Middle School Commemorates Patriot Day


Rissy Dalton

Eighth grader Chloe Jezerinac reads her poem, “9/11 Cries,” to the Middle School on Kennerly Field, September 11, 2015.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 will be forever known as one of the saddest days in the history of the United States. Whether you are a United States citizen or not, whether you live in America or across the globe, you have most certainly heard of 9/11, the devastating day 2,605 American lives were lost at the hands of the infamous Islamic terrorist organization known as al-Qaeda. Fourteen years later, America mourns and remembers that terrible day.

At the Benjamin Middle School, a solemn ceremony was held on Friday, starting promptly at 8:10 in the morning. To begin, students and faculty were organized by advisory, and surrounded the flagpole at the west corner of Kennerly Field where they recited “The Pledge of Allegiance.” The musical theatre class then sang our national anthem. “The ceremony is to remember those who lost their lives because of this tragic event,” commented seventh grader and musical theater student Grace Myers. “I feel sorry for anyone who lost a loved one because of what happened on 9/11.”

The commemoration then transitioned somberly into an original poem written and read by eighth grader Chloe Jezerinac, which she titled “9/11 Cries.” Jezerinac’s poem memorializes and pays homage to the soldiers, firefighters, and civilians who losts their lives on the terrifying day of September 11, 2001. “Many people sacrificed their lives to save others’ lives,” she said. “Young, old, no matter who it was, who was in the two buildings, we commemorate their loss on this day. [We remember] not only the people we lost, but the struggles people face with horrible memories.”

The short ceremony then ended, and a silent dismissal to B period for announcements followed. Shortly later, at exactly 8:46 a.m. a moment of silence was observed in each classroom by the entire Middle School.The ceremony was a time to remember those who lost their lives and the heroes that emerged.

A ‘hero’, as defined by dictionary.com, is a person of “. . .distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities” or a person who “. . .has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal. . .”. When tragedy strikes, people come together to help and regular citizens become the unexpected heroes. “My next door neighbor, Mr. Bobby Mahon, saved a woman who was bleeding and carried her down 80 flights of stairs,” eighth grader Blake Prolow recalled. However, it wasn’t just ordinary citizens who became extraordinary heroes.

Middle School students place their hands over their hearts in reciting "The Pledge of Allegiance" to begin Friday's ceremony. The U.S. flag was lowered to half-mast throughout the day.
Rissy Dalton
Middle School students place their hands over their hearts in reciting “The Pledge of Allegiance” to begin Friday’s ceremony. The U.S. flag was lowered to half-mast throughout the day.

Those officially preserving the safety of our communities and our country (police officers, fire fighters, CIA and FBI agents, etc.) worked diligently to protect those civilians who came under attack that day.“My uncle, who serves in the Secret Service, got the First Lady to safety and then was in the Pentagon right before it was hit,” said seventh grader Briley Crisafi.

It is the memory of the tragedy and the people who stepped up to the plate that reminds us we must not take for granted what we have. “[The most important part of this commemoration is] keeping the patriotism in our country and the memories of those we lost alive,” stated Head of Middle School Mr. Charles Hagy.

As Americans, we must never forget how lucky we are to have the freedoms we have, freedoms that others would die for, which is why ceremonies like these are held. “It is easy to forget what is really important in life. Commemorations like Patriot Day help us remember to not take our liberty, our blessings and our families for granted,” Mr. Charles Hagy remarked.

The Middle School has been observing 9/11 since the first anniversary of the attacks in 2002, and while there isn’t a lot of preparation time for the teachers to talk to the students beforehand, the significance of the day is definitely addressed. “[Students] discuss the meaning of the day in history classes and/or with other teachers,” Hagy continued.

As a result of speaking with teachers and parents, the middle school students, many of whom were not even born yet when the attacks took place, know why it’s important to observe 9/11. “I know it is a important to honor the people who died on 9/11 because they died from terrorists who don’t care about people and want power,” said sixth grader Luke Skonieczny.

The middle school program allows faculty and students to reflect on those who lost their lives and the brave men and women who worked courageously to save so many others.“[This ceremony] is a thank you to all of the brave people who stopped the terrorists on [United Flight 93] and veered it into a place that would not further break down our nation,” said Crisafi. And break, our country did not, as we are still here today commemorating the tragedy fourteen years later.