BY ALEXANDRA SANSONE AND ABBIE TUSCHMAN
A sea of black and khaki washed over the courtyard as the students of Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (NJROTC) shuffled around planting American flags. The small structures flittered in the gentle breeze that embraced the crowd on the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Filmed by Cowboy Television (CTV), the annual CCHS 9/11 ceremony took place during sixth period and featured numerous NJROTC students, alumni and recruiters. The students played a large role in piecing together the ceremony and ensuring it ran smoothly. NJROTC officers could be seen directing participants before the start of everything.
Though many Cowboys may only be indirectly impacted by the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, such as by learning about the day in school or from their parents, for some, the date can also serve as a painful reminder of the day a family was forever altered. Freshman Justin Thompson’s great-grandfather died on 9/11 after working in the World Trade Center. Though 17 years have gone by, Thompson’s family still feels the effects of the tragic day.
“The thing you just kept hearing was, ‘We’re under attack.’ It was scary.”
“We don’t take planes anymore and we don’t trust taking planes. We drive everywhere,” Thompson said. “[My mother’s] grandfather was the only person really close to her. She still carries around the gifts that he gave her from when she was a little kid. He was like [a] father to her.”
The staff at CCHS also take this anniversary as a time to reflect on their own memories and experiences on 9/11. Science teacher Daniel Wallace was in his sophomore year of high school in Pennsylvania during the terrorist attacks. With some of his classmates’ parents working at the World Trade Center, Wallace felt the weight of the situation even when his teacher first received the call about planes crashing into the Twin Towers.
“The thing you just kept hearing was, ‘We’re under attack.’ It was scary,” Wallace said. “You could see it on all of the teachers’ faces. This was not a drill. This was way bigger than an intruder in the school.”
Today, Wallace teaches many students that are around the same age he was during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But now, teenagers have grown up knowing only a post-9/11 world. In order to educate today’s youth about the impact of the attacks, Wallace likes to share his own experience with his classes and to explain the sense of chaos felt throughout the nation. He encourages his students to reflect on how America was permanently altered because of that fateful day in history.
The events of 9/11 have made a lasting impact, not just on America, but the entire world.
“The echoes of that day were [felt] for years after,” Wallace said. “And now we are 17 years past [the attacks]. I don’t want to let people forget about that.”
Second Class Petty Officer and Navy Recruiter Amarachi Abiodun remembers feeling the effects all the way from her home in Africa.
“It was all over the news over there,” Abiodun said. “This was a challenging moment for a lot of Americans, not just Americans but the whole world.”
The events of 9/11 have made a lasting impact, not just on America, but the entire world. Some of these effects are still visible today.
“That whole day, we saw the best and the worst of humanity,” Wallace said. “We saw the worst in the attacks and the carnage and just the evil. We saw the best by the end of the day in the volunteers and the emergency response personnel going in there. Everybody came together and rallied around each other.”
Photo by Abbie Tuschman