9/11 Commemoration Assembly
September 11th has an emotional impact on most everyone – to some it is a plot, to others it is a cause for rise to nationalism, to others it is a turning point in history. To many, though, it was a personal event. Anyone who is old enough to recount their memories, remembers what they were doing when they heard of the news of the planes crashing into the twin towers. They remember how they felt – oblivious, astonished, confused, scared, just to name a few emotions.
At Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School, every year students commemorate the tragedy that took place on 9/11. This year’s assembly encompassed many of the important aspects of 9/11, remembering the victims, the first responders, and the everyday citizens that were also inadvertently wounded. Casualties that had become merely statistical numbers evolved into names that were read aloud for all to hear and mourn. Placing a name to the heartbreak rendered the loss into reality. Two firefighters, Deputy Chief Butler (LA Fire Department) and Chief Fish (Glendale Fire Department), were invited to speak of their experiences and of their colleagues who went in as first responders, without consideration of fear or hesitation. Some heroes lived to tell their stories, and some heroes never came back out from the ruble.
The most poignant part of the assembly that resonated with all the students was when one of our very own teachers recounted his experience. Mr. Baboomi’s story transformed 9/11 from a textbook paragraph to a personal event. He spoke of the bits and pieces of the news he heard that morning, not quite piecing together the magnitude of what actually happened. He shrugged it off as sensationalism by the news and went on with his morning ritual. It was not until a phone call with his sister, that he finally understood that the magnitude of the attack and the repercussions. The terrorist attack that rendered the twin towers nonexistent, effected not only the victims in the buildings, but their families, friends, the first responders, and a nation as a whole. At the time, Mr. Baboomi was a sergeant in the American Army. The chance of deployment, separation from his family, and potential harm or even death soon became a very possible reality. Along with the rest of the nation, he had to deal with that extra layer of trepidation, and when he recounted his story. In that moment, as student heard his trembling voice, for the first time, 9/11 directly affected them.
Even though most students who heard Mr. Baboomi speak were either too young to remember or not yet born, they began to understand the implications of the event on a personal level that would not have been otherwise possible. After the assembly, students connection and understanding of 9/11 multiplied as did their respect and awe of all the people who were affected by the catastrophic event in one way or another.
by 11th grader, Alexandra Ivanov