Whitefield Academy Blog
September Eleventh Memorial Address 2020
The following address was given by Whitefield Academy senior, Andre Bauer, on September 11, 2020 at our annual memorial service.
Good morning faculty, students, and first responders. My name is Andre Bauer, and I am a senior here at Whitefield Academy. This is my experience of the 9/11 Memorial in NYC and how it changed me.
Being born two years after the tragic terrorist act on September 11, 2001, I always had a removed sense about the impact of the events on that day. I grew up with maximum airport security and monotonous customs inspections after international flights. This was all normal and I never thought to imagine life without it. 9/11 was always this thing that happened once upon a time. It was something that the old people talked about in hushed voices. It was something that was referenced in history books. It was something that was made into memes with humor that I now find incredibly sickening. All in all, it did not matter to me. I never understood exactly how tragic and historically impactful the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers actually was.
This all changed when I visited the 9/11 Memorial in the tenth grade. I went into it feeling like, “Yeah whatever, I could be at a Broadway show right now.” I had no idea what was about to happen. I walked down the escalators into the beginning of the memorial, and at the bottom, there were some displays of photos, stories, and sound bites. I kind of walked past those without really paying attention. But then it opened up into a great hall, and I was confronted by a giant mural of different shades of blue with a quote from Virgil’s Aeneid: “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” I was just shocked by the magnitude of it all. Bathed in blue reflections, I could only think of tears. The tears of those who were trapped inside. The tears of those who lost loved ones. The tears of officers, EMT’s, firefighters, and other first responders who charged into the smoke and paid the greatest price to save the lives of the citizens they had sworn to protect. I was absolutely overcome by a grief that threatened to crush me. I rushed back to the beginning of the museum and read every story, looked at every picture, listened to every audio piece. I kept repeating to myself, “It will not be forgotten today.”
Almost instantly, my whole outlook had changed and instead of thinking, “It happened to them,” I started thinking, “What if it happened to me?” Walking through the rest of the museum, I was living it. I saw myself running around New York shouting the names of my brothers. I knew the grief, heard the screams, breathed the smoke, and felt the panic. I encourage all who may think as I once did to take the opportunity to visit the memorial in Lower Manhattan because you will be forever changed by it.
We take this day to remember the tragic events of nineteen years ago and to pray that it may never happen again. We pray for the safety and security of our country. We even pray for peace upon our adversaries just as Jesus taught us. We also gather specifically to honor all of our courageous first responders. Thank you for your commitment to preserving our safety even if you yourselves are put at risk. May God bless you and surround you with His angel army.
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