Forgetting the Unforgettable

Why Didn’t Langley Remember 9/11?

Cara Castagna, Reporter

On September 11th, 2001 a hijacked plane flew into the World Trade Center, shortly after another plane hit the second building while a third struck the Pentagon. The world was shocked at the magnitude and devastation of the attack, and Americans together swore never to forget it. Last Tuesday marked seventeen years since that day and life seems to have moved on at Langley. Students now are among the generation that has not even lived through the tragedy. So how do we keep our promise as Americans to never forget that day?

“I think stories are the best way to promote empathy,” Vivian Jewell, a ninth grade English teacher said, “and watching people tell their own stories is particularly powerful.I think there was devastation and horror on that day, but there was also heroism that this generation hadn’t really had a chance to see.”

In the past, Langley students have remembered this day by watching videos including the story recalled Welles Crowther from the short documentary, Man With The Red Bandanna.

This year, however, the only commemoration was just a dedicated moment of silence. Some people did take the moment of silence as a time to remember those lost. However, this proved to be hard to do for students who have no memories to recount.

“Some students have been brought to tears [by the videos]. Many students were not aware of a lot of the heroism of the day,” Jewell said.

“I think it’s very imperative to show those stories especially on 9/11 because it gives you so much context in history. Although some of us were born during that period, we wouldn’t have that insight without watching those videos.,” senior Esther Park said.  

So, with teachers and students agreed that the 9/11 videos were beneficial, why is it that they weren’t shown this year? The answer is surprisingly simple. When Kimberly Greer, the principal of Langley High School was asked if she was aware of the ways Langley had commemorated 9/11, she confessed she wasn’t.

“Nope, you’re the first person that told me,” Greer said.

And, while she is interested in continuing the traditions Langley has upheld, she feels that there might be a better way to do it. She is looking for student input on how to remember the day.

“You know best as students, and as kids, of what would speak to you,” Greer said.

So, maybe the change in a remembrance of 9/11 is just the first of some changes coming to Langley.

With time always moving, the weight of the most impactful historical events will eventually become lighter and lighter, but stories like Man With The Red Bandanna keep the influence of 9/11 alive. So much of how our country behaves was determined by that event including our intense level of national security and our involvements in the international arena, but none of those things truly capture the effect of the event on the American people like the many heroic stories of that day.