As is emblazoned in many of our memories, September 11, 2001, was the day that 19 militants associated with al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against several targets in the United States. Beginning at 9:03 a.m., two planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third airplane flew into the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., and the fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people died in these attacks.
To ensure Oak Ridge residents remember the impact of this day in history, Ken Senter, Advanced Placement US History teacher, arranged for remnants of the Twin Towers and a block of granite from Ground Zero to serve as a memorial at Oak Ridge High School. The display resides at the north entrance to the school on Providence Road. Each September 11, beginning exactly at 9:03 a.m., students at Oak Ridge High School gather at this site for a tribute to the lives of victims and first responders, both living and lost. For the past decade-and-a-half, our students have shared their own memories of the day’s events.
However, this year marked the 16th anniversary of these attacks, and many of our current students at Oak Ridge High School hold few or no firsthand memories of 9/11. Student council and JROTC students nevertheless led an especially respectful and moving tribute to our fallen Americans, beginning with “Taps” on the trumpet and the raising of the flag.
During the ceremony, student council members shared sentiments, and the entire student body heard an announcement over the school’s public address system recounting the tragedies. It was a poignant reminder, giving the audience a solemn taste of the realities from that day. Men and women in uniform from our local fire and police departments lined the memorial garden, while those present had the opportunity to thank them for their service in our community.
This press release and photos were submitted by Holly Cross.