Students and Teachers Reflect on Importance of Patriot Day


Mrs. Marti Lotman

Seventh grader Emerson Ferry reads a portion of President Donald Trump’s Patriot Day proclamation to the Middle School in the quad on September 11, 2018.

September 11, 2001, also known as Patriot Day, will forever be remembered   by all Americans. That morning, members of the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda flew two commercial passenger planes into New York City’s World Trade Center Buildings, another into the Pentagon, and a fourth, which was  headed for the White House , was overtaken by passengers and crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. During this mournful event, 2,996 people were killed. In honor of this day, The Benjamin School held a Patriot Day ceremony on Monday, September 11.  

The entire middle school student body and all faculty members gathered in the quad that morning. “During this ceremony we started it off by singing the Star Spangled Banner and our school song, the Alma Mater,” said Co-Band Director and strings instructor Mr. Andrew Winters. “Then Mr. Hagy’s history students read President Trump’s proclamation saying that Patriot Day is now a National Holiday.”

In addition, a moment of silence was held throughout the Middle School at 8:46 a.m., the exact time the first plane flew into the World Trade Center. Many faculty members, including Winters, remember that horrible day.

“We did not know what was going on, and we were watching TV and saw these terrible things happening,” he said. “This impacted our country greatly. We went to war in Afghanistan because of 9/11, and that war is still going on 17 years later. So it is important that we remember that day so we don’t forget what happened to [those] people that died, and also the brave

people that responded, and all of our military men and women [who have] gone over to defend our country because of that day.”

Head of School Mr. Charles Hagy believes it is important to hold a ceremony each year to honor those who lost their lives that day, and remember our responsibility as citizens.

“Patriot Day, September 11, 2001 and every day after that is so important because we have to have a national memory, and if we have a memory of things, we can always work to make the world a better place and prevent things from happening again and we can always honor those who made it possible for us to be here,” said Hagy. “All of the first responders, paramedics, firefighters, police officers, all those who gave their lives and survived in that horrible day – we take a moment and remember them and keep them in our prayers.”

Mrs. Marti Lotman
The names of Patrick Aranyos ’93 and Lindsay Morehouse ’96 are etched in the sides of reflecting pools at The National September 11 Memorial in New York City.

During this unfortunate event, two Benjamin alumni died: Lindsay Morehouse ’96 and Patrick Aranyos ’93. Morehouse was 24 years-old at the time, and was starting a career as a research assistant at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, an investment banking company. Aranyos, 26 years-old, was a bond broker at Euro Brokers.Unfortunately, he was in the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks.

“The tennis courts at the Upper School are the Lindsay Morehouse tennis courts,” said Hagy. “Her tennis racket is on display in the 9/11 museum [in New York City].”

Hagy believes students need to commit themselves to acts of service on Patriot Day in order to make the world a better place.

“I think it is important to have more than a moment of silence,” he said. “So I think an actual remembrance where we talk about what happened on 9/11, where we encourage kids to go out and devote themselves to service to the community, which is what Patriot day is all about, [is necessary]. This is a lesson in good citizenship to observe days of remembrance like Patriot Day, like Veterans Day, like Memorial day, like July Fourth, days that we need to reflect on how great this country is and the sacrifice of those who gave us what [we] have today.”

President Donald Trump also called on Americans to serve their communities during his proclamation of Patriot Day, which he made on September 11, 2017.

“I call upon the people of the United States to participate in community service in honor of those our nation lost,” said Trump, “to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services, and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m, Eastern Daylight Time to honor the innocent victims who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The students who read Trump’s proclamation were chosen by teachers because of leadership qualities they exhibited. “Mrs. Franzen asked me to speak as I was one of the students who volunteered to help out with Back-to-School Night,” said seventh grader Emerson Ferry. “I was really honored and scared at the same time because I did not want to make a mistake because this was a very important ceremony. [But] it was fun talking in front of the school.”

Mrs. Marti Lotman
Seventh grader Matias Saiz recites part of President Trump’s speech.

Seventh grader Matias Saiz was also one of the students who spoke during this ceremony.

“I felt honored to speak in front of the Middle School,” he said. “In the beginning, I felt a bit nervous, but after I felt more comfortable.”

Although none of the middle school students were yet born when the 9/11 attacks took place, many of them still realize what a tragedy it was in our nation’s history.

“I know that many people died and many people risked their lives for us on that day,” said sixth grader Grant Donohue. “9/11 is important because it raised awareness about security and it made people more aware of how much people that serve the community put on the line every day,” he said.

Donohue was glad that TBS recognized the anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

“It is important for The Benjamin School to create a 9/11 ceremony because 9/11 should never be forgotten, and every day after that we should honor those people who lost their lives on that day,” he said.