As seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen here at Memorial, many of us were too young to remember the tragic events that occurred on the morning of September 11, 2001. We were too young to remember the shock and fear that resonated around the country – but our beloved teachers weren’t. For this reason, every 9/11, we stand united as a school and as a nation to remember the 2,996 fatalities from that day, and this year included an incredibly moving ceremony to remember the fallen.
On September 11, 2001, terrorism struck the heart of America. In New York City at 8:46 am, a hijacked plane piloted by Mohammed Atta slammed into the 93rd through 99th floor in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. All the people aboard lost their lives along with hundreds of innocent Americans in the WTC. The NYPD and FDNY responded only moments after the crash, flocking to the surrounding area to help people to safety. Only minutes after the first crash, a second crash occured at 9:03 am. The plane had destroyed the corner of the South Tower from the 75th to 85th floors. Only five minutes after at 9:08 am, all takeoffs of flights were halted over New York. At 9:37 am, a third plane had slammed into and struck the western facade of the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
The ceremony was very moving to many teachers and students alike. 2,977 flags were spread out across the Bronstein Gymnasium floor to remember each innocent individual who lost their life early that morning.
Our very own Mr. Ben Dick served as the master of ceremonies for this melancholy occasion. Many important speakers came to Memorial High School this day including Mayor Ted Gatsas and Governor Maggie Hassan. Some of our most loved teachers spoke as well, sharing their experiences while the tragic events of September 11th, 2001 took place. One of these teachers was Mrs. Joan Levine, who suffered a heartbreaking loss on this somber date. Mrs. Levine lost her cousin, Joseph F. Holland III, during the attacks on the World Trade Center. Joseph was a stockbroker at the North Tower during the time of the terrorist attacks, and lost his life that morning.
MMHS senior Alex Terrio also spoke at the ceremony. She read off a letter by Laura Oganowski, daughter of Capt. John Oganowski. John was the pilot of the hijacked plane that flew into the North Tower, where Mrs. Levine’s cousin had been early that morning.
This ceremony at Manchester Memorial High School was a special one. Many students experienced footage for the first time, and many others were moved by the stories and words of the speakers at the assembly that morning. The attacks of September 11th, 2001 definitely hold a number of lessons for the country. Patriotism soared for months after the attacks and still today, we stand united not only as a country, but as Americans. May the lives of the 2,977 innocent Americans not be forgotten and may we forever stand united to reflect on this day of grief for the United States of America and for each other.