Kindergartner Norris Lenartowicz (center) bows his head during a 9-11 remembrance ceremony Sept. 11 at St. Agnes School in Avon. Courier photo by Mike Cupri
I had the pleasure of covering a 9/11 remembrance ceremony at St. Agnes School in Avon on Sept. 11 for a video and story we published last week. The school’s principal, Dr. Gerald Benjamin, has organized an event each Sept. 11 since the terror attacks of 2001. It’s hard to believe that it has been 12 years and 12 remembrance ceremonies since that awful day. And it’s even harder to believe that not one of the students in attendance during this year’s ceremony was yet born when the Twin Towers fell (the school’s oldest student was born just two days later, on Sept. 13, 2001). They don’t remember that tragic day. They cannot recall exactly where they were when they heard, the way any adult can.
But still each child seemed to understand the solemnity of the occasion. The students were quiet and prayerful when the ceremony called for it. But they sang loudly and clearly when it was time for song. They may still be too young to grasp how the world changed on Sept. 11, 2001, but they are clearly not too young to pay their respects to those who lost their lives that day.
The event gave me a lot of hope for future generations. Even though the passage of time moves them, and all of us, further and further from 2001, I think the lessons from Sept. 11 of that year can be passed on and remembered. Lessons of bravery and heroism; lessons of pride and patriotism; and lessons of compassion and forgiveness.
And I was happy on a particularly clear and beautiful September morning to see that these kids seemed receptive to those lessons and thankful to be part of such a special ceremony.