Sunday, September 11, 2011

Commemorating 9/11

Today is a special day in our nation's collective consciousness. For those who were living on September 11, 2001, the world changed forever on and after that date. We no longer felt safe as a nation or as a people. People we did not know set out to deliberately kill people they did not know but hated for some reason. As of September 11, 2001, the United States and its citizens would never be the same. Our sense of safety was forever destroyed.

There have been commemorations and ceremonies that have been held all over the nation this weekend to remember those lost in the devastation of 9-11. The ceremony that I attended was a panel discussion which was held at Washington Lee High School in Arlington, VA. On the panel were Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education and Laura Fornash, recently appointed Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Joining them on the panel were educators from Arlington Public Schools who were asked to reflect upon what they were doing and thinking on 9/11/01. Some of the panelists were individuals who are teachers now but were students in Arlington at the time of the event.

Moderating the panel was Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools, Dr. Pat Murphy. The focus of the panel discussion was to talk about what thoughts the panelists had had during the day on 9/11/01 and how it had impacted them. The common theme that came out of the discussion was that for those individuals who had children of their own, their first thoughts went to concern about their own children's safety. But they all quickly shifted to being concerned with the more immediate matter of taking care of the children in their care in their classes. To the person, there was pride in the professional manner that they and their colleagues had behaved and how they had acted collectively to maintain a sense of calm in the midst of chaos and to make sure that their students felt comforted at a time of terror. Many of their students were concerned about their own parents who worked in the Pentagon which had been the target of one of the attacks just a few miles from their respective schools.

Ten years later, upon reflection on the events of that day, there was concern about the loss of innocence of the generation who is growing up in the post 9/11 world. But there was also pride in their collective belief that they have demonstrated a commitment to being ready just in case there is ever another similar event. Everyone prays that we never have to deal with another 9/11 event...but we must be prepared just in case.

So, today was about remembering and offering comfort to those who were directly impacted by 9/11. I offer my deepest respects and regard for all of the First Responders and condolences and sympathy for the families who lost a loved one during that terrible day. I fervently pray that we never have to deal with a similar event ever in our future...but I also want to convey from my heart of hearts that it is important that we remember and honor those who were lost and for those who have lost loved ones.

Until next time.