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Academy’s 20 seconds of Silence for 9/11 Not Enough

The 13th Anniversary of September 11, 2014

7:59 AM – September 11, 2001: American Airlines Flight 11 to Los Angles takes off with 92 passengers. 15 minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175 to Los Angles also takes off, but with 64 passengers.

7:59 AM – September 11, 2014: I arrive at school (a bit late) and rush to calculus class. I notice the case for a 9/11 documentary DVD on the desk next to mine – the only evidence of the anniversary of the terrorist attacks I’ll see all day.

8:46 AM – September 11, 2001: Hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 crashes into the North Twin Tower in New York City instantly killing all on board, and hundreds of others inside the building.

8:46 AM – September 11, 2014: During a particularly frustrating problem on my calculus test, I glance at the clock and become vaguely aware that this year there has been no announcement to observe a minute of silence.


9:03 AM – September 11, 2001: A second hijacked plane, United Airlines Flight 175, crashes into the South Twin Tower killing all on board and hundreds inside.

9:03 AM – September 11, 2014: 3 minutes have passed since 9:00 – I had thought that they were possibly waiting to make an announcement on the hour, but I conclude no announcement will be made.


9:37 AM – September 11, 2001: A third hijacked plane, American Airlines Flight 77, crashes into the Pentagon in Washington D.C. killing 59 people on board and 159 inside the building.

9:37 AM – September 11, 2014: I am sitting in my assigned theater seat during assembly when 9/11 is briefly acknowledged in an obligatory ¼ of a minute of silence.


The United States of America faced a episode of chaos on 9/11, yet thirteen years later I proceeded through my ordinary and uninterrupted school day. The popular phrase, “We Will Not Forget” echoes through my head as a classmate asks if “anyone knows the date?”

I’m curious to know if just the Upper School has failed to recognize the significance of September 11, so I question my youngest sister, a seventh grader, born in 2002. She admits that the only thing she’d heard all day of the terrorist attacks was when a friend suddenly realized the date at lunch and that the topic was soon dropped.

The Columbus Academy mission statement declares that the school “strives to develop and sustain a community of thoughtful, responsible, capable and confident citizens eager to engage in a pluralistic and ever-changing world.” To be a citizen capable of engaging in an ever-changing world, however, requires knowledge of world-changing events.

Students born post 9/11 will have almost no knowledge of the events if they are ignored in school.

Academy failed us today, and if it continues to disregard the anniversary of 9/11, September 11th will morph into an ordinary day. We will forget.

Written by Annie Dunlap’15





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