Everett was not untouched on September 11, 2001. Many in our community sadly remember the couple, Mr. Jim Trentini, an EHS Class of 1954 graduate, and his wife Mary, who lived in our city and had been passengers on American Flight 11, the first plane to hit the World Trade Center.
A Ten Year Anniversary of 9/11 Candlelight Vigil and Service was held for all Everett residents on Sunday evening, September 11. Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Jr. called for residents to gather outside the Parlin Library, site of the proposed 9/11 Memorial to honor the victims, heroes, and their families.
On that September 11, 2001 school day classes were suspended to allow students to view history in the making on school televisions.
A High School teacher, Carla Eigan, a New York City native, watched with her students as the second plane hit the south tower. Only after she returned home that night was she told that she had witnessed the death of her brother, who had been a passenger on that flight.
Another New York City native, an Everett high school teacher who still teaches in Everett High School today, Jodi Lava, was shocked to see on television the father of a woman who had been her life-long friend. He was walking New York City streets with his daughter’s photo and name, asking if anyone had seen her. Like so many other desperate family members, he never found his daughter.
It is important to remember what the 9/11 attacks felt like in order to understand the impact this single day had on everyone at that time. No community…no heart…in America was left untouched.
Important lessons had been learned in the last ten years.
We discovered that to defeat terrorism we had to let reason, not fear, govern our actions as we looked for ways to defend our homes and our nation without sacrificing our basic freedoms.
We should be proud that America has not taken the path of revenge of an eye for an eye for as the great Indian leader Mahatma Ghandi once said: “Take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth and soon we’ll all be blind and with no teeth.
Our country’s laws and beliefs have been severely challenged and it has proven to be true…it is the terrorists who have failed, not America.
We should all be proud that people in Everett have been able to work together to defeat terrorism, and that the city has not reacted in a hostile way to seek revenge on innocent people. The Everett Public Schools has provided an education for students from 70-80 different countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Iraq, without incidents of retaliation.
The citizens of Everett should honor those who lost their lives in 9/11 by pledging to preserve the rights of others and by pledging to work together to preserve our American principles, beliefs, and way of life as we each in our own way struggle to cope with the pain and loss of that terrible day.
Finally, we must all pledge to use reason, not fear, to find ways to protect ourselves against the possibility of future terrorist attacks so that when we come together ten more years later to observe the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we will be able to do so with the same pride in Everett, and in America, that we feel today.
Now we know that by 10:30 that morning ten years ago, it was over.
Before many had finished their morning coffee, two jetliners had been deliberately crashed into the two towers of the World Trade Center, exploding on impact. The inferno created in both structures consumed several floors until the south tower collapsed at 9:50am and the north tower collapsed at 10:28am, trapping hundreds of police, firemen, first-responders and people still evacuating the buildings.
A third hijacked airliner had been deliberately crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC at 9:45am, and another hijacked plane had mysteriously crashed into a field in Shanksville Pennsylvania at 10:00am.
Now we know that by 10:30 that morning ten years ago, nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children had perished.
Today we still feel shock over these events. We still mourn this terrible loss of life.