Ground Zero 360 When Born on 9/11

Courtesy of Ground Zero 360

Hannah Ni'Shuilleabhain

Courtesy of Ground Zero 360

Kelly M. '19, Journalism Student

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Too young to remember the events of September 11, 2001, Ursuline students attended an assembly on Friday, September 16, to hear from a panel of New York City First Responders affected by the tragedies of 9/11. The panel was one part of the Ground Zero Never Forget exhibit which also showcased artifacts from that day and offered a film entitled” Vito After,” which followed the life of one responder.

Family members of responders joined the Ursuline community to share their stories and answer questions about the terrorist attacks that occurred 15 years ago. Hearing from the families was incredibly heartbreaking, especially since students can’t remember the events. Teachers, students, and panelists alike couldn’t keep the tears from their eyes. Most of the student body hadn’t received such real accounts until Friday’s panel.

I was born on September 11, 2001, so the events of my birthday have always been prominent in my life; every birthday has been filled with news broadcasts and headlines reporting on the terrorist attack. In the past, I’ve always disliked my birthday because Sept. 11 is such a sad day, but this presentation changed my views and brought me more appreciation of my safety and blessings. Hearing genuine, personal stories helped me see how real that day was and also helped me recognize that there is hope.

Kiera M. ’19, another 9/11 baby and Ursuline student, has a slightly different story. Not only was she born just hours before the attacks in New York City, but her uncle was a victim, so her perception was very different from the rest of the audience’s. She was able to relate to families’ stories and felt a deep connection to the panelists.

Unlike some others who would rather block out the memory of that tragic day, Kiera said it is important to never forget the events of September 11. Kiera verbalized her feelings saying, “I don’t think that we should ignore something just because it’s depressing because it happened, and I don’t think we should live in denial. We need to understand and realize that people went through it.”

Brothers John and Thomas Lynch were members of the panel; they lost their brother, Mike Lynch, one of ten siblings, on September 11. Both recounted their experiences on the day of the attacks and throughout the aftermath. John Lynch was in England on 9/11 and last saw his brother walk into one of the towers when watching the news; Thomas Lynch was working as an engineer in the city and was closest to his parents during the attacks. The two men recalled March 2002, when their brother’s remains were identified and how they clung to their family and their community, refusing to lose their faith and hope.

This was one of many stories.

Students were able to have a better understanding of the tragedy after hearing the speakers recall their experiences and emotions on that devastating day. The assembly helped everyone recognize the intensity and realness of September 11, 2001 and the importance of memorializing those whose lives were lost defending our country.

A new memorial sculpture, called the Survivor Tree made from metals from the World Trade Center and the Freedom Tower, now graces the senior courtyard.

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