The Gibbons school community yesterday commemorated the 18th anniversary of one of the most tragic days in modern US history – the September 11 terrorist attacks on our nation.
Gibbons, like many high schools across the nation, marked the anniversary of the attacks on the twin towers in New York City and on the Pentagon in Washington DC with a variety of reflection and prayer opportunities. Key among them was a special memorial display, sponsored by the History Club, that was set up in the quad, the outdoor area between the learning commons and the library.
"We hoped that people took the time to reflect upon the events that happened, to remember those who lost their lives, and to honor those who continue to serve us today,” said Taylor Blanton.
There, club members placed 2,977 flags. The flags represented the number of people who died in the attacks, including civilians, military personnel in the Pentagon, and the emergency firefighters, police and medical workers who arrived at the scenes. While most of the flags were American flags, there also were international flags for those citizens of other nations who were killed in the attacks, according to Taylor Blanton, club moderator and social studies educator. This is the second year for the memorial, which he described as “remembrance.”
Along with the memorial, on exhibit the entire day, there was a 9/11 display in the library. Additionally, there was a memorial Mass in the morning and a moment of silence and prayer during morning announcements at 8:50 a.m. around the time the first plane hit the twin towers.
Meanwhile, some educators incorporated September 11 into their classroom lesson. Others were joined in that effort by alumna Sara Gallagher ’03 who led a discussion and letter-writing activity in several theology classes.
Gallagher, the daughter of theology educator Pat Gallagher, also is head of the programs department at UMR, or United Mission for Relief and Development. The Washington DC-based nonprofit provides livelihood, disaster relief,and recovery services to the underserved, according to its website.
UMR also serves as a Youth Service America Lead Agency, mobilizing young people to lead volunteer service projects that help meet community needs on three national days of service. They include 9/11, Martin Luther King Day of Service, and Global Youth Service Day.
In the theology classes at Gibbons, Sara Gallagher talked to the students about the events of 9/11. She then asked them to write letters to those who risked their lives to protect others and their country.
The goal, she said, is that the example of community service exhibited on that fateful day, will inspire students to get involved in some way with their community, family, or school.
For the second consecutive year Gibbons History Club invited students and educators during all lunch periods to write thank you notes to local first responders. They include firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers, as well as soldiers, some of whom are also Gibbons alumni.
Of what he hoped people took away from the day’s activities Blanton said: “I’m very proud of the work that History Club did with this. We hoped that people took the time to reflect upon the events that happened, to remember those who lost their lives, and to honor those who continue to serve us today.”