Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11

Today, in school, we took some time to remember the events that took place in our country on September 11, 2001.  One of the things that struck me this morning was that our oldest students were only 2 years old and our youngest students weren't even born at the time of the horrific attacks.

Below you will see what I read in school this morning as we started our day.

As you undoubtedly know, today is September 11.  We want to take some time today to remember what happened on this date 11 years ago.  I know that some of you were not even born on September 11, 2001, so listen carefully.

On September 11, 2001, the United States was the victim of a series of suicide attacks carried out by militant al-Qaeda terrorists.  On that day, hijackers intentionally flew two planes into the World Trade Center in New York City.  Both the north and south towers collapsed within two hours of being hit.  Hijackers also crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, just outside of Washington, DC.  A fourth plane, intended for the United States Capitol was crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when passengers on the plane attempted to take control of the plane.  Nearly 3000 people died in the attacks that day.

Today is the eleventh anniversary of September 11.  "It can be important to set aside time to remember this tragedy, even though remembering may make you feel sad or angry.  One reason we remember is that we want to preserve the memory of the victims who lost their lives and those who died in service to others."*

"In the face of this disaster, we saw courage: firefighters, police officers, and paramedics rushed to help.  We saw selflessness: strangers helped strangers.  We saw love: people from around the world sent cards, supplies and comfort."*

Out of an evil act, we were able to see so much good.  Today, we want to recognize and remember the good.  Twelve of 27 firefighters from the New York City Fire Department's Ladder Company 3 lost their lives that day trying to save others.  Robert Lynch, James Barbella and Edward Calderon, three men who worked in the World Trade Center lost their lives while caring for others.  Lynch cleared out a daycare center, Barbella led rescue workers upstairs because he knew where people were trapped and Calderon ignored the order to leave the building, instead rushing back in to help because he, "was a Marine, and Marines never leave anyone behind."  There were courageous women who were heroes that day as well.  Moira Smith of the New York City Police Department, Kathy Mazza, a Port Authority Policewoman, and Yamel Merino all lost their lives when the towers collapsed on them as they were saving others.  Ms.Smith was searching the building for people who were trapped and Ms. Mazza used her 9mm sidearm to shoot out glass walls as she led people down a stairwell towards safety.  Ms. Merino, a 20-year-old single mother was an ambulance driver.  When she and her male partner arrived at the scene that day, they were told that one of them would have to stay behind with the ambulance.  Without hesitation, it was Ms. Merino who rushed into the building to rescue others just before the tower collapsed on her.

Today is an opportunity to find something good in something that was so bad.  It is a chance to turn a negative into a positive by recognizing the work of others and doing good things ourselves.  Today, I encourage you to find ways to be courageous, selfless and loving.  I also encourage you to say thanks to those who keep us safe each day.

If you haven't done so already today, I would encourage you to take some time at home to talk about September 11.  While the gruesome details may be too much for some of our younger children, as you can see, it is always possible to find good amidst evil.  If you want to find a positive way to deal with the issue, talk about those who sacrificed and those who continue to sacrifice for us all every day.

On September 11, I want to remember those who were victims, but I want to celebrate those who are heroes.

* these marked portions come from our character education program, Project Wisdom.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for sensitively acknowledging this tragic day in our history. The reality and sorrow of September 11 should never fade.