How We Honor 9/11

On 9-11 in 2001, the world watched in horror as two airplanes hit the World Trade Center in New York. It was that day the two proud Twin Towers, representatives of America’s future, fell. It was the day we lost 2,977 innocent lives at the hands of terrorists. Mothers lost children, siblings lost brothers, friends lost neighbors, everyone lost a piece of their hearts.

Flashback to the morning of 9-11. Businessmen and women decked head to toe in expensive suits and skirts, carried leather bound briefcases, swinging by their sides as they approached the World Trades Center. Nearby shop owners, opening their doors to awaiting customers. It was the picture of innocence, that was until around 8:56 a.m. When the first plane hit the North Tower, fire ignited and the building was set ablaze. Outside, people stood aghast, was this simply a freak accident? It was until seven minutes later when the second plane hit the South tower, fifty-six minutes after and it had collapsed. Now America knew this wasn’t an accident, it was an attack. Fire wasn’t the only thing that had spread, panic had spread too. 10:28 a.m. and the North Tower was down. Black smoke billowed out through the streets, nearby buildings caught fire.. The Pentagon had already been hit, every large government building had been evacuated. Meanwhile, United Airlines Flight 93 was being hijacked. A man named Todd Beamer dialed 911, giving them the estimated direction of the plane. It’s around 10 a.m. when the women on other line heard Todd’s final words, “Lets roll.” Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania.

Seventeen years later, those who have lived through September 11, 2001, remember exactly where they were, what they were doing, and how they were feeling. Though it is years later, the events of that day will never be forgotten. Which is why at Glenbard West we want to acknowledge those who sacrificed their lives for others and those who were innocently taken.

Dr. Monaghan, Principal of Glenbard West, wants students to know, “9/11 ends up being something that we want our students to be aware of and not forget.  [The day] is a touchstone to honor first responders and to honor the military.”

Like many others, Dr. Monaghan also remembers that terrifying day saying, “9/11 was very emotional and surreal. We actually were in school when 9/11 happened, and I remember it very well. It was a late arrival and the kids were coming in after the attack happened. We know about 9/11 now because we are able to look back at it and connect dots around it, and there’s still lots of controversial things that happened that are associated with 9/11 and that resulted from 9/11. No one ever could have foreseen [what would happen] when you went through it. It was a heavy time and a reminder of how serious life can be and how fragile life can be. You can’t take any of it for granted.” 

Mrs. Hollander, an English Honors teacher, remembers, “I was really young when 9/11 happened, it changed my sense of safety. It was summer in Venezuela, so I was in summer camp when it happened. My mom [called in and said] ‘Hey, you’re going to be hearing this on the news, I want to explain to you exactly what happened.’ I think it was scary for all ages, I think my mom was very scared. That day was so confusing we didn’t really know what to make of it.”

Whether you are a student, a teacher, or a parent, it is always important on September 11 to look back and reflect. It was a very emotional day; it was scary, and sad, and tragic. Our job as a community is to honor those who lost their lives that day. The firemen who braved the blazing heat, the innocence of the workers making a living, ready to go back to their family. And to honor Todd Beamer, a man who attended the very near Wheaton College, who crashed the very last plane into an empty field, risking his life to save thousands.