September 11, 2001 changed the world. What are students who weren’t there doing to remember it?
Any person born in 2001 and on has no memory of 9/11, a world changing event. The new generation has had no experience of the security and safety that the world offered before that day. Although they weren’t alive to experience it, students at Mineola High School come together every year to commemorate the tragedy and those lost. We have moments of silence in the morning to pay respect to the fallen at the timestamps of key moments during the day, while we spend time in classes talking and hearing teachers' stories. After school the faculty and students come together to make sandwiches for a nearby inn before a memorial ceremony. Principal, Dr. Whittney Smith says, “On September 11, I love watching our students and faculty come together to make over 800 sandwiches for the Mary Brennan Inn. Additionally, participating in a student-run ceremony that includes poetry, music, and the watering of our very own survivor tree to remember the lives lost and the heroic first responders, is nothing short of remarkable. Although it is always an emotional and heartbreaking day for me, it is a reminder of what an incredible community we have.” We also talked to talented national anthem singer, Arwen Lopez, who said, “It was an honor to be asked to sing to memorialize the men and women who are no longer with us 20 years after the tragedy of 9/11. I'm very grateful to have been able to sing the national anthem as my way of paying respect to them and their beloved families.”
On 9/11 and the surrounding days it is evident that the students understand and show devotion to our courageous first responders and respect to the fallen. Especially considering that Mineola is just over 25 miles away from the World Trade Center, the community has been deeply affected by the tragedy. Ms. McDonnell, who teaches history courses along with New York City class says, “I think that anyone who has lived through September 11th, knows that after 20 years, each year hits differently in intensity, but always in a form of sadness and reflection. As a teacher, I make sure to give this tragedy the time and detail it deserves. I know at this point for my students, that day is actually history. I share my story and stories from my friends and family that day. I try to explain to them how I can't fully explain how it was that day at all. If anything, what this generation can hopefully learn from this is what this country is and as been. Strong, resilient, heroic, united and as our 9/11 service day shows, giving.” The next generation has proven that the day that will never be forgotten as it continues to be memorialized, even by those who cannot remember it.