Most of the young people who placed small American flags alongside Josephs Lane on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 were part of the first classes of AHS students not alive the day of the attacks on American soil during September 2001. Junior Sarah Fuller shared a viewpoint reflective of many throughout the school,
“I feel very disconnected. Hearing all of the stories that people shared about the event made me able to appreciate the day for what it represents. However, it’s hard to relate with others about the whole situation because I wasn’t present at the time, but nevertheless, it’s an important day to always remember and continually share with others forever throughout history.”
For a few students here now, they were not only not alive, but their family was living in another country. Here are some perspectives from a handful of current high school students who have ties beyond the continental U.S. and were willing and able to provide answers. The following questions were asked at separate times by the members of Journalism 1 this year:
How did you first learn about 9/11?
Senior Saineha Padala: “I first learned about 9/11 in 8th grade Civics class, which was the first year I moved to the U.S. While I lived in Canada, I never really learned about 9/11 — our history class was focused on the Canadian history rather than the history of other countries.”
Junior Valeria Vasquez Ramos, from Puerto Rico: “My mom told me about it when I was 10.”
Senior and exchange student from Iceland, Aesa: “My parents told me.”
How did learning about 9/11 here at Avonworth compare to before?
Valeria: “It’s a lot better because, living in Puerto Rico, we didn’t even honor them, on September 11th. At Avonworth I have learned a lot more about it, and learned how to respect it and honor it.”
Aesa: “I learned more details and how horrific it is. In Iceland, people know about it, but it isn’t like a huge deal. It is, but it’s not talked about as often. I think it’s pretty interesting and maybe should be taught more.”
How do you relate to it personally?
Neha: “I don’t really relate to it personally . . . Like people who I’m surrounded by weren’t exactly affected by it because my dad was working in Florida and my mom was in India. So I acknowledge it and re-recognize how big of a tragedy it was, but I don’t really relate to it personally.”
Valeria: “My mom told me that she was in the living room watching TV, and she had my brother, and was the only one born at that time… and she was watching the news and then boom, the clip of the plane striking the first building. She looked at the TV and started crying, and calling one of her friends who lived in New York at the time… no one was answering.”
Neha : “I felt very emotional today when I watched the footage of the Twin Towers and like the recordings of the twin towers and like the recordings of the victims who were trapped in the towers in American Politics. I think it made me quite emotional thinking about all of the lives that were lost and what they were probably going through during those moments. Today also made me realize that our generation will never be able to experience how America was before the attacks.”
Valeria : “It was sad. I got chills hearing the announcement [see below]. We didn’t talk much about 9/11 in my classes today. I wanted to see a movie on it, but we didn’t.”
Mrs. Dwuilt’s announcement: “It was at this time, 8:46am, on this day, September 11th, 18 years ago that our nation was impacted forever. The first of two planes would hit the World Trade Center, beginning a series of attacks intended to get to the soul of America. We were terrified, angry, desperate, humbled, sad…and then strong, kind, selfless, proud and most important, resilient. We stood together as first responders saved countless lives. We remember the thousands of lives lost today and will never forget. We also remember those that ran toward the devastation in hopes of providing assistance, while thousands fled to safety. (We then shared a moment of silence)”
Aesa: “It was horrible, and the teacher’s were showing clips of people who died, and those who died later on.”
In addition, avonews editor Kailey Scigliano had a personal international connection to share:
“As I am a part of the generation on the cusp of knowing nothing of 9/11, I feel as though it is our education system’s responsibility to provide information about the events that rocked our nation in 2001. This year, more than ever, I have felt as though I have been provided with the most in-depth stories that I have ever experienced today. While thinking of those whose lives were lost, whether it be victims or first responders, I also think of and admire those like my grandfather who fight to heal the scarred reputation of Muslims.
My grandfather, a general surgeon and a GP, was on call at his hospital an hour and a half away from Washington DC — an hour and a half away from the Pentagon; however, he was accused of being involved with radical Islam and was isolated from his community whom he cared for quite literally and emotionally. He speaks at schools to educate young minds of what Islam is actually about, discerning the disgusting extremism that occurred and continues to occur in our world today. A quote he made in a newspaper in his town years ago: “Those men aren’t Muslims . . . They are monsters.”
Reporting from Kailey Scigliano, Toni Keller and Madison Perry