Garden City, New York – They weren’t alive for a life-changing event 21 years ago. 9/11but this week, young schoolchildren are sharing oral histories they inherited from their parents.
Middle school students garden city Raising the flag for all souls lost on 9/11.
“We call it Patriot Day at our school,” said Dr. Kusum Sinha, Superintendent of Garden City Schools.
Sinha believes that now is the time to deepen understanding.
“They weren’t alive at the time, but we lost 20 people, especially in this community of Garden City. We had parents, aunts and uncles,” Sinha said.
16-year-old student Liam Brennan said: “My uncle was in the second tower and unfortunately he passed away. I hope he didn’t suffer at all.”
Outside high school, the twin towers of steel stir up emotional conversations.
Brooke Hopkins, 15, said, “By the time my dad got to the Twin Towers, one of them had already fallen… I saw a lot of people jumping.”
Her father told her about feeling helpless.
“Specifically, one person was waving a white flag. He was so high up that no one could help him,” Hopkins said.
“When I asked my students to give an oral history class, I was overwhelmed by the personal stories my parents had. I remembered that day like it was yesterday. It was a giving day,” said the social studies teacher. Michele de Colibus.
Students say they have no personal connection to other life-changing events, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor or the assassination of JFK. This is how their generation remembers his 9/11.
Social studies coordinator Janet Balantique said, “Some students talk about the monuments here being surreal because they are actual relics of the time. Because it is a target and continues to exist in their lives.”
Lauren Marino’s dad was an on-site NYPD.
“It was very stressful. My dad said it was very touching the way the community came together,” Marino said.
Madeline Mitchell finds out her family is stranded in Newfoundland.
“They were all very happy when they finally got home,” Mitchell said.
Brooke Hopkins’ dad’s survival brought tears of joy.
“My mom and grandpa fell to the ground crying hysterically,” Hopkins said.
A valuable lesson in history, loss and hope.