Another View: Remembering Sept. 11: Moving forward with love
“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short, and there is no time for hate.”
- Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
According to fbi.gov, “In a meticulously planned attack, terrorists hijacked four airliners. They flew three of the planes into buildings: the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. They crashed the fourth plane in rural Pennsylvania. The attacks killed 2,976 people and injured thousands more. Today, many first responders are still dealing with adverse health effects from working in toxic conditions.”
It was one of those defining events you don’t forget. Ask anyone where they were when the attacks happened, and they know.
I was in fifth grade. I went to Catholic school, and we just happened to be in church taking confession that morning. When we returned to the school building, all the faculty and staff members were whispering frantically to each other, trying to protect us young, innocent students.
I remember my 22-year-old teacher - we were her first out-of-college teaching job - doing her best to keep upbeat and keep us distracted while the world was seemingly ending around us. Not a lot of learning happened that day, but we were kept busy with other activities. I’ll never forget her and cannot thank her enough for her efforts.
We knew something was going on since parents kept showing up to take their students home throughout the day. My mom kept me and my siblings in class. My sister was in eighth grade, and my brother was in third grade. She felt we were safest there and wanted the extra time to try and process what was happening and figure out how to tell us without scaring us too much. When the bus dropped us off, we could tell she had been crying, but she put on a brave face for us.
One of her tactics was to focus not on what happened, but what was happening after. We saw the helpers dropping everything to come to the rescue. We saw the country come together and present a united front. We were told not to focus on the mourning, but the supporting.
Yes, I was sad and scared that something of this magnitude could happen to us and to our country, but I was also felt safe and hopeful ... hopeful seeing all the people who selflessly jumped in to help. The strong adults in my life made me feel safe and secure.
Most of all, I felt pride. I was proud of how so much of the country came together to support and love each other. I got to see the “great United States” I had heard so much about.
The National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum is planning a commemoration event, featuring family members reading the names of those killed during the attacks. The program begins 8:30 a.m. and is expected to conclude around 1 p.m. The annual Tribute of Light will occur at sundown.
Be sure to keep an eye out for local events commemorating the day.
Coplay Public Library will be screening a live webinar from the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum 2 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Sept. 10 and 11. The poster exhibition can be viewed on the library website or on the library television all month.
Lehigh Carbon Community College is holding an event titled “Never Forget: A Sept. 11 Remembrance Event - Stories of Resiliency, Empathy and Strength” at its Schnecksville campus. The presentation, sponsored by LCCC and Military Council of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, begins 8:15 a.m. in the community services center.
The America On Wheels Museum in Allentown will be holding a mobile memorial remembering the victims of the attacks. The event is set for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sept. 11. The memorial will feature guest speaker Marine Corps veteran David Sommerdorf, patriotic music performed by the SwingTime Dolls and the Military Vette. Military and first responders get free admission, as well as children ages 12 and under.
This year, the Never Forget Walk passed through Easton. Frank Siller, chairman and CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, will take 42 days to walk from the Pentagon to Shanksville to New York City.
A parade was to be held Sept. 4 as Siller passed through Easton, followed by a barbecue picnic in Centre Square. New York City firefighters were on hand to explain the many exhibits and events surrounding that day, including the traveling exhibit, which was set up in Centre Square.
For those who prefer to stay home, there are documentaries and specials planned on a number of television stations, such as History Channel, Discovery Plus, CBS, HBO and Apple TV.
It’s been 20 years since that terrible day. Our country has seen a lot since then and continues to face new challenges each day. We seem to be divided more than ever right now.
I ask everyone to put aside your differences and remember what it felt like the day after. Let’s come together and share our support and love for each other. Let’s celebrate what connects us and not focus on what divides us.
Remember what happened and honor those who lost their lives Sept. 11, but also strive to live with love like we did Sept. 12.