As part of a generation born after September 11, 2001, local leaders are urging students at Carl Sandburg Middle School to be a force for good.
Several speakers including State Rep. Frank Farry (R-Langhorne) and Sheri Ratner from United Way of Bucks County told students to help their communities to honor the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Twenty years after the attacks, Farry recalled hearing about the first plane striking the North Tower on the radio during his commute to work. He arrived to work at Middletown Township to see other staff watching TV as the second plane hit the South Tower.
“The sacrifices of police officers and firefighters that day saved thousands of lives,” said Farry, who also serves as chief of the Langhorne-Middletown Fire Company. “As we watched the towers fall, I knew hundreds of firefighters had just perished. It’s a terrible, terrible feeling as a first responder.”
“In the memory of all those that lost their lives on 9/11, try to find a way to make a difference in your community. Try and find a way to be a good person. Try and work with your fellow students, your parents, your teachers, your friends, your neighbors.”
Ratner, Volunteer & HELP Center Manager at UW Bucks, laid several ways students could get involved.
“Considering organizing donations to a local food pantry,” listed Ratner. “Set up a schedule for classmates and families to assist seniors with organizing household tasks or yardwork. Collect clothing, home goods, or toys to deliver to a homeless shelter, or an organization that helps families in need. Help support neighbors who have suffered a natural disaster like a hurricane or flood.”
The assembly, which lasted for an hour, included video and audio clips from news broadcast the morning of the attacks. It also included a tribute to the first responders lost in the attacks.
Farry also called on the students to find unity as the country did post-9/11. The state representative added he hoped it won’t take another tragedy for people to find common ground again.
Neshaminy School District Superintendent Dr. Rob McGee expanded on this message of coming together to the Carl Sandburg students. Seeing a divided nation, he called on students to see issues as “debates and disagreements.”
“I ask you to continue passionately arguing such issues, but as you do please remember my 9/11 lesson: That we are all one people with a common mission in spite of our differences.”
“It’s not necessarily right versus wrong, and it’s most definitely not the good versus the bad,” said McGee. “It’s just debate and disagreement on how best to advance the same ideas that we all cherish so dearly as a nation.”