Never Forget: AOF Remembrance of September 11th
More than 200 Avon Old Farms students, faculty, and other community members gathered at the Veterans Tribute staircase at 6 a.m. on the morning of September 11th for the annual stair climb event where participants run up and down the staircase 20 times, replicating the number of stairs in the World Trade Center Towers. At Morning Meeting following that event, History Department Chair Mike Murphy delivered the following message:
On the anniversary of 9/11, we pledge again to never forget that day and those that were lost.
Representing the Avon History Department, I feel a responsibility to Avon students to provide background on what happened and the historical consequences, briefly today and in more depth in our relevant classes during the year.
Most of the adults over 30 in this room have personal, searing memories of that terrible day. I will never forget 9/11 getting ready in my house outside Boston and watching live TV when the second plane crashed into the South Tower, knowing it was a deliberate terrorist attack and then, with horror and sadness, watching both towers collapse with so many people still inside.
I will never forget a month later in New York, walking the entire ground zero perimeter bearing witness to the scale of the destruction of mangled steel beams, the smells of ground zero still smoldering in places, and, most of all, the unimaginable personal tragedy represented by thousands of missing person posters put up by families all along the fence line with pictures and desperate pleas for information about their loved ones if anyone had seen them.
In just 102 minutes that morning, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center North and South Towers in New York City, killing 2,763 people after both towers collapsed, including 343 firefighters and 60 police officers; one plane crashed into the pentagon killing 189 people, and a final plane’s passengers heard about the previous crashes and attacked the hijackers before they could return to Washington to potentially crash into the Capitol Building or White House. The plane went down in rural Pennsylvania killing 44 people.
It’s noteworthy that Avon’s youngest current student was born December 13, 2009, over eight years after 9/11. So what is the relevance to you as Avon’s students and what can you do to prepare yourself as citizens and future leaders in the world?
Taking part in today’s remembrances is a start. You can go beyond that by gaining a better understanding of how the world works, for better and worse. The historical context to that begins as freshmen in global civilization, continues as sophomores in US History and moves into other historical and contemporary perspectives in your junior and senior year, including a new global security academic pathway combining many of these related courses. Courses across the entire Avon curriculum, including Prep4ward, touch on these themes as well.
In addition, Mr. Detora has emphasized the need, in this polarized and complex world we live in, for Avon students to develop their critical thinking skills. These would include the ability to listen and understand different viewpoints, analyze sources of information for their credibility, pull together views, and support them well. Said another way, we’re striving to help Avonians become lifelong learners, who can think for themselves, and act with conviction in an ethical way with strong moral character.