9/11 Gone, Not Forgotten

WELLSBURG – Students and staff at Brooke High School paused today to reflect on the morning 11 years ago when lives were lost, heroes were made and life as Americans knew it was carried away on a thick plume of black smoke.

The school day began with a patriotic assembly in the gymnasium in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pa., that killed nearly 3,000 people. While most of those assembled were no older than 7 when al-Qaida terrorists hijacked four passenger jets – flying two of them into the World Trade Center, another into the Pentagon and the fourth crashing into a field near Shanksville, Pa.

None can say their lives haven’t been impacted by what took place that day.

Principal Toni Shute remembered that morning – like today, a Tuesday, though much warmer – and the gruesome TV images of people running for their lives, some jumping to certain death to escape the burning towers before they collapsed.

“These were people who, like you, woke up just like any other day and went to work,” she said. “How many of them never got to see their husbands, wives, children, parents, lovers, pets ever again … gone in a single, hate-fueled moment.”

Brooke County Emergency Management Director Robert Fowler spoke of the changes that have taken place in American society since 9-11. Terms such as “Taliban,” “Ground Zero” and “al-Qaida” now have become a part of daily conversation, he said.

Long lines to pass through security at airports, and dozens of pieces of legislation including the often controversial Patriot Act, are consequences of the attacks, he said. Even small, local courthouses, now manned by armed guards and X-ray scanners, have seen the impact.

The school band played patriotic music during the event, and several students shared poems they wrote to mark the occasion or read from eyewitness accounts of the tragedy.

Shute said the school began holding annual assemblies to commemorate 9-11 in 2006, and plans to continue the tradition every year.