At nearly every stop in Daniel Walker McNeal's life, his brief, dynamic life is memorialized in some way.

The same portrait that hangs in his sister Kathleen Sheeler's Timonium living room hangs at Loyola Blakefield, where a scholarship is named for the former student body president.

The Daniel Walker McNeal Service Award is given annually to the graduating MBA student who "exemplifies the finest characteristics of a successful Georgetown graduate."

And at every dedication or memorial ceremony, a living tribute to McNeal is present — in the form of his nephew, Danny.


"Like" explorebaltimorecounty's Facebook page

Daniel Walker McNeal was killed when the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed on Sept. 11, 2011. On Aug. 20, 2002, Kathleen Sheeler gave birth to her first son, and named him after her late brother: Daniel Michael Sheeler.

Now 9 years old, Danny forges his own identity, while keeping the memory of his uncle alive.

Kathleen and Chris Sheeler never hid the truth about Uncle Danny from any of their children, including daughters McKenzie, 6, and Reese, 4.

They started slowly. First, they said Uncle Danny was killed when an airplane crashed into his building.

As their son got older, they divulged that bad people purposely flew the planes into the building, but were always careful not to tell him too much.

Now, Danny knows all about the hijacked planes and those responsible for the attacks. He's beginning to understand not only what happened to his uncle, but the ramifications it's had on the world.

When Kathleen recently mentioned the new airport security measures to Danny, who is a bit afraid to fly, his young mind began to race.

"I have a question," he interjected. "How did the people get on the airplane with guns?"

"They didn't have guns," his mother answered. "That's the thing, security back —"

"What'd they have?"

"They had what they call box cutters."

"What's that?"

"Just like small little knives, but —"

"They're allowed to bring those?"

"No, well —"

"Then how'd they do it?"