editor: A child born on 9/11/01 would be 13 now. I myself was pregnant at the time, covering the story for WPIX-TV. My twins are now in seventh grade. On Thursday, Dr. Seth Weitzman, the Principal of Hommocks Middle School, gave the following address to the children, who will not remember:
The worst day in the near-fifty year history of Hommocks Middle School was September 11, 2001. If you ask teachers, “Where were you on 9/11?” many would answer they were right here. As tragedy unfolded in New York City, just a short ride away on the Metro North commuter rail, a cloud of dread, fear and uncertainty hung over our school. Many families in Larchmont and Mamaroneck were affected; five Hommocks students lost parents. I remember someone explaining the towers had fallen, and I couldn’t comprehend it. The whole day was truly unbelievable. Students might not feel the immediacy any longer. An infant born on 9/11 would be in eighth grade now. That’s why I’m sharing a few remembrances.
I was in lower Manhattan Labor Day weekend, a couple of weeks ago. A gleaming, tall, crystal blue skyscraper, the Freedom Tower, has risen where the rubble and ash of the World Trade Center once lay. Memories of sadness and heartache remain, but I what I remember most is how the community came together to support each other and to heal. With the transportation system in New York City down for a time, here in Hommocks we began planning in case parents were stuck in the city. Turns out subways and Metro North restarted soon and most parents were able to return home. Just in case, teachers signed on to stay the night. Parents opened their homes or volunteered to bring pizza. The teachers’ union office in the building offered their telephones to reach parents at work, since the regular school offices had limited telephone service. Teachers who normally instructed students in classrooms instead consoled children in the hallways. Everyone pitched in. In the same moment we faced terrible evil, people responded with love, generosity and compassion. That’s what I remember most about 9/11. That’s what lasts.