12 Years Ago Today

The day had gone on normally. The teachers who knew, were told not to tell their students.

“I can remember getting an email from my cousin about the World Trade Center. He works there,” said Mrs. Marek, the leadership teacher. “This is something our nation had never experienced before.”

It was a day that changed our country forever and it would be known to the world as 9/11.

At 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001, an airplane flew into one of the Twin Towers, located in downtown New York City. In the hour and a half that followed, three more planes would crash- one into the second tower, one into the Pentagon, and one into a field in Pennsylvania. The fourth plane’s intended target is thought to have been the Nation’s Capitol but its route was averted after passengers overtook the hijackers. These attacks were launched by the Islamic terrorist group, al-Qaeda.

“Some kids were even called terrorists,” said Marek. “How do we maintain national security, without increasing levels of prejudice?” The diverse CVMS student body became divided as some students were bullied in the hallways due to their skin color and race.

It was reported that one student who had moved to Austin to escape bombings in Israel, moved back after 9/11. The family felt the United States was becoming just as bad as their homeland.

“9/11 affected CVMS as a whole by giving the students an opportunity to share their biases and their feelings.” Marek and other teachers had their classes do projects like No Place for Hate, which was aimed at helping students combat feelings of prejudice.

Rebuilding our nation by evoking hope and understanding continues to heal wounds and repair the spirit that was broken on this day 12 years ago. Much was lost but much has been recovered as we move forward.

Marek’s philosophy is simple, “It all comes down to caring and love.”