By Diego Avalos
The tragedies were massive. 2,996 people died and over 6,000 were injured after the tragedy that ensued the morning of September 11, 2001. Two aircrafts struck the Twin Towers in New York City and one struck the Pentagon in Washington D.C. The final plane also known as flight 93 landed in a field in Pennsylvania after attempting to crash into the White House. 19 Al-Qaeda members were the hijackers of the four different aircrafts, the most notorious of them being Osama bin Laden. This has been America’s most tragic event so far (the day of September 11, 2001). It affected Americans daily lives severely in many different ways.
Every year Southeast Academy High School has a ceremony to remember all of the lives that were lost on that tragic morning. This ceremony consists of emergency responders, Norwalk city council, and the cadets of Southeast Academy. The ceremony also includes the flag folding team, and a 30×20 foot flag held up by two cranes. Many cadets take pride in partaking in the ceremony, and some cadets come around 5:30 to help set up for the ceremony.
There was a massive change to our ceremony this year because of COVID-19 health and safety measures that were in place. Usually there are fire fighters, police officers, and emergency responders who attend the ceremony. Another aspect that was missing from previous years was the presence of John Glenn’s band and color guard. The changes made to this year’s ceremony resulted in a much shorter memorial, but not in any way less important.
Mayor Perez, a guest speaker at the ceremony this year, helped cadets understand the value of the ceremony a little more. When cadets know that the mayor will come, it symbolizes that the ceremony is something important- so important that even the mayor attends. She has spent most of her life in Norwalk and decided to run for mayor, since she believes that it is important to have someone who will put everyone’s perspective into practice and tries to figure out the best situation for all of Norwalk’s residents. She considers what is best for everyone using programs to help the community grow stronger.
After the ceremony, everyone goes back to class with the thought of all who lost their lives that day. Many of our guests paid tributes to our fallen heroes. This tragedy forever changed Americans’ daily lives. After this event all Americans were traumatized for a while, but we stood as one nation, and 20 years later, we still do.