Opinion: We Cannot Forget September 11, 2001

Xavier Pabon, Editor

September 11, 2001. Where were you that day? Or if you weren’t born yet, where were your parents? Your sister? Brothers? Anyone in your family? You’re probably wondering what the significance of this question is, well, it holds more bearing than you think. September 11th is when the greatest tragedy of American history occurred, a terrorist attack that attempted to break the United States, with the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York.

To some families, talking about this hits harder than most, However, I feel this is important to talk about, the event that made a country strong, 9/11 was supposed to break America, however, it only made us stronger. On September 11th, a terrorist group led by Osama bin Laden hijacked four airplanes and flew two of them into the World Trade Center, and the other into the pentagon.

On the 4th and final plane the passengers on board rebelled against the terrorists, and crashed the plane in Somerset county, Pennsylvania. They were considered heroes, everyone on board knowing they were going to die, fought back anyway, true American heroes.

I write this today to ask you, the reader, a question: Have. You. Forgotten? With all that has been happening in society, people being born having to learn what 9/11 is instead of just knowing or having a parent who was there? With people being focused on societal issues and revealing injustices, it’s important to remember what truly brought America together more than anything else has in modern history, the day that was supposed to break us, brought us together.

However, in this day and age, it seems people have started to forget 9/11. I’ve asked teachers around this campus questions concerning this anniversary, starting with our own campus security Julian Padillia about his experience during 9/11 and as a marine, the following are questions and answers shared in an interview.


Xavier Pabon:  “Where were you during 9/11?” 

Mr. Padilla:  “When it happened I was at home getting ready for school. We rode the bus and started school and were completely oblivious to what happened. Second period, which was my wood shop class, our teacher started by telling us what happened then sent us to the graphics room next door because they had a TV so we could watch the news. After that the school announced for us to head to our home rooms where we watched the news till school was over.”


Xavier Pabon: What was your initial reaction to it?

Mr. Padilla: Initially. . . I caught a glimpse of the second plane crashing while I was getting ready before school and they kept playing that clip over and over, the news anchor guy was being way over dramatic. I thought it was a cheesy action movie. Once I realized what happened, it was definitely a moment of disbelief .


Xavier Pabon:  Is 9/11 the main reason you signed up for the marines? 

Mr. Padilla: 9/11 is the main reason I joined the Marines. So what was actually going on didn’t come out for a few days. Like the Taliban and Osama bin Laden being responsible for the hijackings. I wanted to do something cause the thing was to fight them over there so they couldn’t do this “stuff” here.  It was my senior year when 9/11 happened and in November is when I finally joined. When I first made the decision to join the military I didn’t know what branch to join. I went to the Air Force first cause I wanted to fly, but after talking to the recruiters for an hour and scoring high on a practice test I did not want to be an Airman. After the meeting, I walked out, went around the corner of the building, walked into the Marine Office, sat down at the first recruiters chair and said sign me up. 


Xavier Pabon: If you felt one emotion on that day if you can recall it, what emotion did you feel? Mr. Padilla: Disbelief. Anxious. Thinking that maybe something was going to happen somewhere close by.


Xavier Pabon: do you feel like society is forgetting 9/11, or at least putting things above

Mr. Padilla: I really hope society isn’t forgetting but at least moving on. We should never forget our past. This event changed not just the U.S. but the world. Not just with the war, but with how we interact with other countries, how we travel, immagration, trading goods. After I came back (October of 2006) I joined a veterans group called the G.I. Forum, we did events and participated in parades. For the first few years there were a lot of people and the parade route seemed long, but since then the attendance has dwindled down and the routes have shortened.


And finally, I asked him for a quote, something he’d like to say, he said:  “I really can’t think of anything. It’s a date and event that will never be forgotten. I could paraphrase Franklin D. Roosevelt, “September 11 2001 a date that will live in infamy.””

I then asked 3 teachers similar questions, those 3 teachers gave me quotes that I really think are equally important and informative.

Mr. Govett, an English teacher here at HHS told me: “I would just say that I feel learning your history is very important (it was my favorite subject and my college major for a while), and that kids should use this opportunity to learn it because there are so many primary sources readily available to them.  Anyone over the age of 30 probably remembers that day very, very vividly, and would have a lot of interesting information to share.”


Mr. Thompson, our very own drama and choir teacher stated: It “is not the violence that needs to be remembered.  What needs to be remembered is the goodness of people as expressed in the incredible acts of heroism by individuals and groups of people (like police and firemen, but also normal, everyday people).”

Mrs. McAndrews, a history teacher here at HHS replied, “Never forget”

That is the underlying thing you should take away from this day. Never forget.