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Bittersweet Return: Family Links Gifted Voice To 9/11 Legacy In National Anthem Performance

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A Long Island teenager had the honor of singing the national anthem in lower Manhattan to mark the 9/11 anniversary.

This high school student wasn't even born before that tragic day, but having her sing at this memorial was truly coming full circle for her family, reports CBS2's Cindy Hsu.

Kassidy Rieder turned 17 years old last week, and while she was born the year after the 9/11 attacks, her mother Nancy Collins was a New York City police officer.

She helped search for bodies from September to January, after which she was surprised to learn she was pregnant.

"I didn't know I was pregnant, next thing you know - oh my God, I've been down at the Trade Center for all these months breathing the air, lived in Manhattan, so I was a little concerned," said mother Nancy Collins. "We were overjoyed we had no idea."

Everything turned out fine, and when Kassidy was around 8-years-old, her mom noticed she could sing.

"I was driving in the car and she was singing something from church and I pulled over and I can't say what I actually said," said Nancy. "I was like, maybe she can sing."

That's when Kassidy started lighting up the stage.

She went on to talent shows and performances, and three years ago was accepted into the Juilliard pre-college program.

When she was chosen to sing the national anthem, her whole family came with her including her grandfather, an FDNY lieutenant who served for nearly 30 years.

Kassidy Rieder's National Anthem At The 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony

She was able to keep her composure until she left the stage and saw her 84-year-old grandfather.

"I came to my grandfather who was tearing up and that's when I started having tears in my eyes," said Kassidy.

It was also an emotional day for Kassidy's mother. This is the first time she's come back to the World Trade Center site since she left 18 years ago.

"I don't know if I'd come back again because it still brings back a lot of memories I'm very proud of her and it was a bittersweet moment," said Nancy.

"This is about honoring those who are lost, the people who are here have support and love," said Kassidy.

Kassidy is a senior at Long Island high school for the arts, and her dream is to make it to Broadway.

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