Each year, Dickinson Middle School educators review and reflect on what happened on 9-11 with their students, who weren't even born at the time of the attacks. This year, the school organized a Walk of Remembrance to honor the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.
In six different shifts, sixth, seventh and eighth graders took turns during their lunch recess on Friday, Sept. 10, each walking 2,996 feet around the track to honor the lives lost on 9-11. Within the next week, teachers will take 2,996 stair steps.
Coordinating the Walk of Remembrance at DMS was Sarah Crossingham, who is the seventh and eighth grade social studies teacher.
"It is crazy to think that these students weren’t alive when it happened, because I feel like it was such a monumental moment in my life growing up."
- Dickinson Middle School Social Studies Teacher Sarah Crossingham
As a way to honor those who embody the National Day of Service and Remembrance, each student of the eighth grade class has selected a 9-11 hero to write a biography on that will eventually be displayed in the Hallway of Heroes. Crossingham is planning to make the gallery digital and will be on display from Sept. 17-24.
“... It is crazy to think that these students weren’t alive when it happened, because I feel like it was such a monumental moment in my life growing up,” Crossingham said. “So it’s so important for educators to continue to share the story and continue to share these terrorist attacks and how impactful it was to our society.”
"I was pretty young when I learned about it. I was probably 6 or 7. I didn’t (understand) too much about it at the time… In fifth and sixth grade, I started learning more about it. I just thought it was really sad and the amount of people that died."
- Dickinson Middle School Eighth Grader Kyler Kudrna
For eighth grader Kyler Kudrna, 9-11 happened well before he was born.
“I was pretty young when I learned about it. I was probably 6 or 7. I didn’t (understand) too much about it at the time… In fifth and sixth grade, I started learning more about it,” he said. “I just thought it was really sad and the amount of people that died.”
Kudrna decided to write his biography on a chef who lost his life trying to save someone when the towers collapsed.
“(It’s important) history doesn’t repeat itself. That way we are educated about it, and if something ever does happen like that, we’ll know kind of what to do,” Kudrna added.
"I’m very thankful to live in this country because of our freedom and everything. And I think it’s a great place to live and I hope no one never has to go through that again."
- Dickinson Middle School Eighth Grader Trae Fisher
Trae Fisher, a DMS eighth grader, said that over the years, he’s learned more and more about the attacks. At first, it was difficult to understand, he said.
“I was probably in my early elementary school years and they kind of talked about it, not as in depth as we do now. But when we got into it and heard about the planes and everything, it was very scary because (it’s not something) you don’t hear about that much. It was just shocking that someone would actually do that, and it was overwhelming,” Fisher said.
By participating in the Walk of Remembrance and writing a biography on a 9-11 hero, Fisher said he believes it’s a way to keep the memory of those who sacrificed their lives unknowingly alive.
“I think it’s important just because they didn’t deserve to have that happen to them because they didn’t do anything. They should’ve been able to keep moving on with their lives, and not be killed because of what someone else wanted,” Fisher said. “And I think it’s important to remember them because it’s not right what they had to go through.”
Sitting in front of an American flag inside a classroom, Fisher looked around, pausing for a moment. Even at a young age, he sported a patriotic, hopeful outlook.
“I’m very thankful to live in this country because of our freedom and everything. And I think it’s a great place to live and I hope no one never has to go through that again,” he added.
Crossingham was in seventh grade at the time of the 9-11 attacks.
“I do distinctly remember I was getting ready in the morning with my mom, it was kind of a tradition we had and we were watching the Today Show. So we saw the first plane and the second plane hit, and one big thing that I took away from that day is that was our focus,” Crossingham siad. “In seventh grade, we talked about that all day long. We rolled in the big video cart with the big TV on top, and I felt like our day really stood still to learn about what happened that day and all the lives that were lost.”
Though she didn’t understand everything in its entirety about 9-11 as a seventh grader, she learned more about the “true ramifications” of those attacks when she became a history major in college. Crossingham and a team of other staff came together and wanted to create a way that would shed light on the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.
Interim Superintendent Marcus Lewton noted that he is proud of his teachers for organizing this event and hopes students will acquire a “sense of humility” by participating.
“Patriotism means, to me, having respect and honor for those who have fought for our rights, those who have fought for our country and all the things we have. In our short history, over 1 million have died so that (we) have the rights that (we) have,” Lewton added.