Let Freedom Ring: Remembering 9/11
Each year on September 11th we reflect on the traumatic act of terrorism that took place in our country. For those of us who lived through it as children, it was a haunting experience.
It was just a typical morning at school when suddenly the teachers huddled together with worried whispers. Then the televisions were turned on and revealed the unfathomable carnage. With our eyes glued to the screen, we were shocked, confused and scared as we helplessly watched as countless images and video clips were played on repeat. There were no words in that moment to describe our trepidation.
Now over a decade later, unlike me and my fellow millennials, there isn't a single child in Generation Z that walks through our doors who has any recollection of what happened on that day so many years ago.
So yesterday, after we had a brief discussion to test their knowledge on the subject, we had our members pick from a selection of three writing prompts. The responses we received were nothing short of heart-warming, proving that even in the worst of times, you can find beauty.
Some wrote of the ripple effect and how 9/11 impacts their daily lives:
"Some people wake up not knowing if they will die today."
"The attacks on 9/11 continue to effect those who have no memory of the day by their teachers talking to them about it. Today my teacher talked about it and it made me feel more grateful about my safety."
Others defined what the word "hero" means to them and shared with us someone that they view as a hero:
"A hero is someone who live their life selflessly, serving others, and does so with no desire for getting anything in return. A hero is someone who sees injustice and takes action. A hero is someone who does the right thing, even when it isn't the popular choice."
" I think a hero is someone who risks their life to save people. My great grandfather was a first responder."
"To me the word 'hero' means someone that you can trust and respect. It could be anyone; a teacher, a sibling or even a friend."
The rest focused on appreciation and constructed lists of what they are the most thankful for:
"I'm thankful for Matt. I miss him."
"The Youth Center"
"I'm thankful for my family!"
"For my free education."
"That I am healthy."
"That people risk their lives for us."
These kids are the ones who will shape the future of this world. One of the most important lessons we teach at the Youth Center is to treat others with kindness. Love is the one thing that can demolish hate. We all have stand together, learn from the past, be compassionate in the present and fight for a better and brighter future for all the generations to come.