It’s been 17 years since September 11th of 2001 forever altered the American way of life. People affected by the attacks are making sure younger generations know what happened.
The Chairman of the Annual 9/11 Memorial in Erie, Mark Aleksandrowicz, says he believes people are starting to forget. That’s why the focus of today’s service was telling the story of what happened to students who couldn’t witness the attacks themselves.
‘Where were you during 9/11?’ Millions of young adults have no answer to that question. Educating that generation is the new mission of this annual memorial service.
Students at Erie High School tell us, although they don’t remember 9/11, learning of its devastation has stayed with them.
Jahyra Wells, Erie High School 10th Grader, says, “Firefighters going up into the building and trying to put out the fire and stuff and a whole bunch of buildings just crashing down and stuff.”
JROTC cadets from Erie High and Collegiate Academy presenting the color guard.
Quanah Graham, JROTC Member at Erie High School, “At this point, it’s like a sign of respect for them, like, ‘I appreciate what you did so I want to follow in those footsteps and make sure that other people can live the life that I’ve had the opportunity to.'”
People at the remembrance were given flags to plant in the ground, each one representing a life lost in the attacks.
Aleksandrowicz says, “You lump the 343 [firefighters who lost their lives] together. You just say, ‘343’. Well, wait a minute, this was 343 guys. It was 343 families.”
Those 343 people part of nearly 3,000 in total who lost their lives, but high schoolers at the service say they’re starting to grasp the magnitude.
Jackson Fieock, JROTC Cadet at Collegiate Academy, says, “It’s very important that we remember this specific day and all the people who lost their lives during it so that we can help prevent and defend our country so that something like this would never happen again.”
Part of the service included playing audio recordings of people who survived the attacks, many weighing in on how they believe September 11th changed the country forever.