine was nine. I never saw her again after that visit, she’s probably still watching me now.Michael Hargrove
I have always had a special bond with the Cottom Family. Michelle and I bonded when we both joined the Praise Team at the same time. While Brother Cottom, Isiah, Asia and I bonded over food. Between services at the Sargent Road location of Randall Memorial Baptist Church, we would run up the street to Casa de Cottom for the infamous Brova Cottom Salmon Cakes. I’m sure there were other food items too but there was nothing like the salmon cakes. The bond for food along with the friendship and fellowship has remained throughout the years.
When the Randall Memorial moved to their current location, we continued in the fellowship over food. From time to time, we would have potluck meals and one of the highlights was a meal that consisted of chicken and Mac and Cheese. What many people didn’t know was that Asia and I were “in” with the cooks, especially her Grandmother Pearl. Every week, they would slip us samples before everyone else or we would get all of the extras that few people got. Asia and I would make eye contact and “operation sneak a snack” was in full effect. If it could fit in a paper towel or a napkin, we had it!
On Saturday, September 8, 2001, Koinonia Fellowship Ministries was occupying the Sargent Road location. It was back to school time so it was customary for us to hold our annual “School Supplies Giveaway”. We would invite the school-aged kids in the neighborhood to come by and get free supplies as well as hot dogs and hamburgers. Along comes Asia on her bike, smiling and singing to the music playing. She jumps off the bike and gives me a hug. I laugh and tell her that she is almost as tall as I am. “Ms. Renee, guess what? I am going to California with my school.” I replied as I handed her a hot dog “No you’re not. School just started.” “Yes I am. My teacher is taking us.” Now I need more information. I need to know where was she going and how long would she be gone? Who is going to feed my baby? I know that Clifton and Michelle are her parents, but I needed more details because Asia was “my girl”. Of course all Asia had was the important information…which was “she was going!” At this point, the hamburgers were almost done but they were missing the cheese. So, to get more information about the trip, I promised her the first cheeseburger IF she went up the street to “sneak” some cheese and get me some more details about the trip. Needless to say, Asia got the first cheeseburger and I got details about the upcoming trip sponsored by the National Geographic Society.
I was sitting at my desk on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 when my life as I knew it shook…permanently. Although I made it out of the building physically unharmed, it took several hours for me to get near home. The phone lines were jammed and I could not get in contact with my biological family but somehow, I ended up at the Cottom’s house. We all embraced each other because they were worried about me. When the phone rang and the word came about the plane, no words can express the pain I felt. I kept thinking while weeping that they were worried about me. How could that be? What I discovered in life is that when you are in covenant relationship with someone, you are there for each other in good and bad times…when you have something to say or when your presence speaks for you. I could not find words to comfort the Cottoms, but then I didn’t need to. Michelle who never let go of her faith said it for all of us. My baby got her wings today! I took comfort in knowing that Asia now had an aerial view and that she now watches over us. I thank God for allowing my little buddy Asia who was nearly the same age as my children to touch my life in such a special way.Renee Castleberry
Asia was a true extension of family. She became a habitual part of my existence. I always knew when I would see her and where I would see her, and I always took for granted that I would be able to look at her and she would make me smile and bring joy to my heart. On “that”day, I was sitting in the National Fire Academy and was ordered to report back to the City. As soon as I returned, I was ordered respond to the Pentagon. I spent 26 hours at the Pentagon just to finally make it home and find out that God had called Our angel home. I was devastated and heartbroken. She may have been taken away from us physically, but she has cemented the existing bond and the love between our families and will be in our hearts and minds forever! I thank God for the years we shared with her and for giving us our own Guardian Angel!Darryl Green
Asia was my heart a very sweet and respectful young lady & always had a smile on her face. I remember she would always ask me can “I come with you to your grandma’s house.” When I had got the call I was really sad and hurt by it. A young lady gone to soon.Erika Tanner
Although my time in Asia’s life was not as major as most, the wonderful impact she made on my life and that of my family was beautiful and so sweet. The privilege I had of caring for her taught me unconditional love for a child not my own, as well as how to extend that love freely. She possessed a strength that was phenomenal for someone so young and my heart still aches from her not being with us. May God keep her in His loving bosom until He allows us to meet again. Always love her; forever in my heart. Sheila LoveSheila Love
That big beautiful smile from ear to ear, I sometimes wonder, “What would you be doing if you were still here?” That strong personality, that boldness in your voice, God wanted you in 2001, but that was His choice. It comforts us all to know who you reside with. We love and miss you Asia, you were truly one of God’s gifts.Aunt Nancy and Cousin Stephanie
First off I want to start by saying to KNOW her was to LOVE HER!! She had such a BEAUTIFUL SMILE! The kind that you couldn’t help falling for. I’ll never forget that I was about 8 or 9 yrs old and my mom was babysitting Asia and everyday I’d come home from school she would be just waking up from her nap. My mother at the time was pregnant with my little brother and was always on a routine schedule. So she was serious about nap time lol. This one particular day as usual I came home (quietly) expecting Asia and my mom to be sleep, to my surprise Asia was sitting up on the couch chilling looking as if she’d just woke up my mom was still asleep. So I went to pick her up and she smelled like she had really enjoyed her lunch!?? I didn’t want to wake my mother so I decided to change her diaper myself. Yep she was my very first diaper change and even though it was poop I was TOO EXCITED LOL. I was all done and had had Asia on my little hip (9 yrs old ) and my mother then woke up and as routined was about to change and give Asia her snack. I said “Oh I changed her already” my mother (shocked mad look on her face) said “What! Give her here!”. She went to check and to her surprise I had done everything right! Of course that started something because then my mother ran it in the ground. Even when my little brother finally arrived. Asia was TRULY loved and is deeply missed!!! And as my mom stated I will continue to cherish the memories until we meet again! Love Always, Diamon (LadyBug)Diamon Love
Asia Cottom, who now is my ANGEL had a spirit of love, a smile of concern and a heart of GOLD. All of that together even through her death she has touched us all. Asia is still bridging families, and friend near and far. Asis was my God-Daughter, shot gun rider to places that are still between she and I. As sad as it was for me on 9/11, I thank GOD for the time that I had. For all that know and love the lord as ASIA did know that her job had been done. For everyone one she touched that day, her spirit forever changed each of us. Asia, I love today just as I did 23 years ago. Continue to R.I.P. BabygirlLaMarsha Williams